Canada’s political parties react to Israel, Hamas attacks

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Any hopes of prolonged peace in the Middle East are quickly fading away.

One day after an air attack killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari, Israel continued to pound the Gaza Strip with missile strikes. According to the Washington Post, Israeli officials said the attacks were aimed at the "military capabilities of Gaza-based militants" who routinely fire rockets into southern Israel.

Canada's three major parties released statements about the attacks, on Wednesday, with the Conservatives and the Liberals offering up strong rebukes against Hamas.

[ Related: War looms over Gaza as death toll rises ]

Foreign Affairs minister John Baird released this statement, on Wednesday, restating the Canadian government's unfettered support of its ally:

"We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats.

Far too often, the Jewish people find themselves on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism, the great struggle of our generation. Just last weekend, more than 100 rockets rained down on civilians in southern Israel from positions in the Gaza Strip.

Canada condemns the terrorist group Hamas and stands with Israel as it deals with regional threats to peace and security."

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae echoed Baird's comments:

"On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I am calling on those exercising control over political and military events in Gaza to halt all rocket attacks against Israel. The terrorist group Hamas must take responsibility for these acts of violence out of Gaza and order them to stop.

We recognize Israel's right to defend its population, and we also urge that parties involved take all possible steps to protect civilian life and work to implement a ceasefire.

The Middle East is at a critical and difficult moment, and every possible step must be taken to avoid a wider conflict."

Meanwhile, the NDP asked for some "balance:"

"New Democrats are very concerned by the recent escalation of tensions in Gaza and Israel. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and respect international humanitarian law obligations to protect civilians at all times.  Escalation would be dangerous and detrimental to prospects for long-term peace and stability in the region.

We are monitoring the situation closely and continue to call on the Canadian government to pursue a balanced and constructive approach in the Middle East."

While none of the parties in the Middle East or abroad want an 'escalation',  there are fears that we're heading down that road.

Paul Koring and Patrick Martin of the Globe and Mail suggest that the attacks could be a harbinger for more conflict.

"In striking Hamas, and especially if the bloodshed continues, Israel will be widely regarded as attacking the broader Muslim Brotherhood, which, under various names, embraces a host of Islamic political movements throughout the Arab world," they wrote.

"The dangers of regional conflagration may be greater than at any time in decades."

What role Canada would play if a regional confrontation erupts remains to be seen.

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It's clear, however, that the Harper government is giving its unconditional support to the Israelis.