As Justin Trudeau dismissed South Africa’s request for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to halt Israel’s genocidal actions in Gaza, Global Affairs Canada announced its support for airstrikes to maintain Israel’s access to Red Sea shipping.
Canadian military personnel participated in aggressive air strikes launched by the US and Britain against Yemen on January 11, to break efforts by Houthi forces to blockade Red Sea shipments to Israel. The Houthi movement says the blockade – which is enforced through drone and missile attacks on commercial vessels – will end when Israel allows humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.
Global Affairs says the airstrikes are part of Canada’s efforts to protecting international law. “We call on Houthis to cease their attacks immediately, and reiterate that they bear the consequences of their actions,” read the joint statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly .and Defence Minister Bill Blair. “We remain committed to working with our partners in the Middle East to help advance sustainable peace and security in the region.”
The government’s claim of protecting international law is perverse, given that Canada has yet to oppose Israel’s siege of Gaza and refuses to support South Africa’s ICJ initiative.
To date, Canada has merely mouthed support for a ceasefire, without taking any concrete action and while applying conditions. In the time it took the Trudeau to state that it supports a “sustainable” ceasefire, more than two months of genocidal Israeli aggression against Gaza had passed during which time over 18,000 Palestinian people were killed, nearly 50,000 wounded, and eighty-five percent of the people in Gaza were displaced.
The contrast between Canada’s response to the genocide in Gaza and the Houthi movement’s attempted blockade of Israel, bluntly reveals the hypocrisy of the government’s position – one which is supported wholeheartedly by the Conservatives.
The real motive for supporting the US-UK airstrikes is clear – to defend Israel’s maritime trade and the Western commercial interests which are related to that.
If the Canadian government really cared about peace, human rights and international law, it would take concrete action against Israel’s genocidal actions in Gaza. This would include supporting South Africa at the ICJ, publicly calling for Israel’s to immediately implement an unconditional and permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of troops from Gaza, impose an immediate embargo on arms trade with Israel, and reverse its attempts to criminalize Palestine solidarity protests and organizations.
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