NDP leader Thomas Mulcair calls on Stephen Harper to help the children of Gaza

·Politics Reporter

Over 1,800 Palestinians have now been killed in the deadly battle between Israel and Hamas.

Thousands of others — mostly women and children — have been injured while 1.8 million have displaced from their homes.

While the three major political parties in this country have been resolute in their support for Israel, federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is now getting behind a campaign to bring injured Palestinian children to Canadian hospitals for medical treatment.

He wants Stephen Harper to do the same.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor now based at the University of Toronto, who lost three daughters during an Israeli - Palestian conflict in 2009.

In light of the latest deadly battle between Israel and Hamas, he penned a column for the Toronto Star.

"In this moment, we must all don the robe of humanity. It is a time to stand together as Canadians, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Israelis and Christians as one soul. We must show that none is ignored or considered unworthy of a secure and prosperous life.

"There are many severely wounded children in Gaza and the hospitals and health-care personnel there are woefully ill-equipped to treat them all. I would like to see our world-class Toronto hospitals offer to take in 100 of the most seriously wounded. This would be a purely humanitarian effort, a way to demonstrate the Canadian values of peacemaking, diversity, tolerance and outreach to those in need, and to set an example to other cities, provinces and countries."

In his op-ed, Dr. Abuelaish notes that he has the support of the Kingston General Hospital and Sick Kids Hospital and is now asking for help from the federal and provincial governments.

In his statement released on Sunday afternoon, Mulcair said the Feds should get involved.

"I spoke with Dr. Abuelaish this weekend to thank him for his efforts and offer the support of the NDP Official Opposition for his proposal," Mulcair said.

"I call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to join us and pledge his personal support, and that of the Canadian government, to offer our aid to the injured children of Gaza and help facilitate the transfer of injured children to Canadian hospitals.

"Working with the provinces and health professionals, we have a chance to demonstrate the best of Canadian values including peace, love and care for others."

[ Related: US calls Israeli attack on United Nations school in Gaza 'disgraceful' ]

For their part, in response to Mulcair's statement, a spokesperson from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird's office notes that all options are on the table.

"Make no mistake, there is only one party responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people, and that is the international terrorist group Hamas," Adam Hodge told Yahoo Canada News.

"Hamas’s reckless aggression continues to put Palestinian lives at risk by impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

"Canada supports the Palestinian people and is considering a variety of options on how to best assist the current humanitarian situation."

[ Related: Cease-fire, Israeli troop withdrawal slow Gaza war as attack on Jerusalem bus kills 1 ]

Meanwhile — even as Israel begins a troop withdrawal and Hamas' resources have become depleted — the fighting continues on the ground; on Monday yet another ceasefire was broken as both Israel and Hamas accused each other of fresh attacks. According to the Reuters, Palestinian officials claim that Israel bombed a refugee camp killing an eight-year old girl while Israel claims rockets were fired by Hamas.

As the fighting continues, third-part observers are raising alarms about the dire state of Gaza's medical system.

"Gaza had a fragile health system before the current conflict -- a shortage of essential drugs, lack of medical supplies, and a lot of power cuts made it difficult to operate medical equipment. Now add the pressures of war. One doctor told us they have used 15-days worth of medical supplies in the last 24 hours," Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical coordinator Audrey Landmann told the Huffington Post.

"There is a constant wave of casualties and many need multiple procedures, requiring a long stay in the hospital. Therefore, people are forced to share beds in hospital because there are too many patients. Others have to leave the hospital still in a critical condition."

What do you think? Should Canada support Dr. Abuelaish's initiative to bring Palestinian children to Canadian hospitals? Is there something else we could be doing?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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