Like most Canadians, I was deeply disturbed by the horrific and unprecedented terror attacks that took place in Israel over the weekend. The indiscriminate and systematic murder, rape, and torture of men, women, and children defies words. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims.
Parliamentarians of all parties unequivocally condemn the horrific violence carried out by Hamas militants against innocent civilians. We also condemn the actions of those in Canada who have taken to the streets in support of Hamas’s indefensible actions. While I recognize that Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, have been marginalized by Israel, nothing justifies the horrific violence and terror being perpetrated against civilians. These militants are not “freedom fighters”, they are terrorists, butchers, and they embody evil.
Canada’s Parliament pledges our solidarity with the victims of Hamas and supports Israel’s right to defend itself against these ongoing attacks and respond appropriately to the attackers.
The Gaza strip has been a thorn in Israel’s side for too long—albeit one, largely, of their own making—and it is unlikely, after this latest assault, they will allow it to remain one. While Canadians would, of course, prefer to see a proportional response, the reality is, after the magnitude of this latest attack, it is unlikely Israel will show restraint.
The 74-year saga of Israel and Palestine has long been a complex and contentious issue. One far too involved to detail in such a relatively short piece. I do recommend those who are interested take the time to read and study the history of the region and the various perspectives.
While there is (and can be) no justification for the horrors that have taken place this weekend—and continue to take place—both sides bare responsibility for perpetuating the ongoing cycle of violence in this troubled region.
There are people on both sides of this conflict that have no interest in peace. Parties on both sides that choose to provoke (or overreact to provocation from) the other. Sadly, it’s always the innocent—the silent majority—both Israeli and Palestinian alike, who just want to live their lives and raise their families in peace, that are the ultimate victims.
While we maintain Israel has a right to defend itself and respond to these attacks, Canada remains committed (long-term) to advancing a peaceful, two-state solution and advocating restraint from political and religious violence.
While I’m sure the Government of Canada is taking a serious look at all options to incentivize a peaceful approach to ending this conflict, such a resolution is unlikely to be forthcoming anytime soon.
Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians whether or not there will be peace. Peace will only come when both Israelis and Palestinians choose to firmly reject extremism and violence, accept each others’ presence in the land (and right thereto) and create a path forward together. Sadly, right now, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon.