Pax Christi Toronto supports Gaza Starving Campaign

The Campaign, Gaza Starving began in the fall of 2023 on a small scale, but has quickly grown into a nation-wide campaign. Moved by the growing starvation among Palestinian people in Gaza, Canadians felt they must put their bodies on the line in a “Hunger Strike for Gaza” to gain Government attention.

This Hunger Strike was further highlighted by a National Day of Hunger Strike, and a Press Conference on January 18,
2024 close to the office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland. Sr.Mary-Ellen Francoeur of Pax Christi Toronto was present at the Press Conference, and joined aWalk over to the office of Minister Freeland to present a letter indicating the demands of the Government by the Hunger Strikers. Pax Christi Toronto was one of the groups supporting thisNational Day of Hunger Strike.

The demands of the Hunger Strike are:

1) The Canadian Government call for an immediate and enduring Ceasefire to bring an end
to the violent destruction and killing, to allow for the flow of humanitarian aid to the
people of Gaza, and to release Israeli hostages.

2) The Canadian Government call for an embargo on all sale of arms to Israel and to the
U.S. with the eventual destination being Israel. Existing contracts of the Government
could be immediately dissolved. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly can use the power
of her legal authority to stop exporting weapons to Israel on human rights grounds. This
act has been used in the past both with Israel and Turkey when the Government did not
agree with unjust military activities of those countries. It would not be setting a precedent to do so now.

At the Press Conference, facilitated by Nadine Nasir, a Palestinian woman and one of the key
organizers of the Hunger Stike movement, introduced three speakers:
Dr. Michael Fakhri, United Nations Rapporteur on the Right to Food
Dr. Tarek Loubani, Emergency physician who works in London, Ontario and has worked in Gaza
for over a decade
Rachel Small, Canada Organizer for WORLD BEYOND WAR and member of Jews Say No to

Dr. Michael Fakhri stated, “Currently every single person on Gaza is hungry, a quarter of the
population are starving and struggling for food and drinkable water, and famine is
imminent….We have never seen an entire civilian population made to go hungry this completely and quickly. Israel is destroying Gaza’s food system and using food as a weapon against the Palestinian people.”

Dr Loubani brought the desperation alive by describing the situation of physicians, hungry
themselves, and worrying about the vulnerability of their own loved ones, still working
overtime to save the lives of people in totally inadequate conditions.

Rachel Small stated “Without the support of weapons exported from Canada, the U.S., and
Europe, Israel could not carry out this carnage in Gaza.”

Nadine Nasir added, “It’s appalling that so many Canadians feel like they have no other option
but to go on a hunger strike to convince our government to stop supporting a genocide…..While
Palestinians continue to be bombed and starved, Canadians will not stop hunger striking until
our government stops all weapons exports to Israel.”

Canadian arms sales to Israel were described by these presenters. They pointed out that in
2022, Canada sent over $21 million of military goods directly to Israel, including $3 million in
bombs, torpedoes, missiles and other explosives. These figures exclude the military
components to the U.S. by dozens of companies across Canada before being supplied to the
Israeli military, including Canadian-made components integrated into the Israeli F-351 Fighter
Jet which is routinely used in the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

Participation by Federal Politicians: We learned that Federal Politicians are supporting this
Campaign and joining in the Hunger Strike: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, NDP MP Niki
Ashton, and NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice.

All who wish to join in this Action with Pax Christi Toronto, and hundreds of other Canadians,
can go to the website given at the beginning of this posting. They will be led to a form where
persons can sign up for the days they are ready to fast. It is emphasized that persons can fast
respecting their health needs. On the days of fast, people are asked to write a personal letter
to Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, and Minister of Small
Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade, Mary Ng, expressing one’s reason for
fasting, and one’s demands of the Government.

We can hope and pray that the fact that we are ready to give of our bodies to bring an end to
the starvation in Gaza, will push the Canadian Government to put an Embargo on the sale of
Canadian arms and parts to Israel, this removing our complicity in the violence and resulting starvation.