Photo: Broderick speaks at the rally this afternoon. Photo by The Island Peace Committee.
The Guardian newspaper reports, “A rally will be held in Charlottetown Thursday calling for peace in the Middle East and for the violence against the Palestinian people in Gaza to end. Leo Broderick, with the Island Peace Committee and the Canadian Peace Alliance, says he believes more attention must be paid to the tragic killing and wounding of civilians in Gaza.”
The article notes, “‘Canadian politicians in all parties have turned a blind eye to the killing’, Broderick said. ‘We need to show them that the people of P.E.I. and Canada are opposed to the collective punishment of civilians in Gaza and that we support peace and justice in the area — not violence.’ To date, many Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded. Most of the casualties are civilians, many of whom are women and children. As well, water and sewer systems in Gaza are being destroyed, said Broderick.”
Today is the tenth day of the Israeli military bombing of the densely populated Gaza Strip. Agence France Presse reports that 230 Palestinians have been killed and 1,690 have been wounded in Gaza. The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says more than 80 per cent of the victims were civilians. To date 1 Israeli civilian has been killed while delivering food to soldiers on the Gaza border and 4 medics have been wounded by the 1,021 rockets fired from Gaza.
Broderick highlights the issue of collective punishment. In September 2011, five United Nations experts said, “As a result of more than four years of Israeli blockade, 1.6 million Palestinian women, men and children are deprived of their fundamental human rights and subjected to collective punishment, in flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” In October 2011, the Council of Canadians passed a resolution calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.
Broderick also notes that water and sewer systems have been targeted. Middle East Eye reports, “Palestinian officials on Saturday claimed that the Israelis had targeted water wells in different parts of Gaza City, leaving thousands of families without access to clean drinking water. …The sewerage system is also a target, with Israeli warplanes targeting sewage treatment stations in West Gaza City… Saed al-Din Atbash, head of water facilities at Gaza Municipality, appealed to the international community to urge Israel to stop targeting water and sewerage facilities, saying that all occupied civilians have a legal and human right to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.”
The Council of Canadians has also supported the Canadian Boat to Gaza. That initiative – with the aim of bringing aid to Gaza – was superseded by the Gaza’s Ark initiative whose purpose was to export goods from Gaza. Ehab Lotayef writes, “Early morning on Friday, July 11, Gaza’s Ark received a direct hit by a shell fired from an Israeli navel vessel which badly damaged the boat and started a fire on board. The civil defense and fire brigades could not get to the boat to extinguish the fire quickly enough due to the continuous shelling of the port that night and the boat was completely destroyed.”