The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) condemns Israel’s latest assault on Gaza.
On Friday night, hundreds of people from around the GTA gathered at the Israeli consulate in Toronto to protest Israel’s latest deadly assault on Gaza and to condemn Canadian support for Israel’s actions. In unity with calls from similar demonstrations being held in dozens of cities around the world, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) unequivocally condemns Israel’s assault on Gaza dubbed Operation Pillar of Defence which was launched on 14 November 2012 with the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, chief of staff of Hamas’ military wing. Since then the Israeli military has continuously attacked Gaza with drones, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, naval vessels and artillery.
Contrary to Israel’s propaganda that its attacks are “surgical” strikes on military targets and that they are trying “to minimise civilian casualities in Gaza”, the real facts are piling up. Overwhelmingly, Palestinian civilians are the victims of this past week’s relentless attacks by the Israeli military, which has left 38 Palestinians dead and 400 injured. We stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza as the death toll rises and life threatening injuries to Palestinians escalate with each new strike by the Israeli war machine.
Despite the rising death toll of Palestinian civilians, Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government have failed to condemn Israel’s aggression. The Canadian government has, in fact, condoned Israel’s military operations by casting Israel as the innocent victim, ignoring its role in the current escalation and its continued siege of Gaza. On November 14, the day Israel launched its assault, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird stated “We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats.” And that “Canada condemns the terrorist group Hamas and stands with Israel as it deals with regional threats to peace and security.” On November 16 Prime Minister Harper stated “We condemn this terrorist group’s attacks on Israel,” These statements are the latest example of the government’s decision to ignore international law with respect to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.
This attack marks the latest stage of a policy of collective punishment and killing practised by Israel against the people of Gaza. Israel has imposed an illegal siege on Gaza and created a devastating humanitarian crisis for the 1.5 million people trapped there. In 2009, 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 5000 more injured during the Israeli assault on Gaza. A senior Israeli official described Israel’s policy in Gaza saying “the idea” is to “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
Israel’s latest attack on civilians in Gaza is a war crime, made possible only through the continued financial, military and diplomatic support Israel receives from Western states including Canada which earlier this year announced that “Israel has no greater friend in the world today than Canada.” The Canadian government has also rewarded Israeli aggression with free trade and industrial R&D agreements and has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel covering defence and industrial initiatives, as well as information-sharing. Just last month Canada donated $5 million to support a new Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology Fund.
CAIA denounces the Harper government’s support and encouragement of Israel’s deadly aggression, and we stand in steadfast solidarity with the people of Gaza as Israeli war crimes continue with impunity. We urge people of conscience everywhere to join us in calling for an end to Israel’s policies of collective punishment, an end to its ongoing violation of international laws, and end to the siege on Gaza, and to continue building the Palestinian led global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Indeed, as the death tolls and injuries from Israel’s attacks on Gaza continue to rise, so too does support for the BDS movement. On November 15, as 800 people in Toronto rallied in solidarity with Gaza, the York University Graduate Student’s Association voted overwhelmingly in favour of a BDS Resolution. This addition to the growing campus divestment campaign marks the most recent victory in an expanding BDS movement across Canada to bring an end to Israeli apartheid.