January 20, 2024

A Cry for Humanity: Palestinians in the GTA Appeal to the Canadian Government to Expedite Family Reunification with Gaza

The heart-wrenching conflict between Israel and Hamas has taken a devastating toll on Gaza, with more than 4,300 lives lost, leaving the enclave's 2.3 million people in dire need of assistance. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a community of Palestinians, with hope and desperation, is turning to the Canadian government for support. They are appealing for the creation of a humanitarian pathway, which would allow their family members in Gaza to escape the horrors of war and find refuge in Canada. This article delves into their plea, the urgency of the situation, and the potential solutions.

A Cry for Humanity

Milton local and permanent resident, Abdallah Alhamadni, is among those leading this plea. He and his fellow Palestinians in the GTA understand the complexities of immigration policies but believe that the dire circumstances in Gaza warrant an exception. Alhamadni expresses hope in the Canadian government's reputation for extending a helping hand to those in need during crises worldwide. He says, "We would like to be treated the same."

The Gaza Crisis

The crisis in Gaza is of unimaginable proportions. Israel's siege of Gaza, initiated in response to a cross-border attack by Hamas militants, has led to the depletion of essential resources. People are running out of food, water, medicine, and fuel, while humanitarian aid struggles to reach the most affected areas.

The ongoing violence has resulted in a high casualty count, with Gaza bearing the brunt of Israel's bombings. The Israeli government reports over 1,400 people were killed during the conflict. On the Palestinian side, the Gaza Health Ministry reports that 4,385 Palestinian civilians have been killed of which 1756 were children, with 13,561 people wounded. This stark discrepancy highlights the urgent humanitarian crisis demanding immediate attention.

Families Torn Apart

Ahmad Abualjedian from Brantford, Ontario, is just one example of the heart-wrenching stories that have emerged from this tragedy. His wife is still in Gaza, and she is expected to give birth under incredibly dire circumstances. Abualjedian has already lost family members to violence, and the fear of losing more is a heavy burden he carries. He pleads, "People just live there; they have nothing to do with anything. I lost my sister. Should I lose more to convince ... humanity to help us?"

The Call for Action

While these families await a response from the Canadian government, they understand that time is of the essence. They hope that the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will consider creating a special humanitarian pathway, similar to those established for individuals fleeing violence in other parts of the world, such as Syria and Ukraine. Such an initiative could be a lifeline for many families.

A History of Compassion

Immigration lawyer Maureen Silcoff points out that the Canadian government has a history of creating special policies to expedite immigration for those facing dire circumstances. "We've seen numerous public policies that are being created for Ukraine, for Afghanistan, for Sudan, for Hong Kong, for a whole host of situations," she notes. The government has the power to make these crucial decisions.

A Glimpse of Hope

The Palestinian community in the GTA is holding on to a glimmer of hope in these dark times. They understand that the government's decision may not come easily, but they are driven by a profound sense of urgency. As Abdallah Alhamadni puts it, "We can't continue our life, and we feel we are like broken into two parts. We're trying to raise our voice."

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