Canadian government should take immediately firm action against Israel's ongoing assault on GazaJanuary 3, 2009
Muslim Council of Montreal calls on all people of conscience to contact the Canadian government immediately to demand firm action against Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza
Montreal, Quebec, Jan. 4th, 2008- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) calls on all Canadians to contact their Member of Parliament, as well as the Canadian Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister and demand for immediate intervention, calling for a ceasefire and an end to the blockade on Gaza.
"Our government was elected to represent our voices and our concerns," stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. "It is our obligation to contact them and demand that they strongly condemn and stop the ongoing massacre of innocent men, women and children in Gaza. If Canada has any commitment to justice and world peace, then the time to act is now."
Facts to consider:
· Israeli troops began a ground incursion into Gaza on Saturday, after 8 continuous days of airstrikes.
· Over 460 Palestinians have been killed so far and over 2,700 wounded. The death toll continues to rise rapidly as Israel relentlessly continues its attack each day.
· This is the single largest assault on the Gaza Strip since 1967, when Israel's illegal occupation of the land began.
· Gaza has been under a strict Israeli blockade over the past two years, resulting in an extreme shortage of food, water, medicine and fuel for its inhabitants, threatening the people of Gaza with severe malnourishment, poverty and death. The recent onslaught only further exacerbates the misery and devastation.
· On December 27th 2008, Mr. Lawrence Cannon, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs released a statement stating "Israel has a clear right to defend itself against the continued rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups which have deliberately targeted civilians."
· On December 29th, Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Official Opposition stated "The Liberal Party of Canada unequivocally condemns the rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israeli civilians and calls for an immediate end to these attacks. We affirm Israel's right to defend itself against such attacks, and also its right to exist in peace and security."
How to contact the Canadian government:
1. Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper
2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lawrence Cannon
Phone: (613) 944-4000 | E-mail email@example.com | Fax: (613) 944-4500
3. Your Member of Parliament
Find the contact information for your MP
by entering your postal code here:
Please keep your message polite, yet firm. See below for a sample letter.
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
Fax: (514) 747-9139
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 175,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 825,000 in Canada and 1.5 billion worldwide.
To Whom It May Concern:
It is imperative that the Canadian government condemn Israel's ongoing massacre of the people in Gaza. Over 460 people have died and the death toll increases daily. Canada is a nation once renowned for its commitment to freedom, peace and justice; however, the current stance taken by our government officials is a betrayal of the values upon which this country firmly stood for.
The statements of our government officials regarding Israel's "right to defend itself" has made Canada complacent in Israel's war crimes in Gaza. This injustice being committed at the hands of Israel in no way reflects a calibrated response to rockets fired by Hamas, which could have been avoided if the truce was extended and its terms were respected. Rather, Israel's response to rockets has been massive air attacks targeting innocent men, women and children, while levelling homes, government buildings, mosques and educational facilities.
Furthermore, it is necessary that the Canadian government demand an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza, which has caused an extreme shortage of food, water, medicine and fuel for its inhabitants, threatening the people of Gaza with severe malnourishment, poverty and death. This two-year blockade is a clear violation of international law.
The Canadian government must act swiftly, before any more innocent lives are lost.
Quotes you may use as a Talking Points:
"...Hamas has repeatedly proposed
long-term truces with Israel and offered to negotiate a permanent truce. During
the last cease-fire, established through Egyptian intermediaries in July, Hamas
upheld the truce although Israel refused to ease the blockade. It was Israel
that, on Nov. 4, initiated an armed attack that violated the truce and killed
six Palestinians. It was only then that Hamas resumed firing rockets at
Israel." -- Richard Falk, the U.N. special
Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory and former
Princeton University law professor.
Facts about the war on Gaza:
· The recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas began in June 2008. The terms were as follows:
1. Israel would drastically reduce its military blockade of Gaza.
2. Israel would halt all military incursions into Gaza.
3. Hamas would halt all rocket attacks into Israel.
· From the outset of the cease-fire, Israel did little to ease its military blockade. As a result, Gazans continued to suffer from a lack of food, fuel, financial aid, electricity, clean water, medical supplies, and more. This has been, inarguably, an attack on innocent Palestinian civilians.
· Despite the intense blockade against Gazan civilians, the cease-fire held until November 4, 2008. On that date, the Israeli military made an incursion into Gaza and killed six Palestinians. The Israeli government sought to justify these actions, saying that they suspected these Palestinians of plotting to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Palestinian fighters responded to the attack by launching rockets into Israel. Thus began the unravelling of the cease-fire.
· As the cease-fire began to crumble, the violence from both sides intensified. Efforts to redeem the cease-fire ultimately failed.
· Following the end of the cease-fire, Israel moved closer to an invasion of the territory. The Israeli government claimed that this was the only remaining option to eliminate rocket attacks from Gaza. However, as cited in the sources above, this was clearly not the case. Israel had failed to abide by the terms of the cease-fire. For the overwhelming majority of the six-month truce, Israel had refused to ease its military blockade of Gaza to any significant degree. In addition, it was the initial violator of the cease-fire when it sent tanks and aircraft into Gaza and killed six Palestinians on November 4, 2008. In fact, there is evidence that Israel was planning to strike Gaza even while the cease-fire was still in effect.
· In the interest of peace, Hamas, and especially Fatah, have firmly established that they are willing to participate in negotiations that are based on internationally recognized borders and rights.
· The White House said that Israel will cease its attack when Hamas has agreed to a truce. Hamas said they are open to any cease-fire propositions. A cease-fire has been proposed, but Israel rejected this offer.
The international community must continue to demand that a cease-fire be implemented. In order to be successful, any agreement must call for:
1. An end to Israel's blockade of Gaza
2. An end to the Israeli invasion of Gaza
3. An end to rocket attacks into Israel
4. An end to the plight of the Palestinian people, and the beginning of serious efforts to reach a final solution for the Palestinian problem.
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