At a meeting of the world’s top sovereign economic powers in Toronto, Canada on Saturday, the ‘G8’ countries issued a statement saying the “ current arrangements are not sustainable and must be changed”, in reference to Israel’s three-year long siege on the Gaza Strip that has imprisoned its population and caused extreme hardship.The statement, signed by the leaders of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia, comes just days after the Council of Europe condemned the Israeli siege on Gaza, and called on the Israeli government to lift the siege completely.

The world’s most powerful leaders meet each year at the ‘G8’, or ‘Group of Eight’ summit, in heavily fortified and militarized zones in different cities. These meetings have been met in recent years by growing protests of the disenfranchised, who feel that their method of decision-making is undemocratic and immoral. Protesters outside the G8 summit in Toronto included Palestinian self-determination in their demands this year, along with an end to economic colonization and exploitation of the resources of poor countries by rich ones.

G8 leaders who signed the statement also expressed ‘regret’ over the Israeli navy’s killing of 9 international aid workers, including 8 Turks and one US citizen. They did not actually condemn the attack, but said they await the results of Israel’s internal investigation of the incident. International human rights groups have called for an international investigation, given Israel’s poor history of effectively investigating itself.

The G8 leaders also cheered the Israeli government for its recent small measures allowing a few token items into the Gaza Strip, saying, “We welcome the Israeli Cabinet’s announcement of a new policy towards Gaza as a positive development. We urge full and effective implementation of this policy in order to address the needs of Gaza’s population for humanitarian and commercial goods, civilian reconstruction and infrastructure, and legitimate economic activity as well as the legitimate security concerns of Israel that must continue to be safeguarded.”