Canada welcomes ceasefire ending 11-day war in Gaza, Israel that killed hundreds

·3 min read

OTTAWA — Canada welcomes a ceasefire ending the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas that left hundreds of people dead, Global Affairs Minister Marc Garneau says.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account Thursday night, Garneau said Ottawa urges Israelis and Palestinians to de-escalate.

"We are appalled by the tragic loss of life and urge all sides to further de-escalate tensions," he said.

Garneau said Canada is calling on Israelis and Palestinians for a renewed commitment to peace and is standing ready to support efforts toward a two-state solution.

The truce took effect at 2 a.m. local time Friday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said his Security Cabinet had unanimously accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, were killed.

The fighting erupted on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza Strip fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem.

The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, which is built on a hilltop site sacred to Jews in the holy city.

Tensions were fuelled by a lengthy legal battle waged by Israeli settlers to take over properties and plan for the removal of dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

The competing claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have repeatedly triggered bouts of violence in the past.

On Friday, Palestinians rallied by the thousands in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem after the ceasefire took effect, with many viewing it as a costly but clear victory for Hamas.

Clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israeli police fired stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian protesters who hurled rocks while waving Palestinian and Hamas flags. Israeli police said they arrested 16 people.

Protesters also clashed with Israeli troops in parts of the occupied West Bank, which has seen violent demonstrations in recent days linked to Jerusalem and Gaza. Thousands also took to the streets of Gaza as the ceasefire took hold at 2 a.m.

Celebrations also broke out overnight in East Jerusalem, Gaza and across the occupied West Bank. Israel captured all three territories in the 1967 war and the Palestinians want them for their future state.

In Toronto, a group of activists protested Friday outside the Israeli consulate and covered the building's steps with red paint.

Rabbi David Mivasair, a member of Independent Jewish Voices, said in a news release the death and destruction inflicted by Israel in Gaza cannot be washed away.

"The ceasefire doesn't end the injustice and oppression,” he said.

— with files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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