(Updated) MC Canada PIN statement on Gaza

Mennonite Church Canada Palestine-Israel Network
Statement on the events of October 7, 2023, and following
Updated November 1, 2023

In the wake of the brutal attack by Hamas militants on Israeli citizens and the resulting overwhelming Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza, we lament the loss of all lives, both Israeli and Palestinian. We condemn all violence—whether committed by Hamas militants or Israeli soldiers. We lament the hatred, the dehumanization, the militarization, and the growing humanitarian catastrophe that we witness unfolding. At the same time, we lament that the current situation has helped stoke attitudes and actions of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab racism around the world and in our local communities in Canada. .

We are shocked, but not entirely surprised, that Hamas chose this moment to launch a devastating attack inside Israel. Gaza has been under an oppressive blockade by Israel for 16 years. Despite years of steadfast nonviolent resistance on the part of Palestinian citizens and Israeli Jewish peace advocates, Israel and the international community have mostly ignored the longstanding humanitarian crisis in Gaza, even though they have had ample opportunity to address it through the application of international law. 

Israeli provocations this year have helped precipitate the current crisis through accelerated settler violence in the occupied West Bank, recent and repeated settler invasions of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound, and expanding settlements in the West Bank.  These have only compounded the effects of Israel's military occupation. At the hands of the Israeli government, Palestinians have endured decades of dispossession of homes and land, flagrant disregard for international law and human rights, refusal of the Right of Return of Refugees of 1948 and 1967 (UN Resolution #194), and strategies of apartheid.  

A just peace will only be achieved when all people – including the Palestinians – are free from oppression. This requires that Israel end its occupation and its repressive policies toward Palestinians.  In order to have peace, we must work for justice for all.  

As Anabaptist-Mennonite Christians whose faith compels us to uphold the dignity and value of human lives regardless of ethnicity and creed, and who are committed to nonviolent paths to peace, we call on our Canadian government to support international efforts to:

  • bring about an immediate ceasefire in Gaza;
  • address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza;
  • stop increased settler violence toward Palestinians in the West Bank;
  • secure the release of all hostages taken by Hamas; and  
  • end the Israeli occupation and blockade of Palestinian territories in compliance with international law.

Note: This statement comes from the regional chairs of the Network’s regional working groups, not necessarily from denominational leadership bodies.