Deportation to Gaza imminent fear for Ottawa man
Tension, death toll mount on Gaza Strip as more than 100 Palestinians, Israelis killed
An Ottawa father could soon be deported to the Gaza Strip as the death toll from a six-day Israeli airstrike surpasses 100 and both sides in the fight threaten to escalate their border conflict if diplomacy fails.
Haithem Alabadleh, 37, was born in the United Arab Emirates but holds Palestinian travel documents. He currently lives in Ottawa with his Canadian wife, Theresa Ann Maidment, and their three children, including a newborn.
Alabadleh is applying for permanent residency with his wife's sponsorship after spending eight years in Canada, but said an enforcement officer with the Canada Border Services Agency told him he must surrender his travel documents and be deported to Gaza.
The officer has also said he will not wait for the application to be processed because Alabadleh is already subject to a removal order, Alabadleh said.
"All the conditions been asked, we complete and the officer he's not waiting," Alabadleh told the CBC's Evan Dyer in broken English.
Gaza presents 'no risk to life,' CBSA letter says
CBSA classifies Gaza as a safe destination. A letter to Alabadleh that's dated September 2005 said he "would not be subject to risk of persecution, danger of torture, risk to life or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."
A total of 38 Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Monday, bringing the death toll since the start of Israel's offensive to 109, including 56 civilians. Some 840 people have been wounded, including 225 children, Gaza health officials said. Three Israeli civilians have been killed and dozens have been wounded.
Both Israeli and Hamas forces have not backed down as violence continues there.
Alabadleh, who has no criminal record, said he has only spent two weeks in Gaza throughout his life. He also knows the dangers of conflict well, as his 24-year-old friend, Nader Benrewin, was killed while fighting the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya in the summer of 2011.
His wife also said she is a stay-at-home mother with three young children who depends solely on her husband for financial support. Maidment said he has been working overnight shifts and multiple jobs so the family can make ends meet.
"He wants a better life for us," she said. "My husband's making all the money, so we couldn't afford to stay in our home and we'll probably end up homeless and being a burden on the taxpayer system."
It is unclear how Alabadleh would be transported to Gaza because he would have to be handed over to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the area.
Canada does not talk to Hamas and has publicly supported Israel.