May 15, 2018 6:31 pm

Halifax protesters call on Canada to condemn Gaza killings

Tue, May 15: Protesters representing a range of groups took to the streets of Halifax on Tuesday to call on the Canadian government to respond to the violence in Israel. Steve Silva explains.

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Several people took to the streets of Halifax on Tuesday to call on the Canadian government to condemn the killings of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza this week by Israeli forces.

Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 during mass protests on Monday along the Gaza border, while just a few miles away, Israel and the U.S. held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in contested Jerusalem.

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“It’s just outrageous,” Jim Guild, an event organizer and member of Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace, said of the killings.

“What we’re encouraging is for citizens to ask the government to break their silence and say, ‘This is not happening.’ If this happened in many other countries, we’d hear from our government.”

READ MORE: Jagmeet Singh harshly criticizes Liberals’ silence on deadly protests amid U.S. embassy change

The protest, held in front of the entrance to the Halifax Public Gardens, marked the anniversary of what Palestinians call their “nakba,” or “catastrophe,” a reference to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Protesters said they wanted Israel to stop what they called a “massacre” in Gaza.

A tweet posted on Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland‘s account on Monday read: “Deeply concerned by violence in Gaza Strip. We are saddened by deaths + injuries that occurred today + over past weeks. It is inexcusable that civilians, journalists + children have been victims. All parties to the conflict have a responsibility to ensure civilians are protected.”

READ MORE: Thousands of Palestinians gather to bury their dead after deadly protests

Naomi Rosenfeld, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council, said every loss of life is tragic, but there’s more to the conflict.

“I think it’s important to remember that the clashes that are happening on the border right now, those are orchestrated by Hamas, which is a recognized terrorist group, and, really, the idea behind them is to create a protest, bring tens of thousands of people to the border, create chaos, burn tires so that no one can see anything, so that Hamas operatives can damage the border fence, break through the border fence and go fire assault rifles at Israelis, and really, that is the goal,” she said.

*With files from the Associated Press

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