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Will Harper support medical treatment for Palestinian children?

Photo by APAimages/REX
Photo by APAimages/REX

The Ontario ministry of health has contacted the Palestinian health ministry asking them to identify children wounded in Gaza who could be brought to hospitals in Ontario for medical treatment. The Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa, Kingston General Hospital and Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto have all agreed to receive the children.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario supports this initiative announced by the Ontario minister of health yesterday.

The federal Liberals, NDP and Greens have all expressed their support for this too.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has tweeted, “Please add your name in support of bringing Palestinian children to receive medical treatment in Canada.” The NDP leader of the opposition in the House of Commons Peter Julian has tweeted, “I call on @pmharper to act now to bring injured children from Gaza to Canada for treatment.” And Green party leader Elizabeth May has tweeted, “#gpc support medical treatment in Canada for 100 wounded Gazan children”

Now the Harper government has to agree to let the wounded children and their parents travel to Canada and for the Israeli government to allow them to leave.

The offer from Ontario comes as a result of a Toronto Star op-ed by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. He is a University of Toronto professor, born and raised in Gaza, who lost three daughters in an Israeli tank attack in 2009. He wrote in that op-ed, “There are many severely wounded children in Gaza and the hospitals and health-care personnel there are woefully ill-equipped to treat them all. I would like to see our world-class Toronto hospitals offer to take in 100 of the most seriously wounded.”

Pernille Ironside, the head of the UNICEF office in Gaza, says that the Israeli assault on Gaza has killed 408 children and wounded another 2,502 children. She notes that about 373,000 children have had traumatic experiences and need psychosocial support.

Will Stephen Harper do the right thing?