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Jan 11, 2007 at 01:02 AM

Gaza pamphlet imageWe condemn Israel’s assault against the population of the Gaza Strip, and call on the Government of Canada to take a strong position in support of human rights and international law and against collective punishment, ethnic cleansing and state terrorism.

The situation in Gaza is critical: inadequate water, electricity, and medicine; widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment; schools and other services rendered inoperative; constant bombardments and attacks by the Israeli military. If this siege continues, more spreading disease, malnutrition, and violence are inevitable....

The situation in Gaza is critical: inadequate water, electricity, and medicine; widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment; schools and other services rendered inoperative; constant bombardments and attacks by the Israeli military. If this siege continues, more spreading disease, malnutrition, and violence are inevitable.

Over the past few months the Israeli army’s actions – cynically named in the summer months “Operation Summer Rain” and now bearing the title “Operation Autumn Clouds” – have brought unbearable persecution to the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, including the killing of many women, children and other civilians.

During the four months ending November 8th, 335 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, including 30 women and 85 youth under 17 years old. Israeli media stated that only 130 of those killed were armed. Therefore, in less than half a year more than 250 civilians were killed by the Israeli army in Gaza, not to mention hundreds more wounded and maimed. Between November 8 and 14, 47 more people in Beit Hanoun were killed. Many men between the age of 16 and 45 were arrested and taken away. Two women were killed protesting in front of a mosque that was later destroyed, and 19 women, children and men were killed by Israeli artillery while sleeping in their home.

Meanwhile, to Canada’s shame, our government remains prominent among those who continue to strangle the Palestinian economy by withholding vital aid to the Palestinian Authority, because Palestinians elected a Hamas majority early this year. Palestinian public workers – teachers, hospital workers, engineers – have been without pay for eight months, devastating the economy and leaving the PA unable to maintain the infrastructure vital for the well being of its people. This amounts to collective punishment of Palestinians for the crime of exercising their democratic franchise. Israeli authorities have abducted and imprisoned dozens of Palestinian elected representatives, without a murmur of protest from the government of Canada.

We call on the government of Canada to:

  • Recognize the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people, end sanctions and restore Canada’s foreign aid funding to the Palestinian Authority.
  • Issue a clear call demanding that Israel end the siege on Gaza and its war against the civilian population of Gaza, withdraw its armed forces from the Strip, restore the tax revenues it has illegally withheld from the Palestinian government, end the occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, and enter into negotiations with the legitimately elected representatives of the Palestinian people.
  • Refuse visas to Israeli officials for travel in Canada unless and until Israel releases all Palestinian elected representatives and allows them to conduct their duties unmolested.
  • Send a multi-party delegation of Canadian parliamentarians to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories, observe the situation for themselves and report back.

This statement endorsed by CanPalNet, Jews for a Just Peace, the Palestine Community Centre of BC, StopWar.ca, the Canada Palestine Association and the Trade Union Committee for Justice in the Middle East.

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Women's Boat to Gaza Captured

Zaytouna-Oliva Women Deported
Details Emerge about the Capture

Messina, Italy:  All 13 of the women on the Women’s Boat to Gaza are currently in the process of deportation after being captured by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and detained in a prison at Ashdod. Wendy Goldsmith, a member of the land team working to secure the release of the women stated that, “the deportation was much quicker than in prior flotillas. While we had a great legal team assisting the women, we suspect that the reason for the quick release was because of all the negative media attention Israel has been receiving for its illegal interception.”

According to early reports from the women released, the Zaytouna-Oliva was surrounded by two warships along with four to five smaller naval boats. The IDF gave warning to the Zaytouna-Oliva to stop their course towards Gaza. When the warning was refused, at least 7 IDF members, both male and female, boarded the Zaytouna-Oliva and commandeered the sailboat. This happened in international waters.

In the course of their capture, the women persisted in telling the IDF that Israel’s interception of their boat was illegal and that they were being taken against their will to Israel. 

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