Canada has pledged $50-million in foreign-aid funding to support vulnerable Palestinians coping with the effects of the continuing humanitarian crisis and boost economic prosperity for women and youth in the West Bank and Gaza.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the new money on Monday, following her trip to Israel and the West Bank. She said the funding will help support a two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"These initiatives will ultimately help the Palestinian people to build the social and economic conditions necessary for a two-state solution,” Ms. Bibeau said in a statement.
Israeli ambassador to Canada, Nimrod Barkan, said Canada’s contributions to peace and a two-state solution through its assistance to Palestinians, particularly women and girls, are “indispensable.”
Ms. Bibeau said Canada will provide $12.65-million to various international organizations, such as the World Food Programme and the United Nations Children’s Fund, to respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable groups in the West Bank and Gaza, including survivors of gender-based violence and people with disabilities.
Four non-government organizations will also receive a total of $37-million in Canadian taxpayer dollars to increase economic opportunities for Palestinians, especially for women and youth: CARE Canada, Mercy Corps International, Save the Children Canada and CowaterSogema International, Canada’s largest international development consulting firm.
Save the Children Canada, which received $8-million over four years for its project that will help young female Palestinians build businesses, said the funding will help address gender-based barriers to entrepreneurship.
Tarek Loubani, a Canadian-Palestinian doctor who has travelled to Gaza numerous times to provide medical care, is hopeful Monday’s announcement is a sign that Canada will support more life-saving projects in the region, including one he is pitching that would help maintain electricity in hospitals.
“We don’t have a final decision but we are very optimistic that the Canadian government and Global Affairs Canada understand the value of a project like solar panels on hospitals in Gaza,” Dr. Loubani told The Globe and Mail.
Dr. Loubani met with Indigenous Affairs Minister Jane Philpott on Monday to discuss the project – the latest in a series of meetings in his effort to get all of the federal political parties on board.