We have been hearing from our members and Vancouver residents of all faiths and backgrounds about how the conflict is impacting their lives locally. We wish to express our alarm in the surge of anti-Semitic, anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic hate incidents in Vancouver and stand in solidarity with all of those affected.
OneCity believes that healthy cities form the foundation of healthy lives. We believe that the homes where we live, the schools where we learn, and the streets and public spaces where we gather are necessary for a dignified life grounded in universal principles of human rights. We believe those rights extend to the right of children to grow up, learn, and play in cities and schools that are safe, within supportive and inter-connected communities.
Sadly, violations of these very rights are happening on a massive scale in Gaza.
We mourn the deaths of all Palestinians and Israelis killed in this conflict, and our hearts are with their families. We condemn the Hamas attacks on Oct 7th that resulted in 1,200 Israelis killed. We condemn the collective punishment to which millions of Palestinians are being currently subjected by the Israeli government. As of the time of this writing, over 100,000 people in Gaza have been killed, are wounded or missing since October 7th - many of whom are children. The World Health Organization says that it expects the number of deaths from disease to eventually outstrip those killed directly by military action. Over half a million Gazans are facing “catastrophic hunger”, according to several United Nations organizations.
Israeli forces have also destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of schools have been destroyed or damaged. All 12 Gaza universities are either destroyed or damaged and are closed. Israeli forces have devastated libraries, including the main library in Gaza City. Cultural landmarks including the Grand Omari Mosque and St. Porphyrius, one of the oldest churches in the world, along with museums and cemeteries have been hit.
We know that infrastructure, while crucial, is secondary to the protection of life. But we also know that the destruction of people’s homes, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and cultural sites goes hand in hand with the destruction of their very humanity.
Given the above, OneCity joins the growing call for:
- An immediate and permanent ceasefire in Palestine and Israel
- The release of all Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners
- Unfettered humanitarian access to be guaranteed for the people of Gaza
- The Canadian government to support the International Court of Justice’s orders for provisional measures, including the prevention of genocide
- Canada to immediately restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
We have been hearing from our members and Vancouver residents of all faiths and backgrounds about how the conflict is impacting their lives locally. We wish to express our alarm in the surge of anti-Semitic, anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic hate incidents in Vancouver and stand in solidarity with all of those affected. Racism and discrimination in all of its forms is inexcusable and should be condemned. Every Vancouverite, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, or place of origin, deserves to have their rights protected and to feel safe and included within their community. We also stand in solidarity with Vancouverites whose family members and friends are caught in the bloodshed in Palestine and Israel.
In this devastating time, we take much solace in knowing that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are making their voices heard in various ways - to register their deep opposition to collective punishment and war crimes, and unwavering support for justice and a universal humanity.
They are saying: everyone deserves to live in dignity and peace. We stand with them.
OneCity Organizing Committee
February 6, 2024