Harper continues to take hard line on Gaza - Macleans.ca

Harper continues to take hard line on Gaza

Prime minister calls Hamas a terrorist organization


OTTAWA — An unflinching Prime Minister Stephen Harper doubled down Wednesday with his government’s hard line on Hamas, Russia and Chinese cyberattacks.

Harper reiterated his government’s criticism of Hamas again on Wednesday, saying it is solely responsible for the death and destruction in Gaza following almost a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants.

His remarks, made following a job training announcement in Air Ronge, Sask., came as the United States and the United Nations condemned the shelling of a UN school that was sheltering displaced Palestinians on the Gaza Strip. At least 17 people were killed.

“Obviously no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred,” Harper told reporters.

“That said, we hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated and continue this conflict and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel.”

Some 3,300 Palestinians, including many women and children, were taking refuge in the school building in the Jabalya refugee camp when it came under fire around dawn, said the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The attack prompted the U.S. to condemn the shelling, though it did not single out Israel by name.

“We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza,” the White House added.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called the attack “shameful” and said all available evidence points to Israeli artillery as the cause.

Harper, meantime, suggested Israel has been justified in its actions throughout the conflict, saying that if a terrorist organization were attacking Canadians, there would be a similar response from Canada.

Unprompted, Harper also had harsh words for Russia over the continuing conflict in Ukraine.

“There is zero doubt that those people who are responsible for violence and destabilization in Ukraine are acting as agents of the government of Russia,” he said. “Russia’s conduct in this is unacceptable.”

He added that there’s “no doubt” Russia had a hand in the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet two weeks ago.

“There is no credible evidence to suggest that the crime involved, and I use the term crime, in shooting down that civilian Malaysian airliner — no doubt, based on everything we know — that it was perpetrated by the agents that Russia has armed.”

Harper also took aim at China, saying once again that there was “no doubt” that the Chinese were behind the cyberattacks on Canada’s federal scientific research agency.

Earlier this week, the federal government’s chief information officer, Corinne Charette, said the National Research Council was the target of a cyberattack from a “highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor.”

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa denied being involved in any such attack. But Harper is apparently not buying it.

“We have obviously experts in the cyber-security field that are monitoring this very closely,” he said.

“It’s an ongoing battle. They tell me there is no doubt as to the source of this particular attack, and this obviously is being taken up with the government of China at the highest level.”

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Harper continues to take hard line on Gaza

  1. Hmm…UN schools. That sounds vaguely familiar. Has anything else been happening in those schools as part of this conflict? A reputable wire service might have included that as context.

    Anything? Anything at all?

    • John,
      I sense you may have a little trouble perceiving basic norms of human decency.
      Let me help you.
      It is not OK to slaughter unarmed men, women and children simply because they’re taking shelter in building which contains a cache of rockets, never mind slaughtering unarmed men, women and children because they’re taking shelter in a building that is similar to another one that had such a cache.

      • …assuming, of course, that there wasn’t a mix-up and the wrong school was fired upon. Things happen in war. And Hamas HAS been using civilians as shields…

        If the Israelis targeted that school knowing it was a UN shelter, then shame on them. But if Hamas is going to hide their caches in UN facilities and in places where civilians are seeking shelter, then they have to share the blame, as they are the ones painting the targets on civilians’ backs.

      • I’ll take no lessons in “basic norms of human decency” from you.

        * Hamas hides their rockets in schools.
        * They set up operational bases in hospitals.
        * They launch their rockets from civilian neighborhoods.
        * They demand their people ignore leaflets warning of impending attack and that civilians should put themselves in harm’s way.

        You defend this? Fine. Be my guest. But take your lessons on “basic norms of human decency” elsewhere.

        • “You defend this?”

          You’re projecting, John. I don’t defend the slaughter of civilians or the use of them by military forces – that’d be you.
          But knowing how you like “context”, John, I can’t help but wonder why you don’t mention that the rockets were found in an unoccupied UN school, not a school being used as a shelter by civilians?

  2. Advocating genocide is a criminal offence Mr Harper.

    • Yes it is.
      Israelis have no business being there.

      And Palestinians aren’t going to give up their land no matter what.

      Anymore than we would.