Canada announces $50 million in funding for UNRWA

Canada steps up aid for UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” following US cut.

Tags: UNRWA Canada
Elad Benari ,

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada has stepped up its aid for UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, having on Friday announced $50 million in funding for the organization, AFP reported.

The Canadian aid comes after the United States, the largest single contributor to UNRWA, announced in August that it would end its $350 million a year funding for the agency.

The Canadian contribution is to be spread over two years. $40 million will go to "meeting the basic education, health and livelihood needs of millions of Palestinian refugees," Ottawa said in a statement.

Another $10 million will be used to provide "emergency life-saving assistance to more than 460,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon," it said.

The previous Canadian government, headed by Stephen Harper, stopped the funding to UNRWA, but the current Liberal government, headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced in 2016 it would restore the funding.

Last year, the Trudeau government announced a $20 million aid package to UNRWA, the bulk of which was meant to help UNRWA provide basic education, health and livelihood needs for millions of Palestinian refugees, particularly women and children.

Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and territories assigned to the Palestinian Authority.

However, it is also notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

In a more recent incident, the director of UNRWA operations in Gaza expressed his support for the anti-Israel marches along the Israel-Gaza border and pledged that the organization’s medical centers will provide care for “Palestinian refugees” who might sustain injuries during them.