Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Statement on Gaza flotillas

In difficult situations of conflict, it is important to respect people’s right to peaceful protest, and the protection and safety of all parties involved must be a priority.

Earlier this week, I met with the Israeli Ambassador and urged the government of Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza. I also indicated that it was not New Democrat policy to support the flotilla but reiterated New Democrats’ concern for the safety of protesters and urged that the utmost caution be used.

New Democrats echo the United Nations’ concerns about potential clashes between Israeli forces and the activists, and urge restraint on all sides. The NDP has consistently called for an end to the blockade of Gaza to alleviate the human suffering caused by the conflict. We also recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns with respect to the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and have called for effective international arrangements to address these concerns.

This position is in keeping with the UN Security Council resolution 1860, which called for “an immediate ceasefire in Gaza leading to a full Israeli withdrawal, unimpeded provision through Gaza of food, fuel and medical treatment, and intensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling.”

We continue to urge the Canadian government to play a balanced and constructive role in the Middle East.