1113 GMT January 22, 2020
Ottawa will provide up to $50 million over two years to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, Canada’s Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced on Saturday, Press TV reported.
The funding will be used to provide basic education, health, and livelihood needs for millions of Palestinian refugees, especially women and children, through the UNRWA.
“Canada’s new funding will contribute to improving the lives and protecting the human dignity of millions of Palestinian refugees,” Bibeau said.
She added that the funds would be spent on teacher training courses to educate hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children, and support over a hundred health clinics.
Canada’s announcement comes two months after the US announced it would cut its aid to the UNRWA.
At the time, UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness, described the decision by the administration of US President Donald Trump as ‘deeply regrettable’ and ‘shocking’. Analysts said the decision to cut the funding was indicative of Trump’s apathy toward the plight of the Palestinians.
The US was the largest donor country to UNRWA. But under the Trump administration, it has taken an increasingly hardline stance toward Palestine.
Last year, Washington had given more than $360 million to the organization.
New Zealand activists
Two New Zealand pro-Palestinian activists have raised NZ$14,000 ($9,108.40) as of Sunday for charity after being fined by an Israeli court for their alleged role in persuading a pop star to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv last year.
Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab said last week they would not pay the fine of $12,423.05 awarded to three Israeli teenagers, calling the court’s ruling a ‘stunt’ intended to intimidate Israel’s critics.
Instead, they asked people to donate money through website ‘givealittle.co.nz’ to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, a volunteer group that raises funds for mental health and women’s empowerment groups in the Gaza Strip.
As of Sunday, they raised NZ$14,000, according to the website.
“Given that we’ve actually had this kind of push upon us — we felt that it was expedient to actually recenter the issue back on Palestine,” Abu-Shanab told Radio New Zealand.