Canada directs its UNRWA aid....
The Canadian government does another good deed....
Canada has reduced its direct support for UNRWA, the UN agency that runs Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, Victor Toews, the president of Canada's Treasury Board, said on Monday.Another reason to be proud of our government. UNRWA is a horrible mess - and at least this is a first good step to help clean it up.
Instead, the aid will be redirected "to specific projects in the Palestinian Authority that will ensure accountability and foster democracy in the PA," he said.
Toews said that on January 9, he met with PA Minister of Planning and Administrative Development Ali al-Jarbawi in Ramallah, and funding to UNRWA was discussed. Until now,Canada has provided UNRWA with 11 percent of its budget, $10 million (Canadian) annually.
Toews also met with PA Justice Minister Ali Khashan and Attorney-General Ahmed al-Mughani.
He said that in the past, Canada aid earmarked for UNRWA "went into a general operating fund" in the PA Treasury and although Jarbawi had asked that this situation continue, the practice made it "difficult" forCanada to monitor how the funds were being used. Toews said Jarbawi had asked that the money be given "directly' to the PA Treasury but Toews refused the request.
When asked whether Canada had concerns that UNRWA funds were being administered by Hamas operatives, Toews responded, "Canada has made a $300m. commitment over five years to the Palestinian Authority, but we want to put that money only into programs that are consistent with Canadian values. We are going to focus directing our funds on institution-building in the PA, such as building a proper functioning justice system. We need to ensure that [the PA has] less wide discretion and the funds are being directed to specific projects."
Toews added, "I told him [Jarbawi] that our [Canada's] paramount concern is the security of Israel."