Canada limited in preventing wider Mideast crisis, amid humanitarian plight: experts

Canada limited in preventing wider Mideast crisis, amid humanitarian plight: experts
CHEK
Experts say Canada has limited options as it works diplomatic channels to try preventing clashes in Israel and Palestinian territories from escalating into a wider, regional war. Israeli soldiers take position near the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Oren Ziv

Experts say Canada has limited options as it works diplomatic channels to try preventing clashes in Israel and Palestinian territories from escalating into a wider, regional war.

Foreign Affairs Minister MĂ©lanie Joly says she’s in touch with counterparts in the region, as the fallout from Hamas’s brazen surprise attacks on Israel Saturday threatens to engulf multiple countries.

University of Ottawa professor Costanza Musu says that while some countries in the region are offering to mediate talks between Israeli and Palestinian actors, they are likely more concerned with their own geopolitical interests rather than ending the bloodshed, which already has killed at least 1,800 people.

She notes that Canada has been a staunch supporter of Israel in recent decades, including when Israeli officials diverge from Ottawa’s official policy of advocating for a two-state solution to the protracted conflict.

Musu says Israel’s restrictions on essential services in Hamas-controlled Gaza, along with a likely ground offensive, will put increasing strain on countries like Canada as they voice support for Israel’s response to the violence.

The humanitarian group Save the Children is calling for all players in the region to stop fighting, even at interim intervals, so that civilians can be sent essential medicines and food.

The group’s director for Palestinian territories, Jason Lee, said children in both Israel and Gaza are traumatized from past explosions and artillery fire, and that they can’t process those memories if they’re continually exposed to conflict.

“In order to protect all children, we must stop this endless cycle of violence,” said Lee.

Lee said it’s clear a “humanitarian catastrophe” is looming that nobody is adequately prepared to deal with.

“The events that have unfolded in the last four days are horrific. But my fear is what is to come.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!