Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has arrived in Tel Aviv, marking her presence in a region marred by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which began following a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip. Joly’s visit encompasses a three-day trip that will also take her to Jordan, as confirmed by sources.
Reaffirming Canada’s Support for Israel: A statement from Global Affairs Canada highlights that Joly’s mission aims to “reaffirm Canada’s support for Israel and its right to defend itself by international law.” In addition to this, the minister will engage in discussions concerning the repercussions of Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel, the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, and the importance of upholding international humanitarian law. Collective efforts to ensure the swift and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid, as well as the protection of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, will be emphasized during her visit.
Witnessing the Evolving Situation: Minister Joly expressed her priority during the trip, saying, “My priority is to meet with partners and see first-hand the evolving situation on the ground so that Canada can provide the support most needed at this critical time.” She conveyed Canada’s concern and sadness over the recent events, stating, “Canada is shocked and saddened by the events that unfolded over the last week. My thoughts are with all civilians impacted by the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, which has also taken a toll on communities at home in Canada and around the world.”
High Casualty Toll in the Conflict: The conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2007, has resulted in a devastating casualty toll, with more than 3,000 people losing their lives. Hamas initiated an assault on October 7, involving the firing of thousands of rockets, causing the death of more than 1,300 people in Israel, including 247 soldiers, as well as innocent children and numerous casualties at a music festival. Israel reports that around 150 people have been taken to Gaza as hostages.
Gaza in Crisis: The Gaza Health Ministry reports that 1,799 people have been killed in the territory, with over 580 being under the age of 18 and 351 being women. Israel claims that approximately 1,500 Hamas militants have been killed inside Israel, with many of the casualties in Gaza being Hamas members.
In response to the escalating conflict, the Israeli military has urged approximately one million Palestinians in the northern part of Gaza, roughly half the population, to evacuate and head south in anticipation of an expected ground invasion. However, Hamas has called on Palestinians to remain in their homes, dismissing what they referred to as “psychological warfare” by Israel.
The United Nations has expressed deep concern about the potential calamity should so many people flee Gaza. Still, the Israeli military clarified to The Associated Press that there is no formal evacuation deadline.
Escalation Beyond Israel and Hamas: Furthermore, Israel has also engaged in military exchanges with Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon and designated as a terrorist entity in Canada. The conflict in the region continues to be a matter of international concern, demanding the attention of foreign diplomats and leaders like Minister Joly.