Contrary To Toronto Star Columnist Thomas Walkom, Recognizing A Palestinian State Now Only Rewards Hamas Terrorism

March 26, 2024

In Thomas Walkom’s March 22 opinion column in The Toronto Star entitled: “Canada should have recognized Palestine as a state”, he stated that the now-failed and watered-down NDP motion, which had initially recognized “Palestine” before it was amended, should have been kept as is, saying that recognizing a Palestinian state would “put pressure on Israel to act more sensibly.”

In reality, recognizing a Palestinian state, on the heels of Hamas’ October 7 massacres, would send a powerful signal to Hamas and other terrorist groups worldwide, that their violent acts of terrorism work and should be used more often.

Walkom’s questionable commentary on the NDP motion was just an introduction to his broader thoughts on the Hamas-Israel war, where he made a host of scurrilous allegations against Israel, accusing it of imposing “collective punishment” against the population of Gaza.

He elaborated by saying that Israel “cannot deprive populations under its control of food and medical care solely on the basis of their ethnicity.”

Walkom is correct that doing such things would indeed be highly objectionable. Fortunately, Israel is not doing that, instead, allowing huge amounts of humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, into the Gaza Strip, even as parties like the United Nations incompetently struggle to distribute that very same aid.

Throughout his column, which mentioned Hamas only a single time, Walkom omitted mentioning the relevance of the bestial atrocities Hamas terrorists committed, as if they are irrelevant, when in actuality, it is only because of Hamas’ attack that the NDP motion came about at all.

Walkom made no mention of the rapes and beheadings of countless Israelis and was silent on the 253 hostages taken into Gaza, 130 of whom are still in captivity – dead or alive.

Hamas leaves Israel with no choice but to defend itself and yet Israel does so with great humanity. As John Spencer, chair of the Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, says, “Israel has taken more steps to avoid harming civilians than any other military in history”. These include prior warnings via phoning and texting Gazan civilians in the vicinity of an attack on Hamas terrorists. Hamas, on the other hand, encourages their electorate to act as human shields, regardless of the risk to their lives. Hamas have been firing at IDF troops from Shifa hospital’s emergency room, maternity ward, and burn unit, cowardly endangering its patients and causing considerable damage to the hospital. Walkom has it the wrong way around. Collective punishment of Gazans is taking place, but it is committed by Hamas.

In his op-ed, Walkom made no mention of the vast quantities of humanitarian aid entering Gaza. While Hamas are holding Israelis hostage, Israel has facilitated the entrance of 50 percent more food trucks compared to prewar levels.  Video footage coming out of Gaza shows markets replete with food, with shwarma on sale. There are also reports of Gazans throwing American airdropped food into the trash.

His article supported Hamas’s cleverly curated narrative of victimhood by downplaying Hamas, ignoring aid in Gaza, and uncritically accepting a one-sided picture of events.

Walkom was the subject of a February 2024 alert by HonestReporting Canada, which took issue with one his columns where he referred to ancestral Jewish lands as not belonging to Israel.

Thomas Walkom’s supposed humanitarian concern makes no mention of the Israeli hostages and how Hamas could stop the war in its tracks by releasing them immediately. Yet he would have Canada award them statehood and grant their terror legitimacy, putting both Gazans and Israelis at further risk. That is not a tenable solution. Send your considered comments to the Toronto Star: lettertoed@thestar.ca.

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