© Guardian photo
Leo Broderick speaks during a recent peace rally in Charlottetown held to protest the bombings in Gaza in past few weeks.
Members of the Island Peace Committee are calling for an end to the bombing in Gaza and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East.
About a dozen people attended a rally last week in Charlottetown in front of Province House, calling for an end to the bombing in Gaza.
“It is a humanitarian crisis unfolding and we’re asking all political parties in this country to come to the support of the Gaza people,” said Leo Broderick, a member of both the Island Peace Committee and the Canadian Peace Alliance.
“This has to stop, the bombings have to stop and there must be a peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East. Violence is not the answer.”
Israel launched a massive air campaign on July 8 to stop relentless Hamas rocket fire into Israel. It expanded on July 17 to a ground war aimed at destroying tunnels the military says Hamas has constructed from Gaza into Israel for attacks against Israelis. The military says Hamas has launched 2,000 rockets since the war began.
The Gaza Health Ministry says at least 609 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. The UN office of humanitarian affairs estimates that at least 75 per cent of them were civilians, including dozens of children.
Islanders on the Island Peace Committee raised concern for those civilians living in Gaza, where the death toll has been highest.
They were critical of what they believe has been “blind support” of Israel by the Harper government.
“Mr. Harper didn’t even condemn what’s going on, or even talk about this. If you look at people in the European parliament, everywhere political leaders are condemning it, except our government,” said Suleiman Sefau of the Island Peace Committee.
“Myself, I believe the people of Israel have the right to peace, but at the same time I would like the people who live in Gaza to have the same support, the same right.”
But one young woman at the rally in Charlottetown, whose family is from Israel, approached The Guardian after the event to point out Hamas has been relentless in firing thousands of rockets into Israel. She was concerned the protesters were only presenting the plight of the Palestinians, while the people in Israel have also been facing daily attacks by Hamas.
“I want peace for everyone and I don’t think that any innocent people should be hurt or killed, but there are two sides of this, it’s not solely one side’s fault,” said Sophie Cardin of Colorado. Her family summers every year in P.E.I.
She said she recently posted an Israeli flag on her Facebook page and received a lot of backlash from her non-Jewish friends.
“I just want people to understand both sides of the issue, because I’m passionate about Israel.”
An Israeli soldier was killed Tuesday in fighting in southern Gaza, raising the number of Israeli troops confirmed dead to 27. Two Israeli civilians also have been killed.