"All innocent life is equal in worth, Israeli and Palestinian. I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says as he comments on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) November 14, 2023
Canadians are divided on PM Trudeau's latest take on the situation in Gaza —calling on Israel to practise “maximum restraint” to minimize civilian casualties as the war against Hamas rages on.
Trudeau used his press address Tuesday afternoon to draw attention to Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, where the Israeli military carried out a raid on Wednesday against Hamas militants.
“The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al Shifa Hospital,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau went on to add that the price of justice “cannot be the continued suffering” of all Palestinian civilians.
“Even wars have rules. All innocent life is equal in worth. Israeli and Palestinian.”
“I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint,” the prime minister said.
Canadians welcome Trudeau's latest, more pressing remarks
Trudeau’s recent comments were welcomed by many Canadians who had been urging the prime minister to call for a ceasefire — a word he has yet to use —to ease the loss of life of civilians caught in the war.
While not a direct call to Israel for a ceasefire, Trudeau seems to be inching closer to what Canadians want him to deliver on.
“I have been highly critical of Trudeau on many issues, using expletives on occasion, but I will give him his due as I agree with him on this point. The artificial Zionist state of Israel is not defending itself, they are not attempting to surgically remove or capture suspected Hamas members, they are conducting immoral and extremely disproportionate offensive murderous and genocidal actions; committing heinous war crimes against the Palestinian people and they MUST be stopped!” replied a user on X, formerly known as Twitter, to Trudeau’s clip shared by CPAC.
“I feel like any decent human being, and I consider him one, should’ve had this opinion from the start. I’m glad this was said in a very public way, but curious what took so long?” questioned another.
Hats off to this fine fine man for having the courage to speak the truth in a world where most have sold their souls to the devil!
Yes Palestinians lives as important as Israeli lives (unless we are creation of multiple Gods?)
And yes the world is watching very closely….
— Shaz (@lahori_shaz) November 15, 2023
While many Canadians welcomed Trudeau's push for "maximum restraint" by Israel in the Gaza Strip, some others wondered if the prime minister is a little too late.
A bit too late after 12,000 civilians including 7000 KIDS. #DismantleIsrael
— Peace around globe (@PeacenMEast) November 15, 2023
I'm a pro Liberal, but this statement of our PM Trudeau is ridiculous. You are damn right is too late. PM Trudeau with the allies enabled and encouraged the criminal Netanyahu to do this abusive killing of civilians and with our damn bombs !
— Stefie O (@stefieouellet) November 15, 2023
Speaking on whether Trudeau could have called for exercising "maximum restraint" sooner, Canadian government and politics expert Nelson Wiseman told Yahoo News Canada the prime minister's position on the issue remains constant with that of Canada's allies, therefore, if there is a change in his position that means overall there has been a slight shift in reactions owing to the tragic news coming out of Gaza daily.
The Canadian position will continue to be in line with that of its allies. The Canadian position has shifted for the same reason the American position has shifted. Biden called for a humanitarian pause and then followed Trudeau. The call for a ceasefire, too, is likely to follow the same pattern.Nelson Wiseman, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto
Benjamin Netanyahu hits back at Trudeau with a rebuttal that shifts blame to Hamas
A few hours later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Trudeau’s calls for “maximum restraint” in a lengthy post on X, saying “Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way” and Hamas should be held accountable.
“It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust,” Netanyahu posted on X while tagging the Canadian prime minister’s handle.
“It is Hamas not Israel that should be held accountable for committing a double war crime - targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians.”
Netanyahu continued explaining how Israel accommodates Palestinian civilians by providing them humanitarian corridors and safe zones in Gaza, however, interference by Hamas proves to be detrimental, putting civilians in danger.
“While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,” Netanyahu wrote on X.
It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust.
While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing…
— Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) November 15, 2023
Trudeau's critics applaud Netanyahu's reply to Trudeau
Netanyahu’s response to Trudeau led to a flurry of reactions from the PM's critics and Canadian supporters of Israel who did not appreciate their prime minister’s recent calls for “maximum restraint” by Israel.
“Trudeau is such an embarrassment.
Thank you for calling out our terrorist-sympathizing Prime Minister,
@netanyahu,” posted @BillboardChris on X.
“Justin Trudeau, who is heading the most corrupt government in Canada's history, is just pandering for voted. We have terrorists waving flags rallies, Jewish schools shot at to his silence, and won't designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization,” wrote policy commentator Kirk Lubimov.
He just doesn't get it, that no one anywhere gives a shit what he thinks. Nothing he has said or done has contributed to the greater good anywhere, least of all Canada. @JustinTrudeau remember you don't even get to sit at the big boys' table.
— Patricia Koblizek (@patriciakob) November 15, 2023
Joining the criticism was @HanyaToderoff, who thanked the Israeli PM for “setting Trudeau straight,” while sharing the screenshot of a poll suggesting widespread dissatisfaction with Justin Trudeau' government.
🇮🇱 Thank you for setting Trudeau straight. He often gets the facts wrong depending on the kickbacks or the vote bank dips. We apologize on behalf of Canada. pic.twitter.com/uoCm5WHlrj
— ♠️ ACE of Spades™ (@HanyaToderoff) November 15, 2023
Many Canadians unsatisfied with Trudeau, demand call for ceasefire
A Leger poll for the Canadian Press suggests that almost two in three Canadians have a negative impression of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and half want him to resign before the next election due to dissatisfaction over affordability, housing, health care and public debt.
Additionally, one in five people surveyed said they want him to resign just because they are “tired of him.”
This comes as Trudeau's approval rating continues to take massive hits in comparison to Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre who is gaining more ground by the day discussing issues like axing the carbon tax, Canada's position on Israel's war with Hamas and unaffordable housing across major cities.
Trudeau faces a strong challenge as he attempts to tackle it all, as the situation in Gaza causes further divide among Canadians.
With his recent remarks, Trudeau might be hinting at the possibility of calls for a ceasefire as the next step if Israel does not show restraint.
However, Canadians, especially the National Council of Canadian Muslims, demand a clearer and just response to reinforce Canada's stance.