Foreign Affairs Minister Baird under fire for Hamas comments

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Foreign Minister John Baird. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has come under fire from Human Rights Watch over comments that “Hamas will be solely to blame for any further loss of life” after a Gaza ceasefire quickly unravelled Friday. In a statement , Mr. Baird said Hamas had violated the ceasefire and that Israel was forced to defend itself. “Hamas has lost all credibility, and we must continue to work to isolate this terrorist organization that values death over peace,” Mr. Baird said.

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Human Rights Watch issued its own statement, saying Mr. Baird’s comments amounted to a “green light for more unlawful Israeli attacks that kill civilians.”

“If Hamas broke the ceasefire, it does not make it responsible for more Israeli attacks that hit schools and hospitals, or kill children on a beach,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch. “If Canada is so concerned about reaching peace, it should pressure all parties to abide by the laws of war, and demand justice for the horrible abuses that have taken place.”

Mr. Baird added that “Canada mourns the loss of life in Gaza and Israel and hopes that Palestinians and Israelis will one day soon realize true peace and security.”

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