FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release: CIJA Deeply Troubled by UNRWA’s Ongoing Failures
October 12, 2018
Ottawa, ON— Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced renewed funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). In response, Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued the following:
“We support Canadian humanitarian aid being provided to those who are genuinely in need. This includes support for projects to help build a foundation for peace by strengthening the Palestinian economy and quality of life. We believe the best way to do this is through direct project funding through avenues other than UNRWA, as the Government of Canada announced in July. We continue to have serious reservations about UNRWA, which has failed to demonstrate accountability time and again.
“Since the announcement of new funding for UNRWA in 2016, we acknowledge and appreciate the steps the government has taken to ensure meaningful accountability and oversight, including working directly with CIJA on this file. However, we are disappointed in UNRWA’s limited progress in ending anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian schools. We are also alarmed that senior UNRWA officials have continued to violate the agency’s pledge of neutrality through toxic anti-Israel advocacy.
“All international donors have a responsibility to ensure that aid is used for the purpose for which it is given. We note that Hamas, which regularly steals aid intended for Palestinians, has misused UNRWA facilities for terrorist purposes. More must be done to prevent this dangerous trend. We will continue advocating for strong, concrete accountability measures to ensure that Canadian aid advances peace and improves the quality of life for Palestinians without putting the security of Israelis at risk.”
- Palestinian Authority textbooks used in UNWRA schools continue to include deeply problematic material such as content celebrating child murderers as heroes.
- UNWRA is unique among refugee agencies in that as a policy it makes refugee status hereditable. This deepens the complexity of the conflict. For example, in the UNRWA system, a Palestinian refugee who was born in Zurich and has a Swiss passport is, according to UNRWA still defined as a refugee.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the
advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.