OTTAWA - B’nai Brith Canada has historically accepted our government’s decisions to provide urgent humanitarian support for Palestinians in the Middle East, but we also have regularly sought assurances that our aid would not be diverted to attack Israel or promote hate directed at the Jewish community.
In recent days, Canada announced it will contribute $25-million toward ensuring “that emergency relief quickly reaches Palestinian civilians facing urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza, as well as those affected by violence in the West Bank.”
But how do we know that these resources will not be diverted or abused?
The opaqueness in the government’s announcement cannot be accepted on its merits, particularly given that some resources will be channeled through the flawed United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
As we have repeatedly requested, Canadian aid must be withheld from Palestinian non-governmental organizations with links to terrorism or which inspire hatred against Israel and Jews. We have asked for the language used in aid agreements designed to prevent abuse or diversion of Canadian monies.
Our questions have not received straight answers. So we lay our concerns out here, in followup to a recent letter to Canada’s Minister of International Development.
International actors, NGOs, and UN institutions must implement stringent procedures to prevent the rearming of Hamas and other terrorist-linked groups in Gaza; the current lack of transparency and accountability in provision of international assistance to Gaza is untenable. This must change.
Furthermore, donors such as Canada should take – and publicly announce – specific safeguards, including the need to ensure the closest scrutiny and monitoring of all resources for Gaza reconstruction and for humanitarian assistance.
We have said all funding of NGOs, whether directly or through the intermediary of UN agencies, must be halted immediately if links to terrorism become known. This means the systematic monitoring of the use of materials and resources that reach Gaza, and public reporting on that information.
We ask all Canadians to pose the same questions to the government that B’nai Brith Canada has:
Do Canadian guidelines ensure that funds are not provided to groups with ties to terrorism or that promote violent rhetoric or antisemitism?
Does the government ensure that UN agencies respect and adhere to our domestic terrorism legislation and designations of terrorist entities?
Has Canada put in place guidelines to ensure funding provided for emergency relief or humanitarians purposes is used solely for those purposes?
Does the government have in place a domestic continuous monitoring mechanism to ensure ongoing compliance with these best practices?
How will the government ensure that its aid will not be used by Hamas' missile industry, supported by Iran – as, in the last two decades, more than 28,000 rockets and mortars and have been fired at Israel?
The nearly 2-million Palestinian residents of Gaza are suffering severe deprivations because of the constant syphoning off of aid money for use by a death cult to repress them and seek Israel's destruction rather than building a better society and future for those living there. Our government must take the needs of Palestinian civilians into account and prevent this from occurring again.
Hamas in Gaza – while receiving assistance from the terrorist-supporting regime in Iran – could not have armed itself and constructed facilities through which to attack Israel, without diverting donor resources intended for humanitarian purposes. Canada has an opportunity to help change this. We seek no less.
It is imperative that Canada, along with the international community, assure that international aid go to the benefit of those who need it – not to terrorists who will use it to repeat the same cycle of violence again.