The Canadian BDS Coalition concurs with the statement made by its member organization, the Palestinian and Jewish Unity (Montreal)
While PAJU does not condone the deaths of civilians during conflicts, it would be unrealistic to maintain that such tragedies can be avoided in times of war. The fact of the matter is that the source of the violence in occupied Palestine is Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, its brutal and suffocating apartheid system which crushes the communal life out of the Palestinians, its illegal and criminal blockade of Gaza over the past 16 years, its abuse and killing of Palestinian children – more than 3, 000 since the year 2000 and more than 1, 000 in Gaza as a result of Israel’s aerial bombardment – its administrative detention process and its abuse of Palestinian prisoners. (note: data was of October 18, 2023, on October 26, 2023 there are 3,000 children who have been killed in Gaza since October 7, 2023)
Colonial oppressors cannot expect to have kept their boots on Palestinians’ collective throats for 75 years without there being armed uprisings in defense of the Palestinian dream for freedom. As Nelson Mandela put it, it is the oppressor who determines the means of resistance of the oppressed. Violence begets violence.
We have heard ad nauseam the refrain from our political puppetry in Canada that ‘Israel has the right to defend itself under international law.’ International law does not permit an occupying force to kill civilians on a mass scale nor does it permit the occupying force to starve them and deprive them of water. Those are war crimes and Israel is guilty of war crimes in Gaza. A reminder for our ever virtuous politicos: a civilian population under the control of an occupying hostile military presence has the right to defend itself by virtue of international law. In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (pdf), as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere. Hence, the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves even by way of armed resistance. What is left unsaid by our Canadian politicians when they dismiss the right of Palestinians to self –defense is the following: Israel has the right to defend itself; Palestinians have the right to lay down and die. The Palestinians have chosen to stand and fight. That is their right.
Israel has transgressed virtually every article of humanitarian law as outlined in the Fourth Geneva Convention resulting in what may be defined as crimes against humanity. The Israeli bombing of the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza is just such a crime. The Israeli narrative that it was an Islamic Jihad rocket gone astray that hit the hospital does not hold water. This was not the first time Israeli forces attacked Al-Ahli hospital, as it had been targeted and hit by airstrikes only a few days before on October 14, damaging two floors and injuring four people. Israel targeted and struck a UNRWA Palestinian school in the south of Gaza killing several Palestinians. No accident there either. We have just to go back to the murderous Israeli attacks and targeting of Gaza hospitals and schools in 2014 to understand that this is just Israeli propaganda supported by a captive American president, by weak Canadian politicians who have interests but no principles and by a supine and indolent self-censuring Canadian media who are all complicit in what are war crimes on the part of the Netanyahu government.
It is time to draw a distinction between Zionism – the cult of right-wing Jewish supremacy – and Judaism, the Jewish religion of transcendence and tolerance.
Deconstructing Bill Blair’s Lie About Israel’s Bombing Of The Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital
Palestinian and Jewish Unity Press Release
Montreal, October 25th, 2023
Canada’s Minister of Defense, Bill Blair has said in a statement that Ottawa has a “high degree of confidence” that Israel “did not strike the Al-Ahli hospital” in Gaza after an “independent review by the Canadian military.” Blair added that the cause was an “errant rocket” fired from the Gaza strip. Blair has still made no reference to any such independent Canadian review and is not likely to provide one. Indeed, we challenge Minister Blair to provide one. It is unlikely that any such independent review exists. It is rather an instance of the Canadian government parroting a narrative set conjointly in Washington and Tel Aviv. A La Presse article states that Israel is “delighted that Canada has drawn the same conclusion as the United States and France” in stating that it was an errant rocket from Gaza that struck the hospital. The collusion could not be more transparent.
A close look at the facts shows beyond any shadow of a doubt that Israel bombed the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital and that the attack was planned and not accidental. Indeed, Al-Ahli hospital was not bombed just once but twice. The first Israeli strike on the hospital came on October 14, three days before the second strike on October 17. Reports in mainstream media have for the most part omitted to report the details of the first strike on the hospital. Israeli authorities fully admitted that they were responsible for the hit on the hospital on October 14, telling hospital officials on October 15 that “We warned you yesterday with two shells” when they had warned the hospital authorities to evacuate the facility. The first strike damaged the second floor of the hospital.
A Palestine Chronicle article states:
At precisely 9:37 pm, Palestine time, Aljazeera Arabic live blog, citing the Israeli military spokesman:
“ISRAELI ARMY SPOKESMAN: “We had warned to evacuate the Baptist Hospital (Al-Ahli) and 5 other hospitals so that Hamas would not take them as a refuge.”
“This statement was consistent with other statements made by Al-Ahli hospital administration following the massacre. It said that they had been threatened that if they did not evacuate the hospital, the hospital would be bombed.” But there was nowhere else to move the hospital’s patients and their families. Furthermore, according to the Palestine Chronicle article, the patients could not be moved to other facilities because “most major hospitals, including the Al-Shifa Medical Center, were also warned by the Israeli military to evacuate.”
According to the Palestine Chronicle details, “Israel bombed a UN-run school in central Gaza, then carried out a massacre in Al-Ahli hospital, took responsibility, changed its story, then bombed another hospital.” When the news of the massacre began circulating, and gruesome images of mutilated bodies of children and civilians began appearing on TV channels and social media platforms, the Israeli position began shifting. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the Israeli military had changed its story. “The Israeli military said that the killing of hundreds of people at a hospital in the Gaza Strip (…) was caused by a failed rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a militant group in Gaza,” Xinhua reported.
The Palestine Chronicle article points to five reasons showing that Israel lied about the bombing of the hospital. They are necessarily included in our press statement:
- First, no one in the Palestinian Resistance in Gaza has bombs with this kind of destructive capabilities.
- Second, the Israeli military had already made it clear, in its initial statement, that it was the party behind the mass killing.
- Third, Israel had in fact already bombed that same hospital, only a few days earlier, specifically on Saturday, October 14. The bombing then resulted in infrastructural damage.
- Fourth, Israel has bombed other hospitals as well, including Al-Dura hospital and the Indonesian hospital, among others.
- Fifth, soon before the massacre, Israeli aircraft also carried out a strike against a UNRWA-run school, sheltering civilians, in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip, killing and wounding dozens.
Even more damning is the fact that Israel continued bombing other hospitals despite the evidence of the massacre at Al-Ahl hospital. United Nations experts have stated that they hold Israel responsible for bombing the Al-Ahli hospital. A U.S. weapons expert has entirely debunked the Israeli claim that the strike on the hospital was the result of an errant Islamic Jihad rocket. (See the accompanying video.) The fact that Israel is guilty of the bombing of a UN-run school , the bombing of a Gaza church and a Gaza mosque, as well as the bombing of Al-Ahli hospital and other hospitals in Gaza means that Israel is also guilty of war crimes
In the presence of the overwhelming evidence that it was Israel that bombed the Al-Ahli hospital – as well as other Gaza hospitals – the Israeli narrative can now be said without fear of contradiction to be an outright lie. What this also means is that Bill Blair, the Trudeau government and numerous politicians and media outlets in Canada have spread this lie with impunity, with duplicity. They must be held accountable.