Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday urged Israel to stop “this killing of women, of children, of babies” in the Gaza Strip, drawing a rebuke from his Israeli counterpart.
During a news conference, Trudeau lamented the “heart-wrenching” situation in Gaza and said “the price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians.”
“Even wars have rules. All innocent life is equal in worth — Israeli and Palestinian,” he said.
The Canadian premier called on Israel to “exercise maximum restraint” while fighting against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, saying “the world is watching.”
“We’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents,” Trudeau said. “The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies.”
“This has to stop.”
"All innocent life is equal in worth, Israeli and Palestinian. I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says as he comments on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) November 14, 2023
Responding to Trudeau, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “it is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust.”
“While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,” Netanyahu wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Israel provides civilians in Gaza humanitarian corridors and safe zones, Hamas prevents them from leaving at gunpoint.”
“It is Hamas not Israel that should be held accountable for committing a double war crime – targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians.”
Netanyahu also said “the forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating Hamas barbarism.”
Trudeau’s comments echoed remarks made over the weekend by French President Emmanuel Macron, who told the BBC there was “no justification” for Israel’s alleged bombing of “these babies, these ladies, these old people” and said “there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop.” He also reiterated a call for a ceasefire in Gaza — which Israel has rejected as handing victory to the Hamas terror group.
Macron was strongly criticized by Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, with the prime minister saying the French president had “made a serious mistake, factually and morally,” in his allegations against Israel.
“We can do without the moral preaching,” Netanyahu added.
France later sought to mitigate the controversy, with a French diplomatic source telling media that Macron “never implied and does not think that Israeli forces are deliberately targeting civilians. He has been consistently qualifying Hamas’s use of hostages or civilian population as unacceptable blackmail.”
The source reiterated Macron’s condemnation of the October 7 Hamas attack, while also asserting his wish that more be done to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
President Isaac Herzog also said Macron called him to stress he “does not and did not intend to accuse Israel of intentionally harming innocent civilians in the campaign against the terrorist organization Hamas.