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Prince Albert Daily Herald, Thursday, January 8, 2009

Orchard joins call for ceasefire

by Angela Hill

David Orchard joins a panel of prominent Canadians in Toronto today in a plea to the Canadian government to call for an end to the current violence in the Middle East.

"I want to see them join most of the rest of the world, the Europeans and others in calling for an immediate ceasefire," said Orchard.

"The United States had derailed a call for ceasefire at the UN Security Council and our government is backing that. By doing that we are essentially giving a green light for the killing to go on."

Orchard will be one of five prominent Canadians participating in a media conference, which will address the humanitarian catastrophe under the bombs, the lack of action by the Canadian government, and will call for an immediate ceasefire and a lifting of the blockade of Gaza.

According to Orchard there have to be voices speaking out against the current situation and saying that we don't agree with out government. The alternative, silence, suggests complicity, he said.

Anton Kuerti, a world-renowned Canadian concert pianist and human rights activist, will be speaking with Orchard.

In a recent letter to the Globe and Mail he said, "Israel's behaviour makes me ashamed of being a Jew, and our government's implicit endorsement of these crimes makes me ashamed to be a Canadian."

Many members of the Jewish community in Canada are speaking out. Wednesday saw a group of Jewish women staging a protest at the Israeli consulate.

Orchard has spoken at several rallies including calling for a ceasefire on Dec. 28.

"The targets — the mosques, the schools — these things are absolutely unacceptable targets and I just felt that I had to speak out," he said.

"We are seeing a heavily armed group attacking a largely defenceless refugee population," Orchard said, adding that 80% of the population of Gaza are refugees.

"These are civilians that can't get out... it's like they are in a prison and now they are being bombed," he said. "I want the killing to stop and there needs to be a ceasefire yesterday."

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