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QUESTION PERIOD — Global Affairs

Israel-Hamas Conflict

December 11, 2023

My question is for Senator Gold. First, I want to express my condolences to you and all who have lost loved ones in the past months.

Today is the global strike for Gaza. Yesterday was the International Day for Human Rights. Abuses committed by Hamas and other armed groups, including on October 7, are war crimes and belong before the International Criminal Court. However egregious, though, they do not extinguish Palestinian humanity nor excuse Israel’s extensive and long-standing violations of numerous international laws.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres calls Gaza “a graveyard for children” and points out that there is “. . . something clearly wrong in the way military operations are being done.” As we heard from witnesses today at the Human Rights Committee, more than 30 Israeli and over 7,000 Palestinian children have died to date. What concrete action is Canada taking to push for a ceasefire?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Thank you for your question. Indeed, Hamas’s terrorist attacks were deplorable. They were war crimes. In particular, the sexual and gender-based violence against women, including rape, is beyond the pale.

The Government of Canada is deeply concerned by the end of the humanitarian pause, the resumption of violence and the human toll of this conflict, particularly on families, women and children. Progress was made in releasing some hostages and expanding aid into Gaza, but much more was and is needed.

The human lives that are caught up in this war are too precious to be simply reduced to numbers or to the aid that Canada is giving. Canada continues to support the rights of Palestinians to live in peace and security, as it does the right of Israel to live in peace and security — all in accordance with international law.

Yes, and I thank you. We all acknowledge the situation in Gaza is growing more dire by the hour. UN experts, as well as a group of 800 genocide and international law scholars, have written and warned that if it is not already, it is now approaching genocide. When can we expect Canada to join the urgent calls of international human rights leaders for a ceasefire?

Senator Gold [ - ]

It is not the position of the Government of Canada that the actions that Israel is taking are genocide. It also is not the position of Canada to call for a ceasefire.

Canada has been at the forefront — with the United States and its democratic allies — in calling for humanitarian pauses and, as I said, deplores that they have ended and will continue to push forward so that proper assistance can be given to the residents of Gaza; they deserve it.

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