Statement on the Ongoing Conflict Between Israel and Hamas

  • Community Update

Kingston, ON – October 31, 2023

Our community, and our province, are grappling with an extremely difficult, and constantly evolving, situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. 

I appreciate members of our community sharing their concerns with me about the tragic loss of life.

Israel has a right to defend itself in accordance with international law following the invasion on October 7th by the terrorist organization Hamas. Hostages are still being held and I pray for their safe return. 

Thousands of civilians have been killed or injured in Gaza as a result of this Israel-Hamas war. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is severe and there must be effective humanitarian corridors created and maintained. All parties must allow for pauses needed for humanitarian aid to reach innocent civilians in Gaza. Every possible measure must be taken to avoid the further loss of innocent lives.

Here in Ontario, Jews and Palestinians are fearful for the lives of friends and family members in the region, and rightfully so. Ontario families are scared for their own safety. Now is the time for us to come together and support one another. There may be differing opinions on the conflict, but the duty of our elected representatives, no matter the political stripe, is to bring people together. Our diversity makes us strong as a province and as a country. We cannot inflame tensions here at home. 

The situation in the region changes every day. For the most up-to-date information on this conflict, I encourage people to visit Canada’s response to the crisis in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Ted Hsu

MPP, Kingston and the Islands

Update – April 11, 2024

All Parties should obey the Orders of the International Court of Justice

We should all agree that the community of nations needs the rule of law. A tradition of respecting the rule of law benefits every member of the community by allowing us to live together.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) represents the rule of law at the level of the community of nations. It is a ‘principal organ’ of the United Nations and its rulings are final with no possibility of appeal. As such, every member should be expected to respect its directives. Indeed, it is in every member’s long-term interests to do so.

On the matter of the war in Gaza, in January 2024 the ICJ ordered Israel to take ‘all measures within its power’ to prevent genocide in Gaza, and to take ‘immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance’. To carry out these orders clearly implied limitations on the government of Israel’s military activities. In the same order, the ICJ called upon the ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of hostages held by ‘Hamas and other armed groups’.

In March 2024 the ICJ declared that it was ‘necessary to reaffirm’ its January order and underlined the urgency and immediacy of its previous order to Israel, specifying in more detail the actions to be taken in view of worsening and critical conditions for civilians in Gaza. The implication is that actions taken by the government of Israel have not been a sufficient response to its January order. The ICJ also reiterated its call for the release of hostages.

I firmly believe that the government of Israel must abide by the ICJ order and its goal to prevent genocide and allow the provision of basic services and humanitarian relief. Hostages in Gaza must be released, as ordered by the ICJ. This is also necessary for the safety and security of all.

The rule of law is so important that even if a nation’s government would rather not obey an order from the ICJ, doing so is really in its own long-term interests and the interests of the whole community of nations. 

All parties in this war should obey international law and the orders of the ICJ.

The Government of Canada for its part has voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution that calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, It has provided $100m for aid and worked for the immediate release of hostages, the protection of civilians, and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor. It has quoted the ICJ in its February statement, made with Australia and New Zealand:

“An immediate humanitarian ceasefire is urgently needed. Hostages must be released. The need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza has never been greater. Rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian relief must be provided to civilians. The International Court of Justice has been clear: Israel must ensure the delivery of basic services and essential humanitarian assistance and must protect civilians. … We are clear that a sustainable ceasefire is necessary to finding a path towards securing lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Any ceasefire cannot be one sided. Hamas must lay down its arms and release all hostages immediately. We again unequivocally condemn Hamas for its terror attacks on Israel on October 7.”

Ted Hsu

MPP, Kingston and the Islands