Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated his government’s criticism of Hamas on Wednesday, saying it is solely responsible for the death and destruction in Gaza following almost a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants.
Harper’s remarks, made following a job-training announcement in Air Ronge, Sask., came as the United States and the United Nations condemned the shelling of a UN school that was sheltering displaced Palestinians on the Gaza Strip. At least 17 people were killed.
“Obviously no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred,” Harper told reporters. “That said, we hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated and continue this conflict and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel.”
The attack prompted the U.S. to condemn the shelling, though it did not single out Israel by name.
“We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza,” the White House added.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called the attack “shameful” and said all available evidence points to Israeli artillery as the cause.
Harper, meantime, suggested Israel has been justified in its actions throughout the conflict, saying that if a terrorist organization were attacking Canadians, there would be a similar response from Canada.