Canada-West Bank/Gaza Strip Relations
Canada's relationship with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the governmental entity in the West Bank and Gaza, is positive and moving forward. Canada recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and supports the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement.
In accordance with the 1993 Oslo accords, Canada’s Representative Office in Ramallah has responsibility for managing the Government of Canada’s relationship with the Palestinian Authority. The Representative Office plays a key role in Canada’s political, trade, and international assistance efforts in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian General Delegation, which opened in Ottawa in 1995, represents Palestinian interests in Canada. Canada has listed Hamas as a terrorist organization pursuant to the Canadian Criminal Code. The Government of Canada has no contact with Hamas.
Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which can only be achieved through a two-state solution resulting from direct negotiations between the parties. Canada aims to uphold and promote the two-state solution by helping to establish a law-based, peaceful, and prosperous society that can ultimately become a state for the Palestinians, and a stable and secure neighbour for Israel.
Canada’s international assistance in the West Bank and Gaza reinforces these goals and is aligned with Palestinian needs and Canadian priorities. Canada supports efforts to help advance the peace process, promote security and the rule of law, stimulate economic growth and deliver humanitarian assistance.
Canada is a strong supporter of Palestinian security sector reform, particularly through Canadian Forces Operation Proteus (which contributes to the mission of the United States Security Coordinator and aims to build the capacity of Palestinian security forces), and also through the deployment of Canadian police officers to the European Union Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support and to Operation Proteus. Canada supports justice sector reform by working in partnership with Palestinian institutions to improve the rule of law. Recent initiatives include providing assistance to improve forensic science and forensic medicine services, and building a courthouse in the city of Tulkarem. Canada has also helped to train judges, and to strengthen public prosecution services and the Office of the Attorney General.
In line with Palestinian development priorities, Canada supports private sector development as a major driver of economic growth, employment and stability. For example, Canada has contributed to improving trade facilitation, business development and market access services and generating short-term employment opportunities. Ongoing work aims to promote economic growth through the development of agricultural value-chains.
Canada also provides humanitarian assistance through experienced partner organizations to address urgent needs of vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. This support includes food assistance, improving access to health services, and building the resilience of farmers and herders to help them maintain their livelihoods.
Pursuant to the Paris Protocol, Palestinian exports to Canada benefit from preferential treatment offered in the 1997 Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). Furthermore, in 1999, Canada concluded the Joint Canadian-Palestinian Framework on Economic Cooperation and Trade with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) on behalf of the PA, which confirmed PA approval of the application of preferential tariffs and any future concessions under CIFTA to goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sectors such as Information and Communications Technology, Life Sciences, and Infrastructure hold opportunities for Canadian businesses within the Palestinian economy.
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