Tory MP David Sweet said Wednesday that from his location in Israel he could see and hear the destruction in Gaza, but that the government delegation of which he is part has no plans to meet with officials from the Palestinian Authority or any other Palestinian groups.
"I'm less than two kilometers from Gaza "¦ we're close enough to see the smoke, to see the dust, but not close enough to see the action," he told QMI Agency. "The people here are traumatized."
Joined by two other Conservative MPs, a Conservative senator and two Liberal MPs, Sweet is in Israel on trip organized by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
No NDP MPs joined the delegation because of a perceived lack of neutrality on the part of the organizer.
The most recent reports put the death toll in Gaza at more than 1,350 Palestinians and fewer than 60 Israelis.
Sweet said he spent the day visiting a hospital where he "comforted" wounded Israeli soldiers.
"It was quite an experience to see the havoc, the death threats," he said.
The way Sweet sees it, the people of Israel have been under siege for eight years.
"Sleep deprived for eight years," he said. "Who knows the long-term effects of that?"
Addressing reports of high numbers of civilians casualties on the Palestinian side, Sweet said "it's clear to us that the Israelis are doing everything they can to target Hamas, their weapons caches, their extravagant tunnels," he said. "They're trying to avoid civilians."