Agence France-Presse Egyptian paramedics transfer an injured woman to the Rafah border crossing, which separates the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Tuesday.
Exactly one month after the start of the Hamas attack against Israel, and with a toll of more than 10,000 Palestinians killed since the start of the conflict, new voices are rising in Ottawa, once again calling on the Trudeau government to demand a ceasefire.
“We need a ceasefire now with unhindered humanitarian access,” demanded Béatrice Vaugrante, executive director of Oxfam-Québec, in Ottawa Tuesday morning. She was accompanied by four other representatives of humanitarian organizations, who also asked the Canadian government to get tougher on the Israeli government.
“We, the humanitarians, cannot sit idly by. We are together today to say that enough is enough, it is unacceptable to continue like this,” lamented Ms. Vaugrante. On Tuesday night, Israeli bombardments against the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas continued unabated, killing more than 100 people.
Despite pressure from several dozen federal MPs who openly support a ceasefire, the Trudeau government has instead called for “humanitarian pauses” to bring aid into the Gaza Strip. The Prime Minister often reiterates in his statements that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
According to a new Angus Reid poll, the majority of Canadians (65%) believe a ceasefire should be announced, while one in five (19%) are not in favor. Nearly four in five respondents (78%) say Israel has the right to exist and defend itself, but Canadians are also more likely to say the Israeli response has been too harsh (45%). than to describe it otherwise (36%).
The UN, NGOs as well as leaders of the Arab world and other countries continue to call for a ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, rejected this request. “There will be no ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages,” he said in an interview with the American channel ABC News on Monday evening.
On Tuesday, the federal government confirmed that 59 Canadians, permanent residents and their eligible family members crossed the border from Gaza into Egypt at the Rafah border post. Global Affairs Canada also claims that four Canadian citizens crossed the border in Rafah thanks to a third party.
These evacuations are, however, insufficient for the five representatives present in Ottawa on Tuesday morning. “Attention has been focused on the few trucks that came in, but that seems futile when the bombs continue to kill so many people. Our teams on the ground risk their lives every day, under siege and under fire, but they tirelessly continue to work to save lives,” said Usama Khan, CEO. from the NGO Islamic Relief Worldwide.
“We cannot remain spectators of this atrocity, even though the government has called for a humanitarian pause. It's simply not enough. A pause will not end the suffering of civilians in Gaza, and it certainly will not reduce the destruction and death that will inevitably follow once it is lifted. We need to see an immediate and permanent ceasefire,” he continued.
A petition addressed to the Prime Minister demanding that Canada call for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict now has more than 172,000 signatures.
Prime Minister Trudeau made a brief statement Tuesday before entering question period in the chamber. “This is good news, that there are dozens of Canadians and Canadian families who have been able to exit through the Rafah Gate, but there is a lot of work still to be done to rescue all Canadians […] and their families , and we’re going to continue to work every day to do it,” he said. He did not comment again on humanitarian pauses.