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A hunger strike against the delivery of weapons to Israel | Middle East , the eternal conflict

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Palestinian children are gathered during a food distribution in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

  • Rania Massoud (View profile)Rania Massoud

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More than 380 Canadians, including including two federal MPs, joined a hunger strike movement to urge the Liberal government to suspend arms deliveries to Israel as the Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip surpassed 24,600 in 104 days of war.

The hunger strike campaign was publicly announced on Thursday, but it was launched on December 20 at the initiative of Nadine Nasir, a 40-year-old Torontonian of Palestinian origin.

To date, 382 people, including Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Manitoban Niki Ashton, have joined the movement, says the organizer of the Hunger Strike for Gaza campaign.

It is an open campaign, according to Ms. Nasir: Each person can choose the number of strike days they want to observe, according to what their health. Some participants, like Ms May and Ms Ashton, signed up to go on strike for just one day as a show of solidarity. The longest engagement reported is 32 days.

I will join the hunger strike for Gaza and I know many people across the country will do the same, Congresswoman Ashton said in a recorded message. We also call for action: an arms embargo on Israel. Canada must stop exporting weapons to Israel now.

We are desperate and our government is not listening to us. Canada continues to supply weapons to Israel that are used to kill Palestinians. Nothing else seems to work, neither the protests, nor the petitions, nor the letters to MPs…

A quote from Nadine Nasir, organizer of the “Hunger Strike for Gaza” campaign

According to the latest report from Global Affairs Canada on exports of military goods in 2022, Israel is the country that has obtained the most export licenses used for military goods and technologies, with the exception of the United States United. In total, Israel obtained 315 export licenses in 2022, followed by the United Kingdom (290) and Germany (188).

According to the same report, Canada exported more than $21 million worth of military equipment to Israel in 2022. This amount was $26 million in 2021, placing Israel among the top 10 recipients of Canadian arms exports . Aside from the United States, Saudi Arabia tops this list with more than $1 billion in military equipment imported from Canada in 2022.

Among the goods and technologies transferred to Israel, there are mainly electronic equipment designed specifically for military use ($10,465,925.01), aircraft and aviation equipment ($4,966,293.58) as well as as bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles and other explosive devices ($3,174,297.90).

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I felt deprived of my rights, Ms. Nasir, who works in the humanitarian sector, told Radio-Canada. I can't stop thinking about the children, who look like mine and who are killed every day in Gaza, she said, her throat tight.

Several organizations responded to Nadine Nasir's call, including World Beyond War, Voice of Women and Independent Jewish Voices.

The participants come from all walks of life, of different origins and ages, specifies the organizer. There is even a good sister who supports us, as well as teachers and students.

Ms. Nasir also says that her movement plans to solicit other MPs, including liberal elected officials, to support his hunger strike campaign.

About 61% of the campaign's participants are based in Ontario, according to Ms. Nasir, while 15% of them are in British Columbia and just over 10% in Quebec. There are even participants in the Yukon, she assures.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a question about whether Canada was considering suspending arms deliveries to Israel, but in November a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the country has one of the most rigorous export control systems in the world. All license applications for controlled goods or technologies are reviewed on a case-by-case basis through a robust risk assessment.

Under its own law – the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) – and the International Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which Canada joined in 2019, Ottawa cannot issue licenses for export of arms, munitions, equipment or armaments of war if there is a serious risk that these weapons will be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international law.

The Jewish state has been waging a fierce war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip since October 7, when this Palestinian Islamist movement launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli soil, killing 1,140 people, mostly civilians.

Some 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza during the attack, around 100 of whom were released following a truce at the end november. According to Israel, 132 remain detained, of whom 27 are believed to have died.

On the Palestinian side, Israeli strikes left more than 24,620 dead, the vast majority of them women, children and adolescents, according to the Gazan authorities.

Israeli army bombings have razed entire neighborhoods in Gaza, caused a major humanitarian crisis and knocked out more than half of the hospitals in the Palestinian territory, on which Israel has imposed a total siege since October 9 after a ground blockade , air and sea which dates from 2007.

The UN says it fears a risk of famine and deadly epidemics and the World Health Organization has said that patients are awaiting death in hospitals rendered inoperable by the war.

Elsewhere, Israel faces charges of genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after a complaint filed by South Africa, which was supported by dozens of country, but not by Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he supports the important and rigorous work of the ICJ, but not necessarily the premises of the case [brought by] Africa South.

If there were acts of genocide, they were perpetrated against Israel, replied Tal Backer, legal adviser to the Israeli ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On Thursday, Israel's ambassador to Ottawa urged Justin Trudeau's government to unambiguously reject Africa's complaint of the South, which he describes as unfounded and erroneous.

With information from Agence France-Presse< /p>

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