Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
NDP Statement on the current situation in Gaza

New Democrats deplore the escalation of violence between the government of Israel and militants in Gaza and are profoundly alarmed by the loss of civilian life.

Whether Hamas rocket attacks on Israel or Israeli military campaigns in Gaza, violence against innocent civilians must stop. Notwithstanding every nation’s right to self-defence the Israeli government’s response is disproportionate, and the use of rockets against Israeli civilians must be rejected. New Democrats condemn the massive loss of civilian life that is resulting from this escalation.

The Conservative government’s response to yesterday’s tragic loss of civilian life demonstrates an unbalanced approach to foreign policy. Such a position does not offer a pathway towards peace. The NDP condemns the failure of the Conservative Government to use its diplomatic offices at the United Nations and in its bilateral relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to work towards a constructive and lasting solution.

Israelis and Palestinians want a negotiated resolution. New Democrats are encouraged by the results of a public opinion research published in the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz indicating that a significant majority of Israelis want their government to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.

The NDP is urging the Canadian government to work with the world community to call for an immediate ceasefire. We urge the Palestinian leadership to resolve their differences to enhance the prospect of a peaceful resolution. We also urge the government of Israel to cease its blockade of Gaza since, during the present state of escalated violence, the blockade is pushing the civilian health system of Gaza to the brink of collapse, and is running the risk of contravening the prohibition against “collective punishment”.

The current fragility of the peace process demands that both Israelis and Palestinians refrain from any further violent, illegal or provocative acts if constructive negotiations towards a secure two-state solution are to have any prospect for success.

The NDP further urges the Conservative government to recognize that any lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through a political resolution.