Canadian Prime Minister in first Middle East visit: Canadian assistance to Palestinian Authority

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

During his visit to the Middle East, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated Monday his country will provide the Palestinian Authority (PA) with C$66 million in assistance. Harper's visit, expected to last four days, includes meetings in Israel as well as with the PA.

File photo of Stephen Harper in 2010.
Image: World Economic Forum - Remy Steinegger.

The Harper goverment says Canada, since 1993 when the Palestinian Authority was established, has given the PA assistance worth C$650 million; and the current assistance aims to support the Palestinian peace process, security, and humanitarian aid.

Harper's visit included a view of Old Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives and a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. In his visit to Israel, Harper met with the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and became the first Canadian Prime Minister to give a speech at the Israeli parliament. Also, he met with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah. During the meeting Harper announced providing the assistance.

At a joint press conference with Mahmoud Abbas, Harper said his position isn't Israeli or Palestinian but Canadian, and added he won't criticize Israel during his first visit to the Middle East.

However, Dr. Nabeel ShaathFatah's foreign relations commissioner, member of the PLO Political Committee, and former PA foreign minister — criticized the visit and the policy which Harper leads with his attitude towards Palestine in an article for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail and said, "Unlike previous governments, the current Canadian government has done everything possible in order to undermine Palestine's international status [...] and Canada's lobby against Palestine's UN bid have taken Canada outside of international consensus, making Canada part of the problem rather than part of the solution."