Mr. Stephen Harper was quick in his early days to show his displeasure with the election of Hamas (a result no one wanted or expected in the West) by cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority and restrict cash flow into the impoverished area. Many right wing commentators had mouthed that election of Hamas was like declaring war on Israel, as Hamas did not recognize the country.
Today, in response to the kidnapping of a 19 year-old Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip - cutting off electricity and water, at the height of summer, to some 1.3 million people. That's 1.3 MILLION of the poorest people on earth without electricity and water in 45 degrees heat. Many of them, employees of the civil service, will be seriously short of cash as all aid had been restricted. Israel also destroyed three main bridges that connect to the Gaza strip, thus preventing any subsequent relief to reach the area. And in what could be tantamount to a declaration of war, Israel has captured the cabinet members of another government [Star].
Is the targeting of and destroying the lives of 1.3 million justified, for the sake of 1 soldier's life? And not to forget, actions such as these of Israel's breeds terrorism, which in turn affects the capability and safety of our soldiers in Afghanistan. Canadian soldiers who would have struck a cordial relation with many Afghans will now have to distance themselves from Israel (our ally)'s actions. Previous Liberal governments had succeeded in cementing a balanced position of Canada in the Middle East conflict. By aligning ourselves with the US and Israel, Mr. Harper runs the risk it entails for Canada.
All this ofcourse, to secure the release of a soldier. And what were the demands of the insurgents who captured the soldier in the first place?
Arab blogger Sabbah informs us:
"... are now asking for the release of Palestinian women prisoners and Palestinian children under the age of 18. And in case you don't know, as of April 2006, the latest numbers of Palestinian women prisoners and Palestinian children is 342 Palestinian children and 122 women. I wonder how much attention the Western media gave to this fact, if they did in first place. Do the Western media mention the demands of the Palestinian militia? Did you hear about the Palestinian Women and Children in the Israeli prisons?"
Another blogger, Avari writes:
"Of course, this did not start with the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. It started when Israeli shells led to the deaths of Palestinians, including women, on a Gaza beach; predictably enough, Israel claimed it released a report ... that showed no Israeli involvement, though TIME Magazine, in its June 26, 2006 issue, questioned such a report, citing Human Rights Watch's impartial report."
Even though the language used by some of these bloggers may be harsh, the truth in asking for fair coverage of Israel's actions and its implications cannot be denied. Mr. Stephen Harper should now ask Israel to withdraw and return to negotiations for the release of its solder.