An Australian-based tourism company, Canada Tourism, has had to pull out of a planned major tourism tour of Israel because of the country’s ongoing conflict with Hamas.
The company had planned to start the tour in July in Tel Aviv but cancelled after it learned of the planned attack on the Tel Aviv Pride festival.
“Canada Tourism is disappointed to have to make this announcement, given the current climate in the region,” said Canada Tourism spokesman John Fotheringham in a statement.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called Canada’s decision a “shameful act of aggression” and said it was “the first step of the occupation regime in Israel.” “
We have been working closely with our partners in the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to ensure that Canada’s plans for this tour will go forward and we look forward to the opportunity to visit the West Bank and Gaza in the future.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called Canada’s decision a “shameful act of aggression” and said it was “the first step of the occupation regime in Israel.”
The tour will resume on Sept. 11.
Canada has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Canada is the third largest visitor to Israel, and is the largest foreign visitor to the Jewish state.
In March, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a $1.5-billion investment in Israel and vowed to build an airport, an underground highway and a new city in Gaza, and rebuild the coastal town of Sderot, where Israel’s military has been fighting since 2014.
Canada’s tourism industry has been growing, with some of the biggest players in the sector such as Tourism Canada, the Tourism and Recreation Ministry, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the countrys largest business lobby, all taking part in the campaign.