"I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint," Trudeau said in his sharpest criticism of Israel since the war on Gaza broke out during a news conference in the western province of British Columbia. "The world is watching on TV, on social media. We're hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, and kids who have lost their parents. The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop."
But this earned a furious pushback from Netanyahu, insisting that Hamas is responsible for civilian deaths despite Israeli forces continuing to batter the enclave. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Israeli leader tagged/mentioned Trudeau and said: "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." He stood firm that the forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating "Hamas's barbarism."
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.
While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing…
— Benjamin Netanyahu - ?????? ?????? (@netanyahu) November 15, 2023
Trudeau has maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas after the militant group attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people. But he has expressed increasing concern over the mounting death toll in the battered enclave. Even Israel's biggest Western allies, including the United States, have raised their concerns over the mounting death toll. The Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry has said that more than 11,000 people, mostly children, have been killed since the beginning of the war. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the deaths and suffering to be minimized, saying, "far too many Palestinians have been killed."
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also blockaded Gaza, which prevented food, water, fuel, energy, and essentials from entering the enclave as they continued massive air bombing and ground operations. Al-Shifa, the biggest hospital in Gaza, was stormed by the IDF on Wednesday after days of repeated attacks. Thousands of patients and displaced Palestinians are trapped inside, including dozens of premature babies who are fighting for their lives.
The troops claimed that the complex was being used as a hideout by Hamas. Netanyahu blamed the militant group for the thousands of civilian deaths in the area and stated that "the price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians." (Related: Saving the best for last? IDF has trapped Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in a Gaza bunker – but the killings of civilians, including children, continue.)
Critics could not help but point out the hypocrisy of the Trudeau administration in its "call for humanitarian pause" in the Israel-Hamas conflict. He is blasting Netanyahu for "killing innocent lives" in the war, when he has been pushing for easy access to safe and consistent reproductive health services, including abortion.
Back in May, a statement was released that the Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos and Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien announced more than $4.2 million in funding from the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) fund to the University of British Columbia (UBC) – Contraception and Abortion Research Team (CART) and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights for their projects. These projects, funded by Budget 2021, will improve access by removing barriers to 'vital abortion services' and offer accurate reproductive health information for Canadians. Abortion has been legal in Canada for five decades, but according to them, many people continue to experience barriers to access.
"Our government will always support a woman's right to choose and ensure that sexual and reproductive health care is accessible for everyone, no matter who they are or where they live. As many individuals continue to face barriers and stigma when trying to access these services, organizations like Action Canada and the University of British Columbia are doing important work to find solutions to improve access to abortion services across Canada. Together, we will continue to protect and improve the right to safe and consistent access to reproductive health services, including abortion," Duclos said.
UBC-CART received nearly $4 million in funding while Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights will receive $428,236 to expand its Access Line and Sexual Health Information Hub programs, building on Health Canada's initial investment of $2.2 million in 2022. The project is set to "improve access by working with organizations to develop training resources and materials for healthcare professionals and patients." Meanwhile, the expansion will help increase the project's reach and accessibility of information and services for underserved populations. It claimed also to improve access to financial assistance to cover travel and accommodation costs, as well as logistical support to individuals accessing abortion care.
To date, over $38.9 million has been allocated. Twenty-three projects, valued at $29.2 million, have been funded. Of these projects, four address access to abortion, seven address 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and four focus on Indigenous communities.
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