Canadian PM tells Israel 'killing of babies' must stop amid Al-Shifa hospital siege

Canadian PM tells Israel 'killing of babies' must stop amid Al-Shifa hospital siege
Canada's prime minister has urged Israel to stop killing women, children and babies in the Gaza Strip as Israeli forces besiege and raid the Al-Shifa Hospital where thousands of civilians have taken shelter.
3 min read
15 November, 2023
Trudeau urged the Israeli government to exercise 'maximum restraint' [Getty]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the killing "of women, of children, of babies" in the Gaza war must stop.

"The world is watching, on TV, on social media, we are hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents," Trudeau said at an event in British Columbia province.

"The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop."

Trudeau's criticism sparked an angry response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust," Netanyahu posted on X.

"While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm's way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm's way."

Canada and other Western nations have expressed unwavering support for Israel since Hamas' surprise attacks on 7 October that killed around 1,200 people, with an estimated 240 others taken hostage.

Israel's indiscriminate bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza have killed 11,451 people, most of them women and children. Thousands of victims are also trapped under rubble.

Despite his criticism of Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza, Trudeau repeated frequent Israeli and Western claims that Hamas is "using Palestinians as human shields.

He also said they "need to release all the hostages immediately and unconditionally".

Referring to Gaza's largest hospital, which has in recent days been besieged and attacked by the Israeli army, he said: "The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al-Shifa hospital."

Israeli forces stormed Al-Shifa hospital early Wednesday, claiming they were targeting an alleged Hamas command centre in tunnels beneath the building.

Thousands of patients and civilians have sought refuge in the hospital, in the hope that they would be safe from Israeli bombardment which has indiscriminately targeted and flattened residential areas.

Hamas has repeatedly denied having a presence in or underneath hospitals.

Trudeau, who spoke before the raid, urged the government of Israel to "exercise maximum restraint".

Trudeau paid tribute to Canadian-Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver, 74, whose killing in the 7 October attacks in southern Israel was confirmed on Tuesday.

She was initially thought to be held hostage by Hamas.

A feminist activist advocating for peace with the Palestinians, Silver had set up aid programs for Gaza residents and helped them obtain medical treatment in Israel.

"Vivian dedicated her life to peace and the bright light was extinguished on October 7," Trudeau said.