The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) condemns the killings of protesters in Gaza by Israeli Defence Forces. On Monday, 55 protesters were killed, and another 2,271 were injured when the Israeli military used live ammunition on demonstrations near the Gaza-Israel border.

The Palestinian people have lived under a total land, sea and air blockade since 2007, and a military occupation by Israel since 1967. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called their conditions a form of collective punishment, and a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. Living conditions in Gaza are characterized by violence, fear, lack of security, arbitrary arrests, hopelessness, unemployment and the denial of basic services, food, freedom of movement and other essentials.

CUPE and the world have watched in horror over the past seven weeks as excessive violence has been used against Palestinians protesting their oppression and participating in the Great March of Return protests. These protests demand the right of Palestinian refugees and their families to return to the land now called Israel. The decision of US President Donald Trump, to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the ancient city as the capital of Israel, inflamed the protests and the violence. Jerusalem has always been highly disputed and central to the peace process. The move was criticized by the international community as destabilizing and undermining any chance of peace.

We are disappointed that the Liberal government has refused to condemn Trump’s decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem and demand that the Prime Minister condemn this violence as a clear violation of international law and human rights and to call for an independent investigation into the actions of the government of Israel.