Canada, Australia, NZ call for immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza; warn Israel assault on Rafah would be 'catastrophic'

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Feb 2024

The prime ministers of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand on Thursday called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and warned Israel against an assault on Rafah, according to a joint statement released on Thursday.

Justin Trudeau, Australia Anthony, Christopher Luxon
Combined images of (from L to R) prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Australia Anthony Albanese and prime minister of New Zealand Christopher Luxon. Photo courtesy of Al-Ahram.

 

The statement comes amid Israel's pronounced plans to carry out a ground invasion of Rafah where 1.5 million Palestinians have taken shelter from mad Israeli bombing all over the Gaza Strip.

"An immediate humanitarian ceasefire is urgently needed. Hostages must be released. The need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza has never been greater. Rapid, safe, and unimpeded humanitarian relief must be provided to civilians. The International Court of Justice has been clear: Israel must ensure the delivery of basic services and essential humanitarian assistance and must protect civilians. The Court's decisions on provisional measures are binding," read the statement.

"We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah. A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic," stressed the statement.

The statement marks a significant shift in the position of the three Western countries who declared their support for Israel's so-called "right to defend itself" in its aggression against Gaza after 7 October and opposed previous attempts to reach a ceasefire in the war.

"Ultimately, a negotiated political solution is needed to achieve lasting peace and security. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand remain steadfast in their commitment to a two-state solution, including the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, where Palestinians and Israelis live side by side in peace, security, and dignity,| added the statement.

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been stalling on agreeing to a lengthy truce and prisoner swap deal with Hamas which is being mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the US.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu unilaterally prevented the heads of Mossad and Shabak from returning to Cairo to talk with Egyptian, Qatari, and US intelligence officials on a truce deal as he continues warmongering with threats to launch a ground assault on Rafah.

Read the full statement here

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