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  • Avi Abraham Benlolo

Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: Concerns About $90 Million Support for UNWRA

January 13, 2021


The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development


justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Karina.Gould@parl.gc.ca


Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Gould:


On December 21, 2020, Global Affairs Canada announced “support of up to $90 million over 3 years for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency” (UNRWA).


The announcement states that this is a commitment on behalf of Canadians as stated to meet the “basic education, health and livelihood needs of Palestinian refugees”. Global Affairs has advised that “Canada’s funding will also reinforce UNRWA’s ongoing efforts to uphold UN values and humanitarian principles, including neutrality, within the agency and its operations”.


More significantly, the Global Affairs announcement declared that “Canada exercises enhanced due diligence for all humanitarian and development assistance funding for Palestinians. This work includes ongoing oversight, regular site visits, a systematic screening process and strong anti-terrorism provisions in funding agreements”.


I would like to point out that in 2017 – Canada signed a Framework for Cooperation agreement between Global Affairs and UNWRA. While that agreement is lengthy, one of its main criterions is “ongoing curriculum review process, which enables UNWRA’s educators to use consistent criteria in analyzing and enriching Host Government textbooks, in order to promote UN values and principles in UNWRA classrooms”.


In that spirit, a report just published by Impact-se entitled, “Review of UNRWA-Produced Study Materials in the Palestinian Territories” says it revealed some of the following potential problems in UNWRA curriculum:

  • Encouragement of violence, jihad, terrorism and martyrdom.

  • Rejection of peace

  • Intolerance, disrespect and demonization

  • Libel and conspiracy theories

  • Conflict-oriented discourse

  • Erasure of Israel and Jews

I have included a link to the report below so that our analysts at Global Affairs may investigate further. If there is merit to these assertions further to an investigation by Canadian officials, UNWRA may be in breach of its agreement with our government.


While Canada’s intent is honourable, its essential that our tax-dollars are not utilized to fund programs and projects that might be supporting problematic materials or worse. Canadians need to be satisfied that due diligence is properly made before any further funding is awarded.


Yours truly,

Avi Benlolo


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Sources:


https://www.impact-se.org/wp-content/uploads/UNRWA-Produced-Study-Materials-in-the-Palestinian-Territories.pdf


https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2020/12/canada-continues-its-support-of-palestinian-refugees.html


https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/priorities-priorites/where-ou/gac_un_unrwa-amc_nu_unrwa.aspx?lang=eng




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