Founded in 1985, the Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians (APAC) “organise[s] educational, cultural and community events and programs for the Palestinian community” and “also plays a role as an advocacy group for Palestinians living in Canada.”
On October 7, 2023, the day Hamas and the Islamic Jihad launched an attack on Israel, APAC issued the following statement:
APAC Statement on the Current Situation in Palestine and Israel
The Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians (APAC) is deeply concerned with the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel and stands in solidarity with all Palestinians in advocating for their human rights. We condemn statements reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself and view statements of this nature as one-sided and irresponsible. Such statements perpetuate an ongoing and harmful pattern of complete disregard to the core issues that have created the conditions which led to this violence.
APAC affirms that the death of civilians is never acceptable. However, the violence we are seeing today is sadly what Palestinians experience on a daily basis, whether it be through Israel’s crushing illegal blockade of Gaza, persistent settler attacks on Palestinian civilians, or Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.
Today’s violence is a reminder of the consequences of a 75 year long unchecked occupation, continued expansion of illegal settlements, continued denial of Palestinians’ fundamental human rights, a brutal blockade, and an unrelenting system of apartheid.
In the immediate term, we call on the Government of Canada, in partnership with the international community, to exercise all diplomatic efforts to: • de-escalate the situation; • demand that Israel exercise restraint; and • remind Israel of its legal duties under international law as an occupying power to protect those living under its brutal occupation.
Furthermore, we call on the Government of Canada to refrain from issuing provocative statements affirming Israel’s unequivocal right to defend itself. Courage is required to recognize that the international community’s pattern of reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself has not contributed to improving the prospects for peace and only serves to provide Israel with the diplomatic cover to undertake heinous acts of violence against the Palestinian people.
Lastly, we call on the Government of Canada, in partnership with the international community, to make resolving the Israel-Palestine issue a top international priority. Peace in the region remains elusive in part due to the international community’s refusal to make sincere efforts to address root causes and its failure to hold Israel accountable for its flagrant violation of international law.
A solution can only be achieved with the full participation of the Palestinian people and through the upholding and equal application of international law and an end to the occupation. In the absence of this, we will remain trapped in this ongoing cycle of violence as the desire for freedom, and efforts to resist the denial of this freedom, should never be underestimated.
Board Of Directors Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians (APAC)
Excerpts from a report published by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (updated on November 16, 2023):
On Saturday 7 October 2023, the religious holiday of Simhat Torah, in an act of war, approximately two thousand terrorists from the Gaza Strip infiltrated Israel by land, sea and air at several locations and advanced towards Israeli communities and population centers. This was carried out in conjunction with indiscriminate rocket fire targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.
The terrorists penetrated several southern settlements and began a murderous killing spree of families and individuals in their homes, in the streets and at a music festival that was being held in the area. The terrorists rampaged throughout the region for many hours, during which time they committed atrocities on a scale that have not been seen since the events of the ISIS massacre in Sinjar in 2014.
The evidence found on the ground, the documentation caught on camera by the terrorists themselves and by security cameras, survivors and other sources, as well as survivors’ testimonies, document a horrendous story of attackers devoid of any shred of humanity. Families were slaughtered in their beds, women were viciously raped, and innocent civilians were maimed, killed and in some instances beheaded. In addition, civilians were burnt alive, babies were butchered, and hundreds of men and women were viciously gunned down while simply dancing at a music festival. Upon their return to the Gaza Strip, the terrorists abducted everyone they happened upon – with an emphasis on families, women and children.
Over two hundred Israeli citizens have been abducted and are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including small children, women and the elderly. Many of the abductees were injured by Hamas terrorists, many of them need medical treatment and medication, and the condition of many of the abductees is unknown. This is a serious humanitarian crisis and a very fundamental violation of international law, and Israel expects the international community to act in every possible way to protect the rights of the abductees, to ensure proper medical treatment and to provide humanitarian aid to the abductees and their families..
Over the past few days, anti-tank missiles and mortar shells were fired from Lebanese territory at IDF positions on the Lebanese border while terrorists, under the auspices of Hezbollah, attempted to infiltrate Israel.
This means that Israel is at war against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Israel security forces are determined to protect the citizens of Israel on all fronts. The IDF will protect the residents of the State of Israel; the Hamas terror organization and all the terrorists involved in harming the citizens of Israel will pay a very heavy price.
The displacement of tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes in the communities around the Gaza Strip in the wake of the terrorist attack that destroyed their homes and the ongoing rocket fire, and from the northern border communities following the ongoing attacks by Hezbollah on border villages, is posing a significant challenge to Israel. This displacement has intensified the challenging situation in which the survivors of the Hamas massacre in the villages and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip find themselves.
Iran bears direct responsibility for the capabilities of its proxies in the region and therefore also for the use they make of these capabilities.
Additionally, Iran promotes attacks on Israel form other fronts – Lebanon and Syria to the north, using Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, and from the south using the Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen. This is reflected in the firing of missiles, rockets and mortar shells from the north and the launching of missiles and UAVs towards Israel from the south.
Israel has no wish to expand the fighting into other regions but is ready for such developments and will retaliate fiercely and forcefully. The expansion of the arena of fighting against Israel will be met with a particularly harsh response.
In the aftermath of these events, the extent of Israeli casualties was found to be staggering. The casualty toll in Israel currently stands at approximately 1,400 people murdered and 7,262 wounded. About 239 abductees are being held in the Gaza Strip. There are 287 foreign nationals among the murdered people, as well as 15 among the missing and 120 abducted (including holders of dual citizenship). 34 children – 10 of whom are under the age of 5 – as well as 18 elderly people over 75 are among the abducted.
Over 9,500 missiles and rockets have been fired towards Israel so far. Over 1,000 rockets launched from Gaza have fallen inside the Gaza Strip, often resulting in injuries to Gazan residents and infrastructure – including hospitals and schools.
- Hamas is holding approximately 239 abductees captive in complete denial of their rights and in violation of international law.
- Israel demands that the Red Cross be permitted to visit abductees and supply medicine and medical treatment and expects the Red Cross and the international community to take measures to ensure their safety and to work for their release.
- Approximately 250 thousand Israelis have so far been displaced from their homes in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip and the northern border and dispersed in various shelters throughout Israel.
IDF forces are operating currently at Shifa Hospital (Wednesday, 15 November), following an early warning that was given to the hospital’s administration. The forces have provided humanitarian equipment, including medicines, baby food and other supplies to the hospital. The forces are accompanied by Arabic-speaking soldiers and medical staff, to ensure the supplies reach their proper destination.
Labour4Palestine, a pan-Canadian network of labour activists, states a day after the Hamas attack on Israel: “We commend Palestinians for their heroic resistance”