Cooperation Canada welcomes Canada’s support on 12 December 2023 of a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. We stand alongside other Canadian organizations, including several Cooperation Canada members, who have been calling tirelessly for the protection of civilians and upholding of legal and humanitarian obligations. 

Since the horrific Hamas-perpetrated attacks on 7 October 2023 that claimed the lives of 1,200 largely Israeli civilians and led to the abduction of over two hundred persons, many of whom continue to be held hostage, Cooperation Canada has been observing the escalation of conflict, onslaught on civilians, breakdown of humanitarian systems, and profound disrespect for both international law and international humanitarian law in Gaza, West Bank and Israel. Based on United Nations data from 11 December 2023, there have been over 18,000 casualties in Gaza, with additional reported injuries amounting to nearly 50,000, and almost 1.9 million people, or nearly 85 percent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced. It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of casualties consist of women and children. There has also been an escalation of violence in the West Bank. 

The change in Canada’s position in favor of a ceasefire sends a strong message to the international community that bilateral relationships cannot and should not supersede international humanitarian law and international human rights law. More importantly, it means a chance at life for women, children, and young people living in catastrophic conditions. While the humanitarian pause of 24-30 November 2023 allowed an increase in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and infrastructure resumed quickly thereafter. This resumption of violence strongly suggests that a long-term ceasefire is needed to prevent the continued mass tragedy suffered by the Palestinian civilians.   

To reiterate our statement issued on 13 October 2023, we recognize the Government of Canada’s funding for humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs stemming from the crisis in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Israel and neighbouring areas. While humanitarian organizations can now expect to soon resume their work to rescue, care for, and save human lives, Canada should continue to engage diplomatically to ensure a sustainable ceasefire and lasting peace in Gaza, West Bank and Israel.