Foreign Minister Melanie Joly travels to Israel ahead of a possible ground offensive in Gaza following deadly Hamas attacks last weekend.
A statement from Joly’s office says she will push for a joint effort to establish a humanitarian corridor in the territory, which Israel has vowed to put under a “total siege,” to bring aid such as food, water and medical supplies to civilians in Gaza.
“Canada is shocked and saddened by the events that have taken place over the past week. “My thoughts are with all civilians affected by the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel, which has also taken its toll on communities in Canada and around the world,” Joly said in a statement.
“My priority is to meet with partners and see first-hand the evolving situation on the ground so that Canada can provide the most needed support at this critical time.”
The minister’s office adds that he will reaffirm Canada’s position that Israel has the right to defend itself under international law following last week’s attacks. Some 2,800 people have been killed in the attack and subsequent airstrikes on Gaza., including three Canadians.
The Israeli government says more than 100 people were kidnapped and the Hamas attack left thousands injured.
Joly will remain in the region until October 15, which includes a visit to neighboring Jordan.
Following the Hamas attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the nation was “at war.” Israel’s security cabinet soon after approved the declaration of war, and Netanyahu formed a war cabinet with the opposition leader.
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Now, Israel is asking around a million civilians to evacuate the northern part of Gaza within 24 hours ahead of a possible ground invasion. This includes Gaza City, where approximately 590,000 people live.
The UN considers this evacuation impossible within that period without “devastating” humanitarian consequences.
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“Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel. The only worry now is whether you will make it, whether you will live,” said Nebal Farsakh, spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City, breaking into sobs while speaking to The Associated Press.
Hamas dismissed the call for evacuation as “psychological warfare” and is asking people to stay in their homes.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new $10 million humanitarian aid package for Israeli and Palestinian civilians at a press conference in Yellowknife on Thursday.
A senior Canadian government official said the money would go to trusted humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross to ensure funds do not go to Hamas, which is a designated terrorist organization in Canada.
The official added that trying to establish a humanitarian corridor is one of Canada’s top diplomatic priorities in the region.
– with files from The Associated Press.
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