Arriving at a nearly empty airport in war-ravaged Israel on Tuesday morning, Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback hit the ground running on his fact-finding mission.
âWe dropped our bags off at the hotel, hit the showers for five minutes and went into our first set of meetings,â he said.
Hoback is visiting Israel this week alongside a handful of other Tory and Liberal MPs who accepted an invitation from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs -- an effort of the Jewish Federation of Canada.
The organization has branded the politicians as âdemonstrating solidarity with Israelâ on their official website -- a frame of thinking that Hoback appears to have adopted.
âWe heard a lot of different reports in the media of what was going on in the Gaza Strip and in Israel, and a lot of accusations flying back on forth on whoâs to blame for some of the killings and that,â Hoback said on Tuesday.
âI must say, the meetings weâve been having this morning really showed us what Israel has been doing to basically control the civilian casualties, but also highlight the fact of whatâs really gone on here.â
Hoback explained Israelâs most recent show of force as a necessary means of ending the âover 100 rocketsâ that they were firing into Israel per day.
âHamas wants to defeat Israel, and until Israel is no longer here theyâre not considered successful,â Hoback said.
âYou canât talk to them, you canât negotiate with them -- these are people who take their neighboursâ kids and family members and put them in a school and put them next to a rocket launcher and use them as human shields.â
Placing blame on Hamas -- an organization Canada has branded a terrorist organization -- Hoback clarified that Israelâs ongoing military action isnât against Palestine.
Itâs difficult to understand Hamas, Hoback conceded.
âFor us to come out of Canada and the western world to try to understand who these people are and what they do and what they stand for, itâs so foreign to us itâs hard to get our head around it.â
The recent discovery of tunnels leading in and out of the Gaza Strip have further perplexed Hoback, who said that the concrete and steel used to build the tunnels was intended for use in humanitarian projects.
âInstead of putting it toward the people, they used it for military benefits and military gain, and thatâs just disgusting,â Hoback concluded. âWe value life; they donât, necessarily.â
The meetings weâve been having this morning really showed us what Israel has been doing to basically control the civilian casualties, but also highlight the fact of whatâs really gone on here. Randy Hoback
Hoback said that a few âred alertsâ have sprung up so far during his three-day guided foray into Israel, indicating rockets fired out of the Gaza Strip.
Although the group of Canadian politicians is being hosted and guided through Israel by officials from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Hoback insists that heâs getting a well-rounded view.
âWeâre getting a good âŠ cross-section of people to meet âŠ to get a good overview and get their versions of whatâs going on, here,â he said.
The Prince Albert MP is scheduled to arrive back in Canada on Thursday, after which time he said that heâll be able to divulge more details of his trip.
International mediaâs latest consensus on death tolls varies, but CNN is reporting more than 1,100 Palestinian deaths since the latest conflict began on July 8. The United Nations is estimating that around 75 per cent of Palestinians who have been killed were civilians, of whom a third are children.
At latest update, Israel reported 53 soldier deaths so far and three civilians killed.