Monday, January 05, 2009

Canadian War Zone Refugees

Ah yes, here we go again. The CBC reports:

At least 36 of 58 Canadians known to be in the Gaza Strip have asked for assistance to leave the territory as Israel escalated its attack on the Hamas militant group with a ground offensive over the weekend, but the earliest they could leave would be Monday, Israeli officials said.

The Canadian government said Sunday that it asked Israeli authorities Friday to issue the necessary travel permits to allow Canadians to leave Gaza as quickly as possible, the CBC's Nahlah Ayed reported.

But Israeli officials said the request only came Saturday evening, the same night that the ground offensive began, killing 64 Palestinians. At least 512 Palestinians and five Israelis have died since Israel launched its campaign in Gaza on Dec. 27.

Among those who want to leave the territory is Marwan Diab of Calgary, who was visiting Gaza City with his wife and four children. "I want to get them out as soon as possible," he told CBC News. "You cannot imagine the amount of violence that is happening, the magnitude of this wave of violence."

Wafa Zakout, who returned to Gaza City to sell her house and move to Toronto, said she hasn't slept properly for almost a week. "I am so nervous … because of the situation," she said.

I would find it hard to sleep too if I was in Zakout's spot, and before anyone gets their knickers into a knot, I fully believe the Canadian government has an obligation towards any citizen who finds themselves in a war zone…such is the burden of conferring citizenship. One could argue that by deliberately visiting a place like the Gaza Strip on was playing Russian roulette with one’s life, but realisticaly, the Israelis have let the Gaza Strip fester for years before taking a pro-active military stand.

There is a much more interesting scenario to this article which is why I posted it. If the Gaza Strip is the largest open-air prison in the world (a la progressive Palestinian apologistas crowd) – just how is it that others are allowed to visit and leave?

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