Minister Garneau concludes visit to the West Bank

News release

July 5, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded an official visit to the West Bank, where he also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Dr. Riad Malki.

During these meetings, the Minister conveyed that Canada is a firm supporter of the Palestinian people and reaffirmed Canada’s longstanding commitment to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. In recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, Canada continues to work and engage diplomatically with regional partners and the international community to help support efforts toward sustainable peace and security, deliver humanitarian assistance, and advance human rights and gender equality.

The Minister conveyed Canada’s disappointment with the decision to postpone Palestinian elections and urged the officials to hold them as soon as possible.

The Minister placed particular emphasis on helping the most vulnerable Palestinians and the meaningful participation of women and youth in peace and security efforts. In this regard, the Minister announced a commitment of up to $2 million to support grassroots women peacebuilders and women-led civil society organizations working in conflict prevention, as well as up to $1 million to support initiatives that promote democratic practices and foster the participation of women and youth in decision-making processes. These funds are drawn from the $25 million Prime Minister Trudeau announced in May to support Palestinian civilians.

Minister Garneau engaged in a roundtable discussion with Gaza-based humanitarian workers. Moderated by Lynn Hastings, UN Deputy Special Coordinator, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the roundtable presented an opportunity to discuss ongoing recovery and reconstruction efforts in Gaza and convey Canada’s appreciation for their life-saving work.

Minister Garneau also visited the Techno Park at Birzeit University to observe the impact of a $9 million Canadian investment in Cowater International’s Generating Revenue Opportunities for Women and Youth project, established to enhance economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and increase prosperity for low-income women and youth in the West Bank. During the visit, Palestinian engineers and entrepreneurs   delivered presentations on their innovative renewable energy initiatives, which have been selected for seed funding and business incubation services by the Flow Accelerator.

Minister Garneau also met with Palestinian community leaders to hear directly from them on the Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts and to discuss democratic engagement. He also underscored the importance of upholding inclusive democratic processes and human rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. He raised particular concerns regarding attacks on journalists and women. In addressing the death of Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat, the Minister called for transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law.

During his visit, Minister Garneau restated Canada’s long-standing position and concerns that the continued expansion of settlements, demolitions and evictions constitute a serious obstacle to achieving peace and the need for these activities to cease. The Minister also restated Canada’s commitment to a two-state solution, with Palestinian and Israeli peoples living side-by-side in peace and security and with their human rights fully respected. 

Quotes

“Canada reaffirms its longstanding support for the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. We continue to believe that a two-state solution is the path to a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Canada will continue to engage with partners in the region and the international community toward peace and security for all peoples in the Middle East.”

Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Canada is committed to addressing the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinians while advancing the cause of peace, including by supporting the Palestinian people to build the social and economic conditions necessary for a two-state solution. 

  • During the recent conflict in May 2021, Canada publicly urged all parties to take immediate steps to end the violence, de-escalate tensions, protect civilians, and uphold international law. Minister Garneau also called for the absolutely unacceptable barrage of rocket attacks fired by Hamas into Israel to cease immediately.

  • In line with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada provides significant assistance to Palestinians in areas such as humanitarian assistance, growth that works for everyone, inclusive governance and promotion of peace and stability, while also advancing gender equality. 

  • On May 28, 2021, following the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, Canada announced a $25‑million assistance package to support Palestinians affected by the violence in Gaza and the West Bank. The package includes support for urgent humanitarian needs, rebuilding and recovery efforts, and peacebuilding initiatives that advance the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Associated links

Contacts

Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Syrine.Khoury@international.gc.ca

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Global Affairs Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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