War today, tomorrow what? The bombings and the ground offensive are raging in the Gaza Strip without an answer to this crucial question.
It is the duty of the international community to reflect now on the purpose of the conflict. And Canada must regain the voice it has had in the past if it is to play a constructive role in these deliberations and avoid further marginalization on the international stage.
Israel’s immediate goal is the destruction of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, no one questions the Jewish state’s right to defend itself and ensure the safety of its citizens after Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis and took more than 240 hostages on October 7. Innocent civilians.
But there are limits. “Israel’s response cannot be the suffering of all Palestinian civilians,” said Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly in an editorial interview in The pressTHURSDAY.
However, more than 9,000 Gazans have died in bombings in the last three weeks. Mainly women and children. While even hospitals and schools are being bombed, the besieged population has nowhere to seek shelter.
We must condemn these attacks that violate international law, say UN experts. Likewise, we must denounce the Jewish settlers who are taking advantage of the war to expand their territory in the West Bank by forcibly pushing back the Palestinians living there, which risks opening another front of the conflict.
Canada remains cautious for the time being. He followed his allies and simply called for a ceasefire. This would have the benefit of providing humanitarian assistance and promoting the safe evacuation of the 440 Canadians stuck in Gaza, but without solving the fundamental problems.
Eradicate Hamas, what exactly does that mean? Is that even possible?
Let’s face it, we can kill fighters, but no idea. The children in Gaza who are watching their loved ones die under bombs today are at risk of becoming tomorrow’s fighters. Unfortunately, by blowing on the fire to put it out, we gave it oxygen.
And if Israel succeeds in rooting out Hamas, what will be the next step?
The religious right-wing extremist faction of the Israeli government is openly toying with the idea of resettling Gaza citizens to Egypt, which is completely unthinkable. Egypt, already struggling with terrorism problems, is opposed. And in any case, we cannot turn the Palestinians, who have their own national identity, into a landless people.
In the medium term, it will therefore be necessary to find a new form of government in Gaza that ensures order and prevents new attacks on Israel.
The UN, which already supplies the enclave, could send joint forces from various Arab countries. But that would be an external solution. Otherwise, the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah, could take control of the West Bank. But his weak and discredited government risks being perceived as a figurehead of the Western world. And if the Palestinians go to the polls, the outcome of the election could well displease the international community, as it did in 2006 when Hamas was elected, causing division among the Palestinians.
However, a solution for Gaza will never be sustainable unless it is part of a comprehensive solution for all Palestinians, including those in the West Bank. It starts with telling Israelis loud and clear to stop colonizing.
Since the October 7 attacks, we have never been further away from the two-state solution that Canada supports. But there is no alternative. The status quo is impossible. Recent Hamas attacks have shown that the conflict will not resolve itself, as the international community had naively hoped after recent years of calm.
The two peoples are condemned to find a way to live together. It is not bombs that will lead to lasting peace in the Middle East, but diplomatic efforts. It’s best to start as soon as possible.
Even if Canada is not a leading player in the Middle East, it can play a constructive role there. He did this after the Olso Accords 30 years ago, taking over the leadership of the committee that oversees the sensitive issue of the return of Palestinian refugees.
As a founding member of the United Nations and creator of the Blue Helmets, Canada had made peacekeeping missions its international trademark. But since then, Ottawa’s foreign policy has become less effective because it is aimed more at Canadians and Washington, whom it does not want to displease.
If Ottawa wants its voice to be heard internationally, it must be bold and propose initiatives that can defuse the debate. And ultimately help the Israelis and Palestinians work together to find a solution for the Gaza Strip the day after the war.
The position of The press
We need to think today about what will happen to the Gaza Strip tomorrow. Canada must regain the voice it once had if it wants to play a constructive role in finding a lasting solution in the Middle East.
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