December 29, 2008

1000 People March in Toronto

"Stop the Assault on Gaza, Free Palestine!"

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, December 29, 2008 (TORONTO) – At least 1000 people poured into Toronto streets on Sunday to show their outrage at the Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza. Protesters rallied in front of the Israeli consulate for over an hour before spilling on to the street and spontaneously marching down University Avenue to the U.S Consulate. The demonstration was one of hundreds of rallies worldwide that expressed popular condemnation of Israel's violent and illegal military actions. CAIA, Palestine House, and other organizations in Toronto are following the situation in Gaza closely and will be planning further solidarity actions for the coming week.

The latest reports coming from Gaza are now placing the figure of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military at well over 300 with as many as 1400 people injured in the last 48 hours. The people of Gaza are in the midst of the single worst massacre in the area since it was illegally occupied in 1967. The Israeli state shows no sign of halting its assault anytime soon as they have begun to amass tanks and ground assault military vehicles on the border with Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, has stated that, "the operation will last as long as necessary".

The Israeli military is carrying out air strikes against a population that lives in the most densely populated area in the world. Gaza has been under an illegal and internationally condemned siege since April 2006. With little reprieve, this two-year siege has restricted all flow of aid, medical supplies, fuel and other necessities of life into the territory. A humanitarian catastrophe has been unfolding in Gaza – this latest military assault will only worsen the situation in an area where there is already insufficient medicine, food, or fuel for people to survive on.

The Canadian government has become an ardent supporter of Israel's policy of aggression and siege aimed at Gaza and has increasingly supported Israel's on-going regime of apartheid. Stephen Harper's government was the first to implement the siege on Gaza, which was most recently described by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk as including 'wide-ranging violations of the fundamental human right to life'.

As such, several sectors within Canadian society are renewing their call and intensifying their efforts for a comprehensive campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and its apartheid practices. This international campaign was recently endorse by United Nations General Assembly President H.E. Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockman: "More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations."

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