From the beginning of the Israel-Palestine war on October 7, 2023, many groups in Toronto have organized huge weekly Rallies to recognize the grave injustices to the people of Gaza, and also the West Bank. Pax Christi Toronto members have been present at very many of them.
In the spirit of Peace and Nonviolence, we in Pax Christi Toronto are not condemning the Israeli people, but are calling out the unjust violence being perpetrated by the present government, and past governments, of Israel, and the longstanding violence of the Occupation of Palestine by the Israeli government. The present war illustrates the many forms of violence:
1) with the Occupation, domination and control of most aspects of the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; the taking over of Palestinian lands by Israeli Settlers, and demolition of the homes of Palestinians deemed to have committed illegal acts; killing; imprisonment of Palestinians without trial; invasion of sacred Palestinian places (mosques); and the blockade of Gaza depriving the people of sufficient basic food, fuel, water, medical aid.
2) during this war, the displacement of thousands of Palestinian people in Gaza and giving them no safe place to be protected from ongoing bombing and killing; bombing and destruction of homes, hospitals, and all essential infrastructure; deprivation of food, fuel, water, and humanitarian assistance including medical needs; destruction of the farms and land of the people of Gaza; allowing the ongoing starvation of the people of Gaza; and in the West Bank, illegal threats and harming of Palestinians; destruction of farms and orchards essential to the lives of Palestinians. Overall, the existence of a progressive genocidal process.
At these Rallies, there are a great variety of groups and individuals represented: Palestinians gratefully able to openly express the injustice towards their people, and their hope for a “free” Palestine; several groups of Jewish people who oppose the Occupation, and what they consider to be genocide in Gaza; Indigenous people seeing a similarity to the injustice they have experienced in Canada; and many Canadian peace and Justice groups protesting killing, deprivation, devastation, imperialism, and genocide.
Pax Christi Toronto joins other peace groups in calling for nonviolence, a just peace, and freedom and security for both Israeli and Palestinian peoples. We join Pope Francis in his view of war as “an aimless voyage, a defeat without victory, an inexcusable folly”.(Christmas Message, 2023). We call for an immediate and enduring Ceasefire to be followed by the long, difficult process of dialogue and healing which can lead to the imagining and creation of a just settlement of conflict and a just peace for both Israel and Palestine.