Support for Palestine in Canada

Canadians protest their government's support of the bombing of Gaza and defunding UNRWA

Palestinian supporters protest Canadian government policies in St John’s, Newfoundland on Saturday, February 3, 2024. GREG LOCKE / Stray Light Media.


ST JOHN’S, Newfoundland – As ceasefire negotiations are under way in Egypt, global protests against the bombing and occupation of the Palestinian territories in Gaza and the West Bank by Israel continue. Many western capitals have seen protests with hundreds of thousands of people, but even in a small Canadian city like St John’s, Newfoundland, protesters can fill the streets. On February 3, 2024, they marched to voice their disapproval of Canadian government polices supporting Israel’s assault on Gaza and the West Bank, and the withdrawal of funding for the United Nations relief agency UNRWA.

What is UNRWA

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) was established in 1949 by a U.N. General Assembly resolution, following the war surrounding the founding of Israel, when 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by Israeli militias.

It employs 30,000 Palestinians, serving the civic and humanitarian needs of 5.9 million descendants of those refugees, in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and in sprawling refugee camps in neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon.

In Gaza, it employs 13,000 people, running the enclave’s schools, its primary healthcare clinics and other social services, as well as distributing humanitarian aid. Its services in Gaza have increased in importance since 2005, when Israel and Egypt imposed a physical and economic blockade, causing an economic collapse in a zone with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world and one of the most dense populations in the world.

Collective punishment of civilians

The withdrawl of funding for this agency by western countries was done without proven evidence supplied by Israel, which sees UNRWA andas an obstacle to its total annexation of Gaza, the West Bank and Golan Height. This can only be described as a collective punishment of Palestinian people and for the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas from Gaza.

Canada trades arms and provides financial aid to Israel and has now withdrawn support to a UN agency, based on unproven propaganda from Israel and the USA, which provides medical aid, food and water to the victims of the Israeli bombing of their cities.

UNRWA is the only relief agency with the knowledge, infrastructure and logistics to do this aid work. It also provides the ability for other NGOs and aid agencies to do their work in Gaza. It supports those agencies.

The Canadian government has announced it will increase funding to other agencies instead, but this is disingenuous because those agencies also rely on UNDRA to deliver its aid and relief service.  

Photo by Greg Locke / Stray Light Media


What is UNRWA by Reuters 

The Destruction of Gaza by The Guardian.