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Liberal government MPs are calling for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, with Sameer Zuberi, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Diversity, decrying what he called “butchery” taking place in the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Zuberi, his voice choked with emotion, told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday that Canadians need to reflect on how many people have been killed in Gaza. The Palestinian enclave has been under siege in the days since Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, launched an attack that the Israeli government says has resulted in more than 1,400 deaths in Israel. Palestinian officials say almost 3,500 have died in Gaza during retaliatory Israeli air strikes.

The Israeli bombardment of Gaza, Mr. Zuberi said, is “falling on innocent children, adults, seniors.”

“We have to see that this stops,” he said, adding that Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel was an “abhorrent” act and the cause of the current crisis.

Asked if he was saying that Israel had bombed Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital on Tuesday, as the strip’s Hamas-controlled government has alleged, Mr. Zuberi said no.

“I am not saying that attack,” he said. “But here have been 20 hospitals that have been hit during … this war. Butchery is what it is.”

It’s not clear which 20 hospitals he was referring to. The World Health Organization recently publicly condemned what it called Israel’s orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals in northern Gaza.

The Israeli government has said its own investigation has concluded that a misfired rocket from Islamic Jihad, another militant group active in Gaza, was responsible for the explosion at Al-Ahli.

Speaking to The Globe and Mail later, Mr. Zuberi, who is the MP for the Montreal riding of Pierrefonds – Dollard, said he is calling for a ceasefire. Citing his time in the Canadian Armed Forces reserves, he said he would have refused to fire missiles if he knew they would land on civilians.

“If I was behind an artillery cannon and I knew this would fall on hospitals and schools, I would not push that trigger,” he said.

Another Liberal MP, Shafqat Ali, who represents the Toronto-area riding of Brampton Centre, told reporters “a ceasefire must be called.” He said the hospital bombing was heartbreaking. “International laws are not being respected by anyone, whether it’s Hamas, whether it’s other parties,” he said. He confirmed that by “other parties” he meant Israel.

Mr. Zuberi asked reporters how Canadians would react if people were killed here. “Understand the numbers that we’re dealing with: one out of 500 people,” he said, in reference to the population of Gaza. “When are we going to stop this? Look at the House of Commons: if you had one member killed in this chamber, how would this chamber, this country, react?”

Asked by reporters whether Israel’s conduct constituted war crimes, he replied: “This is a good question. It should be asked.”

Mr. Zuberi later said he couldn’t answer that question. “These are serious legal questions,” he said. “Questions of law and fact.”

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