The events of the past two weeks - the unconscionable terrorism at the hands of Hamas in Israel on October 7, the indiscriminate bombing of civilian centres in Israel by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) - have been heart-wrenching for the Jewish community in Israel and in the diaspora.
Further, the immense loss of civilian life in Gaza and the continued and intensifying assault on civilian and critical infrastructure by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a devastating loss to the rich and diverse Palestinian identity in the strip, and equally heart-wrenching for millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and throughout the entire Middle East and diaspora.
JSpaceCanada continues to unequivocally condemn the action of the terrorist group Hamas and its attacks on the State of Israel and its inhabitants.
Further, we thank our elected federal officials, who have shown strong support for Israel as allies and have stood by the Israeli people during this challenging time.
Within Israel, however, as with any society, there are nefarious actors that look to take advantage of and exploit moments of crisis and turmoil to further increase unrest and divisiveness.
JSpaceCanada is horrified to witness the staggering increase in violence towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank by Jewish settlers, taking advantage of the attention paid to Gaza as well as the decrease in IDF forces in the area.
According to reporting in Haaretz, Palestinians in the village of Wadi As-Seeq, along with Jewish activists protecting Palestinians were unlawfully detained and abused by IDF forces. Under IDF directives, Jewish settlers are eligible to bear arms, creating a settler/IDF hybrid force, which acts from personal ideology as opposed to its duty to protect civilians.
As unrest increases throughout the Arab street, Palestinians protesting in the occupied West Bank have had live ammunition fired towards them by Israeli security forces and there have been over 100 documented attacks, killing and injuring civilians within just the past two weeks.
Palestinian villages and communities within the occupied West Bank are being vacated, as their citizens leave their homes due to fear of attacks. It is reported that over 500 people from these communities have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the fighting in Gaza.
While the world’s attention is rightly focused on Gaza, we implore our Canadian leaders and the Canadian Jewish comminity to strongly denounce and condemn these revenge attacks on innocent civilians, going against our Jewish and Canadian values.
Further, we believe that an increase in tensions and fighting within the occupied West Bank serves only to increase the unrest in the region, making it harder for Israel to fight Hamas in the south, as it aims to quell fighting in other regions.
We have continued to say that the only way to ensure this war is the last, and that we never repeat the terror that has befallen the Israeli people, is to get back to a two-state solution negotiation effort between Israel and the Palestinians.
Fighting, terror, and violence within the occupied West Bank, will only serve to make these negotiations more difficult, and a peaceful outcome less tenable.
To avoid the risk of future attacks, we ask our leaders to keep focus on the occupied West Bank, demand that those seeking to harm Palestinian civilians be held accountable for their actions, and work to restore calm to this area.