Canada’s new conservative Govt. draws a line in the sand, aid to the new Hamas Palestinian Authority has been cut.
My country finally emerges from decades of socialist slumber, becomes the first nation besides Israel to declare officially that we will not tolerate a Terrorist Government in the Territories. Of course, the US stance is equally clear on this matter, I’m expecting the US announcement will follow shortly..
Yahoo News via AP
TORONTO – Canada said Wednesday it was suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority because the new Hamas-led government refuses to renounce violence and recognize Israel.
It was the first government besides Israel to cut off financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas won the legislative elections in January, and other nations were expected to follow suit.
Hamas formally took power Wednesday, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swearing in its 24-member Cabinet.
Hamas and new Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh insist they won’t soften the militant group’s violent ideology or formally recognize its longtime nemesis.
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that Canada had no choice but to suspend assistance and decline any contact with the new Hamas Cabinet.
"The stated platform of this government has not addressed the concerns raised by Canada and others concerning nonviolence, the recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the roadmap for peace," MacKay said. "As a result, Canada will have no contact with the members of the Hamas Cabinet and is suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority."
With Hamas now at the helm, the cash-strapped Palestinian government faces a crippling international economic boycott,
However, Ottawa emphasized Wednesday that it would continue giving humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through U.N. and nongovernment organizations.
Canada, like the United States, Europe and Israel, considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
Ottawa has said, however, the Palestinian people should not be penalized over the actions of the group and currently provides $22 million in annual humanitarian aid through various United Nations and non-governmental agencies.
Washington has ruled out direct funding for a Hamas-led government, although it will continue to finance humanitarian projects for the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority gets a large part of its approximately $1.9 billion annual budget from overseas sources. Without money from the Arab world, Europe and the United States, a Hamas-led government would be nearly broke.
Hamas leaders have said they will look elsewhere for money and were expected to appeal to Arab states and Iran.
Ottawa is a close ally of Israel, but also a strong proponent of Palestinian statehood. Ottawa conducted its first war games with the Israeli air force last spring, yet condemned Israel when it continued to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
"A clear commitment by the Hamas government to the principles that we and the international community have outlined remains an essential precondition for Canada to resume any assistance to the Palestinian Authority," MacKay said.
Canada’s International Cooperation Minister Josee Verner said Canada "remains committed to the ultimate goal of a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
She said Ottawa makes the distinction between assistance to the Palestinian Authority and the people who have suffered for decades from the daily turmoil of terrorism and poverty.
"Working with our partners and through the United Nations, its agencies and other organizations, Canada will continue to support and respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people," Verner said. "Canada will also continue to work with the voices of moderation within Palestinian society."
[tags]Canada, Hamas, PA, Israel, Aid, Terrorism, News[/tags]