Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on Israel to cease what he referred to as the “killing of women, of children, of babies” in the Gaza Strip, drawing a swift and heated response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trudeau, addressing a news conference in British Columbia on Tuesday, expressed deep concern over the civilian casualties in Gaza, marking his strongest criticism of Israel since the conflict erupted over five weeks ago. He pleaded for international attention, stating, “The world is watching, on TV, on social media – we’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents. The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop.”
While Canada has affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense against attacks, Trudeau emphasized that the price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of Palestinian civilians. Over 11,200 Palestinians have lost their lives since the conflict began, raising growing concerns globally.
“I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint,” Trudeau insisted, highlighting the need for adherence to the rules of war, which dictate the equal worth of all innocent lives, regardless of nationality.
Canada has evacuated approximately 350 citizens, permanent residents, and their family members from Gaza, further underscoring the gravity of the situation. Trudeau also called on Hamas to cease using civilians as human shields and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of hostages taken on October 7.
Responding to Trudeau’s remarks, Netanyahu defended Israel’s actions, asserting that Hamas bears responsibility for civilian deaths. He stated, “Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way,” as the Israeli military continued its relentless bombardment of Gaza.
On a concerning note, Israeli soldiers reportedly raided the al-Shifa Hospital on Wednesday, a facility that has been under attack for days. The hospital houses thousands of patients and displaced Palestinians, including premature babies fighting for their lives. International rights groups have called for an investigation into Israel’s attacks on hospitals, labeling them as potential war crimes.
Last week, Trudeau had already advocated for a significant humanitarian pause in the conflict to facilitate the release of hostages and ensure the delivery of adequate aid to address the pressing civilian needs in Gaza. The situation remains tense as the world closely monitors developments in the region.