Montreal, Canada – Canada has introduced it has lifted a funding freeze for the UN company for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), after dealing with fierce criticism for slicing assist throughout Israel's conflict in Gaza.

In a press release on Friday, Canadian Worldwide Growth Minister Ahmed Hussen stated the federal government is “resuming its funding to UNRWA so it might probably do extra to fulfill the pressing wants of Palestinian civilians.”

Canada had joined the US and a number of other different nations in slicing funding to UNRWA in late January after Israel accused a dozen of the company's greater than 13,000 staff in Gaza of taking part to a Hamas assault on October 7.

UNRWA instantly dismissed the workers in query and introduced that it had opened an investigation into the allegations, which it described as “stunning” and “critical”. UN Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres additionally appointed an unbiased panel to analyze.

Israel, nonetheless, has not supplied concrete proof to assist its allegations. Canadian broadcaster CBC Information additionally reported in early February that Canada had not seen any intelligence to assist the declare earlier than deciding to chop funding.

The choice to chop funding for UNRWA – which depends on authorities contributions to fund its operations within the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – drew speedy concern and calls from rights advocates to rethink.

UNRWA can also be the important thing company offering essential humanitarian provides to Palestinians within the Gaza Strip, the place Israel's continued shelling and siege have killed greater than 30,000 folks and led to widespread hunger and illness .

Humanitarian teams warned that slicing UNRWA funding would have dire repercussions for Palestinians in Gaza and urged donor nations to reverse their choices.

Since then, the scenario within the Strip has additional deteriorated, as Israeli navy assaults proceed. A few dozen Palestinian kids have died in latest weeks as a consequence of a scarcity of meals and water in Gaza, in response to well being authorities within the coastal enclave.

Israeli attacks on Gaza continue
Palestinians collect to examine a destroyed constructing after an Israeli assault in Deir el-Balah on March 8 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

“Unwise political resolution”

On Friday afternoon, Canadian human rights defenders welcomed the federal government's resolution to raise the UNRWA funding freeze, however insisted that the cash shouldn’t be minimize to start with.

“Resuming assist to UNRWA is a much-needed resolution, and it might not be doable with out the essential advocacy of all of civil society,” stated Thomas Woodley, president of the advocacy group Canadians for Justice and Peace within the Center East.

“The cancellation of funding by Minister Hussen was a reckless political resolution that ought to by no means have been made. Canada's irresponsible actions threatened to break down the help infrastructure in Gaza, placing the lives of thousands and thousands of individuals in danger,” Woodley stated in a press release.

“Canada should considerably enhance funding to UNRWA to compensate for the hurt its actions have precipitated to the folks of Gaza.”

The federal government contributed $66.5 million (C$90 million) to UNRWA from 2019 to mid-2023. Final June, Ottawa additionally introduced it might present $74 million (C$100 million Canadians) to the company over 4 years to assist fund training, well being care and different providers.

Canadian media have reported that the subsequent installment of that funding – about $18 million ($25 million Canadian) – will likely be due in April.

In the meantime, the pinnacle of the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims additionally famous on Friday that “there are not any different businesses that may replicate the central function of UNRWA within the humanitarian response in Gaza.”

“Whereas the funding mustn’t have been paused within the first place, the federal government made the fitting resolution right now by renewing and growing the funding,” the group's CEO, Stephen Brown, stated in a press release.

Strain on Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's authorities had confronted stress from pro-Israel foyer teams to keep up its freeze on UNRWA funding. Members of Trudeau's Liberal social gathering additionally urged him to withhold the funds.

Liberal pro-Israel lawmakers Anthony Housefather and Marco Mendicino he said in a letter Thursday that they’d really helpful “that Canada work in lockstep with the US and different allies.”

They urged the federal government “to take advantage of various companions and to create new humanitarian assist automobiles that may considerably attain Gaza's civilians within the quick time period.”

However specialists and humanitarian teams stated UNRWA is best suited to supply much-needed help to Palestinians in Gaza.

In a press convention on Friday afternoon, Hussen stated the choice to renew funding was “in recognition of the numerous and critical steps the United Nations has taken to handle the issues at UNRWA.”

It additionally is available in recognition of “the essential function that UNRWA performs in offering much-needed assist to greater than two million Palestinians in Gaza, in addition to … thousands and thousands extra within the wider area,” Hussen advised the journalists.

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