Canada gives the Palestinian territories tens of millions of dollars in aid on an annual basis, however, some Jewish groups are concerned that some of that money winds up in the hands of terrorist groups like Hamas and that such funding should be put under review following its attack on Israel.

On Saturday, over a thousand Hamas terrorists attacked southern Israel, using rockets and other explosives. The border was breached along the Gaza Strip and many Israeli people were taken hostage. 

As of Thursday, over 1,200 people have been killed in the attack. 

Over $50 million in funding is given per year from Ottawa to aid programs in Gaza and the West Bank, including as much as $25 million annually to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). 

Ottawa also funds separate individual programs devoted to promoting women in business to help reduce domestic violence. 

Palestinian security forces in the West Bank also receive training from the Canadian Armed Forces along with several other Western nations.

Although Canada does not provide direct funding to the Palestinian government, certain non-government organizations that do receive federal money may have ties to terrorist organizations, according to David Cooper, vice president of government relations with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. 

“The challenge with that is about who they partner with. We’ve expressed in the past concerns about some of the NGOs and who they (the Canadians) partner with on the Palestinian side,” said Cooper. “There have been cases where they partnered with NGOs that have associations with individuals that have been tied to terrorist organizations.”

While Cooper acknowledged the justification of humanitarian and emergency aid, he asserts that the government must ensure that the money must ultimately arrive at the right place.

Funding to the UNRWA has previously been denounced by another Jewish group, B’nai Brith. 

The group has made calls for the government to stop aiding the agency, citing some of the educational material used by the UN as antisemitic and defamatory of Israel. 

“In light of Hamas’ unprecedented atrocities against Israeli civilians, this is a key time for Canada to re-examine its humanitarian aid to Gaza,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO for  B’nai Brith 

“B’nai Brith Canada has long raised our concerns about the misappropriation of funds in Hamas-controlled Gaza, particularly in light of antisemitic and inciteful teaching materials funded by UNWRA, subsidized by Canadian tax dollars.”

Alex Tétreault, a spokesperson for International Minister Ahmed Hussen, said that while the government condemns the actions of Hamas unequivocally, Gazans still require aid now more than ever since the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel. 

“We will continue to support civilians with life-saving humanitarian aid, while ensuring that no money goes into the hands of Hamas,” wrote Tétreault in an email to the National Post.

“Canada has a no-contact policy with listed terrorist organization Hamas. Moreover, no Canadian assistance is provided directly to the Palestinian Authority,” he continued.

A yearly average of $55 million is given from the Canadian government to support Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, according to Tétreault.

“The department exercises enhanced due diligence and uses anti-terrorism clauses in partner agreements to prevent funds being diverted to terrorist groups,” he said. “These efforts are continuously reviewed to adapt to changing times and rapidly evolving situations.”