Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Omar Alghabra – Second Lebanon War

Omar Alghabra, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale is deeply troubled by the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East. The devastating bombing over the last few days have killed and injured hundreds of innocent civilians including at least 7 Canadians who lost their lives in southern Lebanon. Various civilian infrastructure installations, including power stations, water plants, airports, bridges and roads have been targeted by the Israeli military in Lebanon and Gaza causing major destruction and damage. Israeli civilians have also been killed by missiles launched at Israeli northern cities.

"I extend my deep sympathies to the families and friends of the Canadian victims and all who were affected by this irrational flurry of bombing," said Omar Alghabra. "All military operations must cease immediately and all involved parties must stop targeting civilian installations and cities. Any justification for targeting civilians on all sides should be rejected and condemned."

"Canadians have been contacting me to express their puzzlement with the Prime Minister’s statement when he didn’t promote calm and restraint," said Alghabra. "Canadians expect their leaders to be the voice of balance and reason both domestically and abroad."

Tens of thousands of Canadians are in the affected areas and the Canadian government must act quickly and firmly to ensure their safety. To date, the response of the government has been unsatisfactory as various news reports have been telling the story of stranded Canadians whose call for help has been ignored.

Civilians in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, Israel, Lebanon and the broader Middle East region are at risk and the world must step in to promote calm and restraint. This is a tragic reminder that the international community can not afford to ignore the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. If regional leaders are unwilling or incapable of resolving the conflict, multilateral organizations and responsible world leaders need to intervene
and pressure all sides to end this phase of hostility and encourage them to return to the negotiation table. Omar Alghabra proposes the following steps to ease the crisis:

* All parties must cease their military operations immediately
* Arrange for the release of all prisoners, including Israeli soldiers and Palestinian elected officials
* Provide immediate humanitarian aid to Gaza and affected parts of Lebanon

UN and international community leaders need to facilitate a climate of calm and encourage negotiations

* A fair and equitable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be pursued through negotiation to prevent possible future escalation