House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister called for an independent investigation into events in Gaza, presumably because he lacks confidence in Israel’s domestic mechanisms for self-assessment. However, when a Canadian citizen was killed in an Iranian prison, the government said it wanted the Iranian government to investigate itself.
Which justice system does the government regard as more credible to undertake neutral self-assessment, Israel’s or Iran’s?
Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives shamefully try to turn Canada’s support for Israel into a partisan issue, I will repeat the long-standing position of consecutive governments of Canada, both Liberal and Conservative, that Canada is a steadfast friend of Israel and a friend of the Palestinian people.
Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization since 2002. That is a position our government continues to hold. We strongly condemn its culture of violence, its threats towards Israel, and its acts of terrorism. Our call for an investigation into the situation in Gaza includes reports of incitement by Hamas.
Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, my question is to the Government Representative in the Senate. On May 16, Prime Minister Trudeau made a statement in which he solely blamed Israel for recent violence at the Israel-Gaza border, and he was silent on the role of Hamas. Hamas acknowledges that 50 of the casualties in the battle at the border were its own terrorists.
Additionally, Israel dropped leaflets warning Gazans that their lives would be in danger if they approached the border, and Hamas paid civilians to participate in charging the border, with a premium to those who were injured or worse.
Will the Prime Minister correct the record, stand up for Israel’s right to self-defence and condemn Hamas for its incitement of violence?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. The Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government of Canada, expressed regret over the incidents at the border and along with other leaders called for a more moderate and proportional response. The view of the Government of Canada is that this area requires urgent attention that should be multi-faceted in terms of countries involved. These are tensions that require solutions and long-term investment of attention of leaders.
I would expect that this issue will continue to be one that is before international bodies, including those that provide relief and succour to those most affected, but it is also a call for all sides to be moderate in their response and proportional in their actions.
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