Paul Daly The Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is currently in Saint- Jean, in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the Canada-European Union Summit is being held.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is still ruling out the possibility of Canada calling for a full ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, but he calls progress the agreement to temporarily suspend hostilities this week so that Hamas can free hostages.
“I continue to call for the need for lasting peace in the region, including a two-state solution,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Newfoundland. We have been calling for a significant humanitarian pause for weeks. This is progress that we have made at this time. But there are still many other steps we will need to take together. »
Hamas, which Canada considers a terrorist organization, on Friday released 24 hostages held for seven weeks – 13 Israeli women and children, 10 people from Thailand and one from the Philippines.
For its part, Israel confirmed on Friday the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners, in accordance with the truce agreement.
The hostages were all captured on October 7 during Hamas attacks against Israel, which approximately 1,200 deaths on the Israeli side, including hundreds of civilians.
A Global Affairs Canada official confirmed this week before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that a Canadian woman was still missing.
The ministry did not immediately respond when asked about details about the woman, or whether she was a hostage who could now be released. Ottawa previously said it would not confirm whether any Canadians were being held hostage, for fear it would make it more difficult to get them to safety.
The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs welcomed the release of the hostages and said he prayed they would all return safely.
“As we celebrate their release from the hands of Hamas terrorists, we cannot forget that there are still more than 200 hostages held by the terrorist group,” wrote a spokesperson for the Canadian rights organization. rights of Jewish people.
“The world should pressure Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release all Israeli hostages it is holding. »
The group noted that among those released by Israel are people convicted of violent crimes.
The Associated Press reports that among the Palestinians released Friday were 24 Palestinian women and 15 teenagers held in Israeli prisons in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The teenagers had been imprisoned for minor offenses , like throwing stones. Among the women, several were convicted of attempting to stab Israeli soldiers and others were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank.
The pause in fighting provides a respite for the millions of people displaced or injured in Israel's retaliatory campaign in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Local health authorities, under the responsibility of Hamas, say that 13,300 Palestinians have been killed and 6,000 others are missing.
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- Five questions to better understand the agreement between Israel and Hamas
With the truce agreement, Increased shipments of fuel and supplies have been delivered to Gaza – but still just enough to reduce the needs of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, who have endured weeks of Israeli bombardment, according to humanitarian groups.
Israel agreed to allow the delivery of 130,000 liters of fuel per day to the besieged territory to meet humanitarian needs for the duration of the truce. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would continue the war after the deal ends.
Mr. Trudeau did not say Friday why he still does not support a ceasefire. Last month, Defense Minister Bill Blair said he did not expect Hamas to honor a ceasefire. He said on October 24 that this organization must “be eliminated as a threat not only to Israel, but to the world.”
On Parliament Hill, pro-Palestinian groups continue to call for ceasefire, arguing that time was needed to build housing for the 1.7 million people the United Nations says have been displaced in Gaza.
“Four days are not enough”
Fahamia Koudra, a board member at Human Concern International, said her colleagues in the region had seen an increase in deaths from dehydration and deaths that could have been prevented through vaccination. “Winter is coming and there are no sanitation facilities or water,” she said Friday morning at a press conference.
“A four-day break is not even enough to remove the bodies from the rubble,” she argued. Without a ceasefire, casualties will increase exponentially, without desperately needed supplies and destroyed infrastructure. »
At a press conference on Parliament Hill on Thursday, Ottawa resident Hany Elbatnigi recounted horrific scenes in Gaza, which he left on November 7. “I won the lottery of life. I was one of the lucky ones to get to Cairo safely, he said.
“I left behind the smell of death, the horrible sounds of explosions and the sight of dogs eating the flesh of corpses. »
Mr. Elbatnigi said his relatives left home when Israeli military airstrikes bombarded his neighborhood. They stayed in houses filled with dozens of people for days, moving slowly south toward the Egyptian border.
He said 71 members of his extended family were killed in Gaza , and he learned Wednesday that his niece and two children were dead. “Several were barely bigger than my height,” he said.
Mr. Elbatnigi deplored Canada's overt support for Israel during its war and the lack of transparency from consular officials. “Very little information has been provided and even less help,” he said. Instead, there were numerous public statements that Canada supported Israeli attacks, while my family and I remained in danger. »