NDP's Youth Wing Chides Mulcair For Not Condemning Israeli Attacks In Gaza

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MULCAIR GAZA
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and a Palestinian child wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya on July 24, 2014. | CP

In the latest sign that the NDP is at odds with itself over Gaza, the party's youth wing has called out Thomas Mulcair for not criticizing Israeli attacks.

In an editorial published on Rabble, NDP Youth says "it's time to call a spade a spade" on Gaza.

"For us, the past 21 days have been deeply disheartening, as we now see that we are also destined to inherit a more violent world.

"And it isn't only because Stephen Harper has proven himself (yet again) to be incompetent at representing Canada on the world stage but rather, also due to the hesitation from our Official Opposition when it comes to standing up for New Democratic values on this issue," the editorial reads.

The youth wing suggests that recent statements made by Mulcair do not match the party's official policy, mainly: "respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting peaceful co­existence in viable, independent states with agreed­ upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and an end to violence targeting civilians."

The group says it wants to see an end to the campaign in Gaza and for "Israel to be held accountable for its actions."

In an official statement on the conflict, published on July 22, Mulcair voiced strong support for Israel.

"The firing of rockets by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants at civilian populations is utterly unacceptable. Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization and Israel has the right to defend its citizens from these attacks, while doing its utmost to protect civilians," the statement read.

However, while Mulcair criticized the Conservative government for "saying one side is always right, the other side is always wrong," his own statement does not directly criticize any of Israel's actions in Gaza. Statements from NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar have also stopped short of criticizing Israel, instead calling on the Tory government to support humanitarian relief efforts in the region.

Asked about the youth wing editorial, an NDP source told HuffPost Canada that "Mulcair respects the views of all members of the New Democratic Party and will continue to fight for our party's core objective for peace in the region: a secure State for Palestinians and a secure State for Israelis."

The youth wing's criticism is just the latest indicator of the party's internal struggles over the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

A group of NDP supporters occupied Dewar's office Thursday to voice their frustration at the party for not criticizing Israel. Meanwhile, Deputy NDP Leader Libby Davies has struck a different tone than Mulcair on the conflict, even urging her Facebook followers to sign a petition from fellow MP Alexandre Boulerice that calls for "an end to the occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza."

The NDP has traditionally allied itself more with the Palestinians than Israelis, but has taken a new tack since electing Thomas Mulcair as leader in 2012.

The situation in Gaza deteriorated dramatically on Friday as a ceasefire unravelled less than two hours after it started. At least 62 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting. Another Israeli soldier was feared captured.

The death toll in Gaza since the latest conflict began four weeks ago now stands at more than 1,400 people killed.

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