“Families Criticize Canada’s Gaza Visa Program as Ineffective” – Israel-Gaza Conflict Updates

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Montreal, Canada – Canada’s immigration minister, Marc Miller, described the situation in the Gaza Strip in late December as “unlivable” due to the fierce Israeli bombardment. As conditions continued to deteriorate, with at least 20,000 people killed and hunger spreading rapidly, the Canadian government launched a special visa programme to bring extended family members from Gaza to Canada.

Despite the announcement, more than three months later, not a single Palestinian applicant has been able to leave Gaza under the visa programme. This has left families like Samar Alkhdour, a Palestinian mother living in Canada since 2019, feeling abandoned and frustrated, demanding action from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

Alkhdour has been staging a daily sit-in outside Miller’s office in Montreal, trying to bring her sister and her family from Deir el-Balah in central Gaza to join her in Montreal. Despite her efforts, she expressed a sense of hopelessness as the process has stalled.

“I’m still fighting, I’m working on it,” she said in late March at the sit-in, draped in a black-and-white keffiyeh. “But deep down inside, in my heart, I’m starting to lose hope. And maybe that’s one reason I’m here – because no one’s doing nothing.”

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