“We want this siege on Gaza to be over to be able to move freely and practice our rights in movement, travel, students to study outside Gaza, patients receive their medical care… In addition [we want]to enjoy the basic services such as electricity, clean water, internet and all these basic services," Mahmoud Alhalimi, Program Coordinator at Near East Council of Churches (NECC), which receives support from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
Once again, the people of Gaza are recovering from bombardments, following an 11-day targeted siege destroying dozens of buildings, killing over 250 people, including 66 children, and wounding more than 1,600. Over the same period, 12 Israeli citizens were killed by rockets launched from Gaza, including two children. And despite a ceasefire, tensions remain high, including more reports of clashes and airstrikes.
This latest escalation started in response to an outbreak of violence in Occupied East Jerusalem around the al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas then launched hundreds of rockets into Israel, most of which were intercepted by Israel’s iron dome. In retaliation, the Israeli Defense Forces responded with a barrage of targeted airstrikes into Gaza.
Canada’s response and responsibilities
The global community, including Canada, has expressed concerns about this recent escalation in violence. In response to the current context, Canada has committed an additional $25 million in humanitarian aid primarily for Gaza, but also for the West Bank. Of the $25 million, $10 million are dedicated to basic and urgent humanitarian needs, another $10 million to medical and economic infrastructure development – which is essential for both rebuilding and continuing to respond to COVID-19 and other urgent needs – and $5 million to peacebuilding. MCC is also providing humanitarian aid.
The additional aid from Canada is a positive and essential development. However, based on what we hear from partners in Gaza, MCC believes that much more is needed from the international community, including Canada: a greater focus on addressing the structural issues that continue to prevent the possibility of a just peace for all in Gaza and the wider region.
Gaza has been under an Israeli military blockade since 2007. This blockade has devastating effects on life in Gaza including access to education, health care), employment, food and clean water. The people of Gaza are under constant surveillance, suffer chronic trauma and frequent conflict with the Israeli Defense Forces, with a major conflict every 3-5 years.
We invite you to take action today and reach out to your MP to urge Canada to continue supporting immediate needs, but also call for and promote clear actions that would foster a just peace for all.
In taking action you can:
- Use our email tool below to send a message to your MP
- Set up a meeting with your MP, using the information on this page
- Invite friends or members of your community to join you to add even more voices. Find more tips in MCC’s Advocacy Toolkit.
And finally, we also encourage you to keep the people of Gaza, and the whole region in your prayers.
As Mahmoud Alhalmi, states, "These wars on Gaza are repeated every 3-5 years and I am not sure that I will survive [the] next war and this feeling applies to my family and beloved relatives and all civilians living in Gaza. So, we say: no more wars, we want to live in peace and to develop our country and enjoy our state in our homeland.”