Local Assistance and Programs
Canada's relationship with the Palestinian Authority is positive and moving forward. In 2007, Canada welcomed the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in establishing a government committed to non-violence, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements and obligations.
In accordance with the 1993 Oslo accords, Canada's Representative Office in Ramallah is responsible for the delivery of Canada's economic and development assistance to the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian General Delegation, which opened in Ottawa in 1995, represents Palestinian interests in Canada.
Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and the creation of a viable, independent and democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel. Canada believes that a just and lasting peace can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution.
Canada continues to support efforts on the part of the Palestinian Authority and Israel to engage in direct negotiations, in the belief that only direct negotiations can produce a peace agreement acceptable to all parties. Canada is a leading contributor to the development of Palestinian institutions, and is in the midst of implementing a $300 million commitment over five years in support of the peace process and of Palestinian reform and development in the priority areas of security, governance and prosperity.
Canada is a strong supporter of Palestinian security system reform, particularly through Canadian Forces Operation Proteus, which aims to build a Palestinian security force, and through our contribution to the mission of the U.S. Security Coordinator, , and to the European Union Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support. Canada also contributes to the reform of the Palestinian Authority, notably in the justice sector, where it is working in partnership with Palestinian institutions to improve the rule of law. Main initiatives include providing assistance to improve forensic and crime scene investigation services; strengthen prosecution services and the Office of the Attorney General; train judges; build courthouses; and improve access to justice for the Palestinian population.
In line with Palestinian development priorities, Canada supports private sector development as a major driver of sustainable economic growth, employment and stability. In doing so, Canada focuses on helping to develop a more investment-favourable business environment in the West Bank. Additional Canadian assistance is provided in order to address urgent humanitarian needs in the West Bank and Gaza. Canada’s support focuses on improving food security for vulnerable Palestinians, including refugees, and improving access to basic health, education and mental health services for children and youth.
Canada began a bilateral assistance programme in the West Bank and Gaza following the Oslo Accords. Since 1993-1994, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has provided more than $500 million for development initiatives in the West Bank and Gaza, assistance to Palestinian refugees, and support to the Middle East Peace Process.
Over the past several years, the Canada-Palestine bilateral relationship has benefited from increased ministerial contacts. In 2012, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, Minister of Agriculture Gerald Ritz, Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney, as well as numerous provincial and municipal parliamentarians and officials visited their Palestinian counterparts and met with key Palestinian leaders in Ramallah.
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 Palestinian Authority (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. Recent developments indicate that the Information and Communication Technology sector holds the most opportunity for Canadian businesses within the Palestinian economy.
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