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Liberal MPs remain split on genocide case as UN orders Israel to protect Palestinians

OTTAWA — Liberal MPs are split on how Canada should respond to the International Court of Justice case on whether Israel is committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The United Nations’ top court opted today to continue looking into the case and demanded Israel try to limit death and damage in its military offensive.

South Africa brought the case, asking for a ceasefire, but the judges are instead ordering six provisional measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not comment when reporters asked for his response as he entered a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill this morning.

Liberal MP Salma Zahid says she’ll read the interim ruling but says Canada must abide by whatever the court orders and convene other countries to help respond to the humanitarian plight.

Her colleague Anthony Housefather says he finds the case baseless and insulting, and argued the court is using a low bar in deciding whether there’s a possible case of genocide.

The issue has split the Liberal caucus and Trudeau has refused calls from Jewish and Muslim groups in Canada to stake out a clear position as other world leaders have. 

He has said Canada doesn’t necessarily agree with the premise of South Africa’s case, but hasn’t said whether he rejects the application nor whether Canada will abide by whatever ruling the court makes.

The South African and Palestinian envoys will hold a press conference later today.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2024.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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