Canada's NDP

Skip to main content

October 9th, 2023

NDP Statement on Devastating Violence in Israel and Palestine

The NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs, Heather McPherson, made the following statement:

"New Democrats are horrified and heartbroken by the violence in Israel and Palestine. We grieve with so many Canadians affected.

The terrorist attacks by Hamas on thousands of innocent Israeli civilians are unjustifiable. We are shocked by the brutality, missile attacks, kidnappings, and targeting of civilians including the elderly and children. These are war crimes and must be prosecuted. We call for the immediate safe return of all hostages and call on the government of Canada to do everything in its power to ensure the release of Canadians among the captives.

This morning, Israel’s ground operation into Gaza commenced. Civilians in Gaza are caught in a horrific cycle of violence; like the Israeli civilians killed over the past few days, Gazans are victims of Hamas’ brutality. Israel’s bombardment of civilian homes and infrastructure in Gaza, where over half the population are children, has killed hundreds of Palestinians with entire families wiped out. The next hours may be the deadliest Gaza has ever seen. Canada must urgently insist that Israel respect international law and protect the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians who bear no responsibility for Hamas’ terror.

We have spoken to many Jewish Canadians and Palestinian Canadians who are terrified, devastated, and worried for family and friends. We share that despair and worry what the days to come may bring.

In past hours we have also seen people around the world, including some here in Canada, celebrate attacks on civilians. This is abhorrent and has profoundly hurt Jewish members of our community. Violence against civilians is never justified. We have also seen racist anti-Palestinian messages equating all Palestinians to Hamas and encouraging genocide, including shocking calls by members of the Israeli Parliament for a new Nakba. This too is unacceptable. In these dark times, we must treat each other with compassion and empathy and recognize our common humanity.

We are moments away from a broader war that could engulf the region.

A decades-long cycle of violence has already taken the lives of too many Palestinians and Israelis. This year has been brutal for all in the region; with an extreme right-wing Israeli government and the absence of real democratic Palestinian leadership, and with the dangerous influence of external states like Iran, there is no clear pathway to peace.

Canada and the international community must now work towards a sustainable solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, security, and mutual self-determination.

And that solution can only be political. There is no possible military solution to this decades-long conflict.

Today we are calling on Canada to do everything in its power to ensure the protection of civilians and respect for international law. Canada must now support international justice efforts by the ICJ and the ICC to investigate war crimes by all military actors in Israel-Palestine. All war crimes, by all parties to this conflict, must be prosecuted.

Our collective focus must now go to building the conditions of a just peace in the region. The international community, Canada included, must work towards a credible peace process that will finally bring peace and security to all in the region, while respecting the humanity and rights of all civilians, Israeli and Palestinian.

New Democrats stand with all people in Israel and Palestine who yearn for peace, freedom and security."