Jewish-Canadian Women Occupy Israeli Consulate

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Written by Andrew Garvie

On the morning of January 7th, eight Jewish-Canadian Women entered the Israeli consulate in Toronto and refused to leave by staging a sit-in protest. A press release by the group stated that the occupation was "in solidarity with the 1.5 million people of Gaza and to ensure that Jewish voices against the massacre in Gaza are being heard".

Heavy bombardment of Gaza, the world's most densely populated area, began on December 27th, 2008, and was followed by a ground invasion on January 3rd, 2009. Current estimates of the dead in Gaza are 763 people (230 of those being children and 100 women) as well as over 3000 injuries. Israel has denied claims from the UN that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Israel has attempted to justify the military action by pointing to rocket attacks, originating in Gaza, that have killed 4 Israeli civilians. They view Hamas as a terrorist group that needs to be neutralized for the security of Israelis. Critics argue that little is said about Hamas being the democratically-elected government of the strip as well as the fact that the Hamas rocket attacks were preceded by an 18 month siege that has denied Palestinian civilians humanitarian aid. The Harper government has been noticeably quiet, refusing to condemn Israel's actions.

The women that took part in the occupation of the consulate were removed by police after a few hours but were released without charges. Another mass protest was held in Toronto last Saturday (Jan 3rd) which drew 10 000 vocal demonstrators. Palestinian rights groups vow to continue to build public pressure as there is no end to the fighting in sight. A protest is planned for this Saturday (Jan 10th) outside the Israeli consulate (180 Bloor St W).

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