Canada will continue humanitarian aid to Palestinians while preventing that aid from being diverted to Hamas, says International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office. Some other aid providers are taking a closer look at their aid to the West Bank and Gaza.
European Commission carrying out an ‘urgent review’ of its aid to Palestinians
Elizabeth Thompson · CBC News
Canada will continue delivering humanitarian and development aid to Palestinians while preventing that aid from being diverted to Hamas, says International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office.
“We will continue to support civilians with life-saving humanitarian aid, while ensuring that no money goes into the hands of Hamas,” said Alex Tetreault, Hussen’s director of communications, in an e-mail.
Tetreault said Canada has a no-contact policy with Hamas and no Canadian government aid goes directly to the Palestinian Authority.
Instead, the $55 million a year that Canada spends on development and humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza goes through international aid organizations, he said.
“Canada uses experienced and trusted Canadian and international partners such as the United Nations’ World Food Programme, Children’s Fund and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as well as NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) like Oxfam Canada, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to deliver aid in the West Bank and Gaza,” Tetreault said.
“The department exercises enhanced due diligence and uses anti-terrorism clauses in partner agreements to prevent funds being diverted to terrorist groups. These efforts are continuously reviewed to adapt to changing times and rapidly evolving situations.”
Tetreault condemned the attacks by Hamas and reaffirmed Canada’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself in accordance with international law.
“Nothing can justify these acts of terror and the killing, maiming and abduction of civilians,” he said. “Celebration of these attacks is unacceptable. We are extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation and the impact on civilians.”
Hamas staged unprecedented cross-border attacks on Israel over the weekend — firing rockets, killing civilians and taking hostages.
The attacks prompted Israel to declare war on Hamas with attacks of its own. It also has ordered what it has described as a complete siege of Gaza, preventing everything from electricity and fuel to food and water from entering. Many area residents rely on humanitarian aid.
The conflict has prompted some bodies that have been providing aid to Palestinians to take a closer look at where their money is going.
On Monday, the European Commission announced it was launching “an urgent review” of the European Union’s assistance.
“In addition to the existing safeguards, the objective of this review is to ensure that no EU funding indirectly enables any terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel,” the commission wrote in a media statement. “The Commission will equally review if, in light of the changed circumstances on the ground, its support programmes to the Palestinian population and to the Palestinian Authority need to be adjusted.
“The Commission will carry out this review as soon as possible and coordinate with Member States and partners any follow up action necessary.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) condemned the attacks in Israel.
“The President directed his team to do everything we can to support Israel and ensure that it has what it needs,” the agency said in a response to CBC News. “Our focus remains on the safety of our staff and partners, and the humanitarian needs of those impacted by the violence.”
The agency said that in fiscal year 2023, it has provided nearly $250 million in humanitarian and economic assistance to people living in Gaza and the West Bank.
“In Gaza and the West Bank, U.S. development and humanitarian assistance provides for basic humanitarian needs and seeks to increase stability,” the agency wrote. “We work through trusted and vetted international organizations and NGO partners and in coordination with Israeli authorities.
“U.S. assistance for Palestinians does not go to or through Hamas.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning reporter Elizabeth Thompson covers Parliament Hill. A veteran of the Montreal Gazette, Sun Media and iPolitics, she currently works with the CBC’s Ottawa bureau, specializing in investigative reporting and data journalism. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.