(Al Jazeera Media Network) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for Israel to stop killing babies, earning a furious response from Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trudeau said on Tuesday that the “killing of women, of children, of babies” in the besieged Gaza Strip must end. Netanyahu pushed back, insisting that Hamas is responsible for civilian deaths as Israeli forces continue to batter the enclave.
“I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint,” Trudeau said. “The world is watching, on TV, on social media – we’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents.
“The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop,” he told a news conference in the province of British Columbia.
In a post on X directed at Trudeau, early on Wednesday, Netanyahu said: “It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust.”
“The forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating Hamas barbarism,” Netanyahu continued.
Canada has maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas after the Palestinian group attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people.
But it has also expressed increasing concern over the mounting death toll in Gaza, where more than 11,200 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the conflict started.
“The price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians,” Trudeau said on Tuesday. “All wars have rules. All innocent life has equal worth. Israeli and Palestinian.”
About 350 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and family members had been evacuated from Gaza, he added.
The Canadian leader also called on Hamas to stop using civilians as human shields and to release all hostages it took on October 7 “immediately and unconditionally.”
On X, Netanyahu said “Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way,” as his army relentlessly bombards Gaza.