December 16, 2023 – The Canadian Muslim Public Affairs Council (CMPAC) acknowledges the important step taken by the Canadian Government in supporting UNGA Resolution A/ES-10/L.27, which calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. As delayed as it is, this move finally aligns with the demands of the majority of Canadians and marks a significant change in Canada’s stance on this issue.

We must note that this step is long overdue.  The Canadian government may be found complicit in the killing of over 18,000 Palestinian civilians, including 8,000 children, killed by the Israeli Military Forces. This toll includes humanitarian workers, medics, and journalists. A prolonged period of 70 days of intensive bombing has led to widespread destruction in Gaza, severely damaging or destroying essential infrastructure such as homes, schools, hospitals, shelters, mosques, and churches.

However, CMPAC remains deeply CONCERNED about several aspects of Canada’s position:

  • CMPAC is alarmed by any narrative such as the narrative in the joint statement with Australia and New Zealand, that might provide pretexts for ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza, such as the unconditional right of Israel to self-defense. The recent attacks on Gaza, which have resulted in significant civilian casualties and infrastructure damage, raise serious concerns about potential acts of genocide.
  • The recent joint statement relies on unverified claims from the Israeli government regarding sexual violence and the use of human shields by Palestinian resistance. The statement seems to be dismissive of Palestinian right to self determination and legitimate right to resist occupation.
  • Suggestions that Canada’s foreign position is only influenced by Muslim versus Jewish communities is misleading and Islamophobic. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians of all backgrounds have protested and demanded a ceasefire for weeks. More than 70% of Canadians support a ceasefire. Such discourse risks inciting hate against Canadian Muslims. Canada’s foreign policy should be grounded in universal human rights and international humanitarian law.

CMPAC CALLS on the Canadian Government to:

  1. Demand a permanent ceasefire, end of all Israeli aggressions and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. 
  2. Urge the Egyptian and Israeli governments to lift the siege on Gaza, demanding unconditional and constant opening of the border crossing points at Rafah and Karm-abu-Salem for all supplies and products (food, water, fuel, medicine, etc.). 
  3. Demand that Israel ceases to block evacuation of Palestinian Canadians from Gaza leaving them at risk of being killed, expedite the evacuation of Canadian extended family members from Gaza, and investigate immigration policies for any discriminatory practices against Palestinian Canadians.
  4. Announce the Canadian government’s contribution to emergency response (humanitarian and medical relief) in Gaza and potentially help in rebuilding Gaza’s destroyed medical facilities.
  5. Support an independent UN / ICC investigation into potential war crimes committed in Gaza.
  6. Support all international efforts that oppose illegal settlements and settler violence across occupied Palestine.
  7. Cease all military, security, and intelligence collaboration with Israel until there is a significant change in the situation, to avoid contributing to potential genocide and aggressions deemed illegal under international law.

CMPAC looks to the Canadian government to rise up to the expectations of Canadians taking principled positions in this crisis reflecting Canadians’ respect for basic human rights and the sanctity of life. CMPAC also expects that Canadian foreign policy re-aligns with Canadian values and principled foreign policy that used to be widely respected by the international community. 

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