Dotan Rousso

Open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his call for an immediate long-lasting ceasefire in Gaza

Prime Minister,

On October 7th, the nation of Israel experienced its most horrific event since its establishment in 1948. That morning, about 3000 Hamas activists and supporters broke the fence and stormed the nearby villages and towns, raping many and massacring 1200 people, including babies, children, and seniors.

Hamas did not try to hide its actions. Instead, it wanted us all to see it. The terrorists took an endless number of photos and videos of their sadistic actions and shared them with the whole world, some in real-time. But this wasn’t all. During and after their unimaginable cruel attacks, they kidnapped 240 people of all ages, including 90-year-old holocaust survivors and dozens of toddlers as hostages. Out of this group, there were also toddlers and little children who were taken hostage right after brutally murdering their parents.

To this moment, there are still 129 hostages, including women and children who are held as prisoners.

To get an idea of the scale of this event, per capita, it is equal to the massacre of 50,000 Americans and taking 8500 hostages, or for that matter 4800 Canadians and 1000 hostages (including babies and children). All in just one day (!)

As hard as it is to believe, while the mass rape, slaughter, and kidnapping took place by a few thousand, it was celebrated all over Gaza by much of the population. The people in Gaza were filming themselves celebrating the events, providing sweets to one another, and posting their satisfaction and gratitude to those who committed the atrocities.

However, as you surely know Prime Minister, this wasn’t planned to be a one-time event. As the Hamas spokesman declared, October 7th was just the first, and there will be “the second the third, and the million”.

Despite this, your government, under your leadership, is constantly demanding Israel end the war immediately, calling for a “sustainable ceasefire”, knowing very clearly this means: a call for an immediate end of the war, while allowing Hamas to keep the hostages and remain in power and continue practicing its murderess ideology against Jews.

Prime Minister, as it is well known, apart from the humanitarian cause, the common arguments, that align with your call for the end of the war now are mainly these two:

One, that Israel is occupying Palestinian land and Hamas is a resistance movement fighting against its occupier (some would even go as far as arguing that Israel, as an occupier force, bears responsibility for the October 7th events);  and the second, that even if Israel has the right to defend itself, its actions in Gaza are “nonproportional” and must be stopped, regardless of any other consideration.

As to the first argument: let me state what you, the prime minister know very well: Hamas and the population that supports it state clearly that the only “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they will accept must be the elimination of the state of Israel. Hamas’ original charter states that it is the religious obligation of any Muslim to kill any Jew he encounters (in Israel or outside of it). So, this is not about occupation. It is about an ideology that sees its goal in the killing of any Jew, just as was carried out in the recent events.

As for the second argument, one may ask what would be considered a “proportional response” to an event of such an unprecedented terror attack on civilians and holding babies and 90-year-olds as hostages. What country in the world would allow such a terrorist organization to remain in power and threaten its population with similar massacres? Would you, Prime Minister Trudeau, allow that if Canada was facing such a massacre and constant threat right on its border?

The death of any civilian, and children in particular (although mostly due to Hamas using them as human shields), is a tragedy, and Israel is doing more than any other army in the world did or would do under similar circumstances to reduce the number of innocent casualties (as I am sure I do not need to remind you, Prime Minister,  the 210,000 civilians who were indiscriminately killed in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic attack, 200,000 civilian Iraqis during the Iraqi war, the  50,000 Afghan civilians – in a war that Canda took part in, and the list goes on and on).

Given all this, Israel could not and would not end this war without achieving its most justifiable right to defend itself. No responsible democratic government would. Not even you, Prime Minister.

As a Canadian citizen and a Jew who was born and raised in Israel, I would expect my Prime Minister to be honest with himself, with his government, and with his people. Even when this requires a firm stand in the face of popular criticism. Unfortunately, your call for an immediate long-lasting ceasefire fails to do so.

About the Author
Dotan Rousso, Holds a Ph.D. in Law—a former criminal prosecutor in Israel. He currently lives in Alberta and teaches Philosophy at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
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