The Trump organization stopped all funding to the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency in August, after calling it an extremely flawed organization. They withdrew USD 300 million, money which went towards helping over five million Palestinian refugees.
Palestinian refugees live in dire situations. Canada has stepped in and is working with the UNRWA – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees – to ensure all refugees are treated in a humane way, with respect, neutrality, and humanity. The fund that Canada is injecting will be used to bring stability to a region that has never been stable, and to help Palestinians overcome poverty, lack of resources, lack of shelter, running water, education, and health.
The funds from Canada will be allocated over a two year period. The funds from Canada come just two weeks after the European Union pledged to support with an extra USD 46 million towards health and education. Canada has also pledged an additional USD 10 million aimed at helping the close to 500 000 Palestinian people that are taking refuge in Syria and Lebanon.
In the meantime Israel has accused the UNRWA of being a biased organization, saying they fuel the conflict between Israel and Palestine and are responsible for promoting hatred against Israel. Israel had praised American and Donald Trump in particular for cutting the funding, and it was Donald Trump who had called the agency ‘irredeemably flawed.’
Trump’s son in law, the unpopular Jared Kushner, is apparently also delighted with the decision taken by the USA. Kushner is the middle east advisor for the USA and his bias towards Israel is clear. He has called UNRWA inefficient and corrupt, saying they do not want peace. He is known to have sent emails asking for disruption of UNRWA in all ways.
In contrast, Canada has offered to help. Marie-Claude Bibeau, the International Development Minister of Canada, has said the money will go towards improving lives and ensuring the dignity to all. The funding has been desperately needed. Palestinians live in refugee camps, very often have no access to running water or electricity. The few schools that there has little equipment, hospitals have little equipment and few supplies, there are few clinics and medical care is almost nonexistent.
Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has told the UN General Assembly that the work of the United Nationals Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refuges is exceptionally important for the Palestinians, and without it, his people have no dignity or access to those things that citizens deserve – shelter, food, water, education, health. He stated that America would like to see an end to Palestine completely, hence their obvious bias and withdrawal of funding.
The loss of USD 300 million is a huge blow to the Palestinians. Most people who suffer from the Israel / Palestine conflict are ordinary citizens, women, children, and babies. Their rights to everyday care are vital. Canada has stepped in, but will it be enough.