Recently my colleague Carolyn Bennett and I had the opportunity to visit Israel and the West Bank along with other parliamentarians. We went to listen and learn from both Israeli and Palestinian experts about the current crisis and, in particular, about prospects for a sustainable ceasefire.
There is no question that Israel has the right to defend itself. Equally, there is no doubt that the Palestinian people have the right to live in peace. Tragically, the war has rendered these two rights mutually incompatible.
We feel deep compassion for all the people who have lost their lives and livelihood in this conflict. We offer our heartfelt condolences to all those who have suffered, including the families and friends of those who have died.
Because of this humanitarian tragedy and from the beginning of the conflict, the Liberal Party’s primary concern has been achieving an immediate and sustained ceasefire and a long-term solution where both Israelis and Palestinians can live as neighbours, in peace and security, in two independent states. We are encouraged that a 72-hour ceasefire appears to be holding and hope that it can be extended and sustained. We are also pleased that the Palestinian delegation to the Cairo peace talks is being led by the Palestinian Authority, or Fateh.
It is also crucial that the ongoing humanitarian crisis be dealt with immediately. We are pleased that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and many other Canadians have added their voices to a campaign to bring Palestinian children impacted by this crisis to Canada to receive vital medical treatment. More generally, we urge the Government of Canada to immediately increase its humanitarian assistance to Gaza and, when the opportunity arises, to make a major financial contribution to the reconstruction of Gaza. This is an essential component of a medium term solution, and it is an area in which Canada can play a constructive role.