(Montreal) Quebec Minister of International Relations, Martine Biron, still defends the opening of a Quebec office in Israel, even if she says she is “outraged” by the situation in Gaza and despite pressure demanding to back down.

Last week, 72 Quebec civil society organizations published an open letter in certain media, asking the Legault government to cancel its representation in Tel Aviv and “to suspend its cooperation ties with Israel.”

They affirm that Quebec “must take into account” the military offensive carried out by Israel since October 2023, which “violates the human rights of the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip and presents genocidal features”.

Asked on Tuesday about the relevance of maintaining an office despite the current context, Ms. Biron said that “we must not mix things up.”

“Quebec wants the UN Security Council resolutions to be respected. Quebec largely wants humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. In Quebec, we are very outraged by this carnage in the Gaza Strip,” she declared during a press conference in Montreal regarding the holding of an economic mission from the International Organization of Francophonie.

The Quebec office in Tel Aviv, located inside the Canadian embassy, ​​first officially opened in September, before the Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7. With the start of hostilities, the dispatch of the office director was delayed while Canadian diplomacy had reduced its presence in the region, said Ms. Biron.

“But since Canada is operational and all embassies around the world are open and operational, so we have chosen to continue the work on site,” explained the minister.

Last fall, the minister said that she wanted to wait until peace returned before the Quebec Office was fully functional.

In a parliamentary committee in April, Ms. Biron said that “things have settled” and that “the economy has recovered”, also arguing that “there is enormous potential” in Israel in terms of trade.