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Canadian MPs visit West Bank | Middle East, Middle East

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An Israeli soldier in the Al-Faraa refugee camp, in the north of Occupied West Bank

The Canadian Press

Five Canadian MPs are in the Middle East to hear from Palestinians about what Canada could do to promote peace and human rights in the region.

The delegation, which is currently in Jordan, will also visit the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel which has experienced an increase in clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army.

It was really important for us to come and see the situation on the ground and see what they expect from Canada, Liberal MP Salma Zahid said on Monday , on a call from Amman, Jordan.

It is the organization Canadian Muslim Vote which is financing this visit by the two Liberal MPs and three New Democrats to the region for six days, alongside humanitarian organizations.

Zahid, who heads the Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group, said more MPs from other parties had been invited, but some had reservations. scheduling conflicts. She did not identify them.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The Conservatives and Bloc Québécois did not immediately respond when asked why none of their MPs were present, and Canadian-Muslim Vote did not responded to an email asking who specifically he had invited.

Last November, Canadian Jewish organizations funded a visit to Israel by Liberal and Conservative MPs to learn about the impact of Hamas' surprise attack on October 7.

The current delegation, which began its tour of activities on Monday, heard from United Nations agencies helping Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, including some families have been there since the creation of Israel in 1948.

Zahid said UN staff members told her that their colleagues in the Gaza Strip were teaching children whose schools are now closed. Their parents now use books as fuel, due to strict restrictions Israel has placed on fuel and food entering the region, he was told.

This will stay with me for the rest of my life: families burning books to cook, Ms. Zahid said.

It is our responsibility to ensure that every child in the world receives x27;education and the tools needed to succeed in life.

A quote from Salma Zahid, Liberal MP

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Liberal MP Salma Zahid

NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson said the delegation received a reality check from Canada's ambassador to Jordan, who she said explained how people in the Middle East compare Canada's approach to the region with Ottawa's strong support for the Ukrainians.

“He is very direct about the implications that Canada's actions have and will have on our reputation in the world [and] that the rest of the world is considering very different responses,” said the NDP MP. [The Palestinians] are disappointed in Canada, and they are disappointed that Canada's response is so blatantly uneven.

Justin's government Trudeau maintains that he is defending Canadian values ​​by demanding accountability from Hamas, while hoping for an end to the conflict and an improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

McPherson said her group plans to travel Tuesday to the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel that has seen a surge in violence in recent weeks. The Canadian delegation will also visit East Jerusalem, an area of ​​the city claimed by both communities. We are going to be careful and we have experts who are with us, she said Monday evening.

Since Israel began bombing the Gaza Strip, the United Nations says there has been an unprecedented rise in violence in the West Bank, including from Israeli occupation forces, Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.

Muslim groups are urging Ottawa to do more against violence in the West Bank, where extremist Jewish settlers who live in Israeli settlements that Canada deems illegal have taken up arms.

The Trudeau government has joined calls to revive the peace process aimed at to create an independent Palestinian state that would exist alongside Israel. However, Palestinian leaders say Ottawa is not exerting enough pressure, and the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been reluctant to embrace the two-state solution. p>

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