Global News has learned non-essential staff working at Canada’s embassy in Tel Aviv are being directed to leave Israel as security concerns grow, and that some are now doing so, according to a senior government source.
Staff members at the embassy who are deemed essential are staying put.
Family members of diplomatic staff are also directed to leave the country, according to two senior government sources
Global News has been told it is common practice to allow families of diplomatic staff to leave in circumstances like this, and Canada is not alone in letting non-essential staff leave.
The United States Department of State said on Saturday that non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members were given clearance to leave Israel as violence and tensions worsen after the deadly surprise attacks on Oct. 7.
This comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rose in the House of Commons to talk about the ongoing situation in the region. He said as of Monday afternoon, 10 Canadian flights have left Israel with a total of 1,300 Canadians on board and one bus has departed the West Bank for Jordan.
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The prime minister also called on Hamas to release hostages taken following their surprise attack.
“Canada is calling for unimpeded humanitarian access and an unimpeded humanitarian corridor, so that essential aid like food, fuel and water can be delivered to civilians in Gaza,” Trudeau said.
“It is imperative that this happens.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly has said work on establishing a humanitarian corridor into Gaza is a primary focus for Canada.
There are growing fears the violence could spill over around the world.
Rallies have taken place across Canada and in other parts of the world in support of Palestinians in Gaza, who currently have no way out. Trudeau used his address to condemn Hamas, which is a designated terrorist group in Canada, and say it does not represent Palestinians.
“They do not speak for Muslim or Arab communities. And they do not represent the better futures that Palestinians and their children deserve,” Trudeau said.
“The only thing that they stand for is more suffering for Israeli and Palestinian civilians.”
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Trudeau went on to say Canada respects Israel’s right to defend itself but called for that defence to be done in accordance with international law.
Trudeau also said he’s seen rising instances of both antisemitism and Islamophobia and called on Canadians to remember the shared values of inclusive freedom.
“It’s a short path to walk from mistrusting your neighbour to entrenching division. A peaceful society does not happen by accident, and won’t continue without effort,” Trudeau said.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre echoed Trudeau’s stance on Israel having the right to defend itself, and condemning Hamas.
“There will be and there can be no negotiating with Hamas. Hamas can only be destroyed just like President Obama destroyed and assassinated Osama bin Laden,” Poilievre said.
Like Trudeau, Poilievre called on Israel to follow the rules of war amid the humanitarian crisis taking place in Gaza.
“Let it be said that the suffering of the Palestinian people is a tragedy. Every innocent human life, Palestinian or Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or otherwise is of equal precious value,” he said.
NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson spoke on behalf of her party, stressing how organizations like the United Nations view what is happening in Gaza as a “collective punishment.”
“International humanitarian law is the way that previous generations have learned to mitigate the worst of war. It is a very low bar, but this low bar applies to everyone and we are unfortunately watching violations of international law. In Gaza, a siege with no water, no electricity, no food,” she said.
McPherson concluded her remarks calling on the government to call on a cease fire, saying there is no military solution to this conflict, only a political one.
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