Employee Involvement In Terrorist Attack
Per multiple reports, Canada has suspended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). This action comes in the wake of several pieces of evidence implicating UNRWA employees in the October 7 terrorist attack against Israel.
The move mirrors a similar decision made by the United States government. US authorities promptly halted its financial support for the agency following evidence presented by Israeli authorities linking 12 UNRWA employees to the Hamas-led assault that resulted in the tragic loss of over 1,000 lives, predominantly civilians.
Canada’s decision was announced by International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen, who underscored the nation’s commitment to investigating the allegations thoroughly before deciding whether to resume funding to UNRWA. Minister Hussein expressed Canada’s unequivocal condemnation of the October 7 attack on Israel.
International Pressure Mounts as Canada Takes Decisive Action
Pressure from various quarters, including Jewish groups, mounted on Canada to take a similar step as the US and suspend funding to UNRWA in light of the allegations. The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) urged Canada to take immediate action, emphasizing the gravity of UNRWA employees’ involvement in the terrorist attack.
This isn’t the first time Canada has scrutinized its support for UNRWA. Under the previous Harper government, funding was suspended due to longstanding concerns regarding the agency’s promotion of antisemitism and ties to terror groups like Hamas.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reinstated Canada’s $25 million funding in 2016. Reacting to the allegations, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini vowed to swiftly address the issue by terminating the contracts of staff members implicated in the terror activities and launching a comprehensive investigation. Thus, the agency’s capacity to provide humanitarian aid can continue without issues.
Canada’s Commitment To Humanitarian Principles And Accountability
Meanwhile, Minister Hussen reiterated Canada’s commitment to providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, explaining that funds would continue to be directed through alternative channels.
This decision underscores Canada’s dedication to upholding humanitarian principles while ensuring transparency and accountability in its international aid initiatives. Canada’s funding to UNRWA has been a crucial component of its Palestinian humanitarian outreach to deliver essential programs supporting health, education, social services, livelihood opportunities, and the protection of the rights of Palestinian refugees.
Spadina Fort-York Independent MP Kevin Vuong echoed the sentiments of many Canadians by calling for a comprehensive review of UNRWA funding to safeguard taxpayer dollars from being misused to fund terrorist activities. This move sends a clear message that Canada will not tolerate any association with terrorism and will take decisive action to ensure that its humanitarian support reaches those in need without compromising integrity and security.
Pro-Israel Christian Group Urges Biden To Defund UNRWA Permanently
Meanwhile, the leadership of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) has challenged the Biden administration’s decision regarding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Against the backdrop of allegations implicating UNRWA employees in the Hamas massacre against Israel, CUFI is demanding a permanent cessation of funding to the agency.
Sandra Parker, the CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman, with over 10 million members and recognized as the biggest pro-Israel entity in the US, has stressed the critical necessity of halting financial support to UNRWA permanently. Parker highlighted it as a pivotal step in preventing US taxpayer dollars from inadvertently aiding terrorism-related entities.
Her remarks encapsulate the sentiment echoed by countless supporters of CUFI, who view the temporary halt as insufficient in addressing the broader concerns regarding US involvement with UNRWA. Drawing parallels to the administration’s stance on sanctions relief for Iran, Parker emphasized the need for proactive measures to safeguard against the potential resurgence of funding to UNRWA.
CUFI further reiterated its commitment to advocating for policies that align with its pro-Israel stance, particularly in matters of US foreign aid and national security interests.