Israel-Hamas hostage deal offers hope for longer-term peace in Gaza: Trudeau – National |


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a truce-for-hostages deal between Israel and Hamas might set the groundwork for an eventual end to the fighting.

“This is an important bit of progress, but we have to redouble our efforts now to get toward a lasting peace,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday morning on Parliament Hill.

“This humanitarian pause is what Canada and others have been calling for, for weeks now.”

He was speaking after Egypt and Qatar, along with the United States, helped mediate a deal between Israel and Hamas, in which 50 hostages of Hamas are to be released in stages over four days, in exchange for what Hamas said would be 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The Israeli government said it would extend the truce by an additional day for every 10 hostages released, while Hamas is promising that hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid, including fuel, will be allowed to enter Gaza.

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Global Affairs Canada has said one Canadian is missing, but won’t confirm if that person is being held hostage. The United States said the group of about 240 hostages included American and Canadian citizens in a statement on the weekend.

Trudeau added that the deal loomed large during a call with G20 leaders held Wednesday morning, and he hopes it will allow for more Canadians to leave the Gaza Strip. Six weeks of Israeli airstrikes have destroyed large parts of the Palestinian territory.

“It is going to allow for hostages to finally be liberated; it’s going to allow for significant amounts of humanitarian aid to get in to the civilians and the innocent people in Gaza who desperately need it,” he said.

“It’s going to allow for protecting of civilian life, including hopefully getting even more Canadians and foreign nationals out.”

Click to play video: 'Israel-Hamas deal: 50 hostages in Gaza to be released in exchange for temporary ceasefire'

Israel-Hamas deal: 50 hostages in Gaza to be released in exchange for temporary ceasefire

Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said in a post on X, formally known as Twitter, that he was “very pleased that a deal has been reached” during his visit to Israel this week alongside other Canadian MPs.

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He said he has met with many hostage families in Israel, and he is happy that the deal between Israel and Hamas will lead to the release of 50 hostages and the delivery of significant humanitarian aid to Gaza.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly expressed hope that a deal would allow all foreign nationals in Gaza to get out of the conflict zone, saying that still included roughly 200 people connected to Canada.

No Canadians were among those on Wednesday’s list of foreign nationals approved to cross into Egypt from Gaza.

Joly had said Tuesday that Canada wants “a humanitarian truce, which would lead to a potential ceasefire,” but Trudeau didn’t use the word “ceasefire” in his comments on Wednesday.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called the deal a relief, but said there must be an “immediate and unconditional” release of all hostages.

“Hamas deserves no praise for agreeing to do less than the bare minimum,” the group posted on X.

Click to play video: 'Israel-Hamas deal: Palestinians express mistrust, hope about temporary truce'

Israel-Hamas deal: Palestinians express mistrust, hope about temporary truce

“The Canadian-listed terrorist organization has for weeks been negotiating with innocent Jewish lives, seeking to trade Israeli babies and mothers for Palestinians held on and convicted of terror related offences.”

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The National Council of Canadian Muslims echoed Trudeau’s comments that a temporary pause should lead to a longer peace, and asked Ottawa to take a leadership role.

“Israeli leaders have vowed to keep the war going. Canada now must become a global leader in gathering support among allies and partners for a just peace — an end to violence that works for both Israelis and Palestinians,” the group wrote in a statement.

The council wants Canada to convene international leaders to help broker a permanent ceasefire, stop arms exports to Israel if it vows to continue fighting and “take a clear stance on the rhetoric of ethnic cleansing from extremist leaders” in the Israeli government.

The group’s requests come after Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant declared “we are fighting human animals,” and Israel’s intelligence ministry issued a “concept paper” on the possibility of transferring the 2.3 million people living in Gaza to Egypt or other countries.

The latest Israel-Hamas conflict began after Hamas militants killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7.

Israel launched a retaliation campaign, including airstrikes and a ground offensive, which the health officials in Gaza say has killed more than 12,700 people.

— With files from The Associated Press.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press


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