Canadian Sanctions on Hamas Leaders: a Response to Ongoing Gaza Conflict

OTTAWA, Canada – In a groundbreaking move, Canada has imposed individual sanctions on non-state actors connected to the brutal attack on Israel four months ago. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced the sanctions against 10 people affiliated with Hamas, including senior leaders, and another person associated with the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. This marks the first time Canada has taken a stand against non-state actors, exemplifying a shift in the country’s approach to international conflicts.

Among those sanctioned is Hamas senior leader Yahya Sinwar, who is accused of plotting the October 7 attack in which militants killed 1,200 people in Israel and took another 250 hostage. In response, Israel declared war and continued to bombard the Gaza Strip, restricting vital humanitarian aid and resulting in the deaths of about 27,500 Palestinians, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The move is aimed at hindering Hamas’s access to funds, with Canadians now barred from any financial dealings with those on the sanctions list. However, the Liberal government is facing pressure to also sanction Israeli settlers in the West Bank who are accused of violent attacks on Palestinians. Pro-Palestinian groups have criticized the lack of sanctions against Israeli government officials who have made inflammatory comments, highlighting a perceived double standard in Canada’s approach.

In addition to the sanctions, Nicaragua has sought to hold Canada and three other countries responsible for their support for Israel. This comes in response to Canada’s sanctions against Nicaraguan officials and raises questions about the international community’s role in conflicts such as the one between Israel and Palestine. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly dismissed Nicaragua’s accusations, attributing them to retaliation for Canada’s actions.

The situation highlights the complexity of international conflicts and the challenges of addressing them through diplomatic and economic measures. As Canada takes a stronger stance on international conflicts, the global community is watching to see how these actions will impact the dynamics of such conflicts and influence the behavior of state and non-state actors involved.