Tazeen Hasan sheds light on Israeli atrocities towards children in the West Bank and Gaza and the need for Canada to devise a just foreign policy.
Mohammed al-Tamimi, a 2.5-year-old toddler, became the youngest victim in the series of tragic deaths among Palestinian children this year. Shot in the head by Israeli forces, his young life was cut short, with his brain vessels ruptured beyond repair. This heart-wrenching incident occurred in Gaza and the West Bank, territories that have been heavily impacted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mohammed's story is just one example of the ongoing violence and loss of life that Palestinian children endure daily. Regrettably, he is not the only child who has fallen victim to such tragic circumstances. His death marks the 27th case of a Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2023 alone. The constant killing of Palestinian children, including toddlers and infants, using live ammunition by Israeli soldiers, is a grave violation of human rights and humanitarian principles. International law clearly states that the use of lethal force should only be employed as a last resort, when there is an imminent threat to life. However, the repeated incidents of children being targeted suggest a systemic failure to protect the most vulnerable individuals in this conflict.
Every child, regardless of their nationality, place of residence or ethnicity, is entitled to the right to life, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The loss of innocent lives and the resulting trauma inflicted upon Palestinian children not only obstructs the path to a peaceful resolution but also fuels an unending cycle of violence and revenge.
Despite its reputation as a champion of human rights, Canada has been disappointingly indifferent to the plight of Palestine. The Canadian government's lack of action in addressing the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies is concerning. It is crucial for Canadian policymakers to recognize their role in influencing change and promoting justice in the region.
Canada's support for the Israeli government's policies, including military cooperation and economic ties, cannot be disregarded. By continuing these associations, Canada indirectly sustains an oppressive regime that perpetuates human rights abuses and denies Palestinians their basic rights, including the right to self-determination.
To rectify this situation, Canadian policymakers must take immediate action to halt their support for the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime. By doing so, Canada can contribute to ending the cycle of violence and fostering a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Furthermore, Canadian citizens must hold their representatives accountable and demand a shift in policy. Grassroots movements and civil society organizations have a vital role to play in raising awareness, educating the public, and advocating for change. It is imperative to mobilize public opinion and urge policymakers to take a principled stance against the violations of Palestinian rights.
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