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Home > English > NEWS AND ANALYSIS > Trudeau, Restore UNWRA Funding Now: An Open Letter

Trudeau, Restore UNWRA Funding Now: An Open Letter

Monday 5 February 2024, by Michelle Weinroth

Dear PM Trudeau and Minister Hussen,

I am still reeling over your decision to cut aid to UNRWA. What a disgrace! And, this, at a time when the people of Gaza (and elsewhere in the Middle East) are in desperate need of help. Allegations levelled at UNWRA, which emanate (through torture) from the Israeli military, are highly suspicious. They come on the heels of the ICJ’s preliminary ruling and can only be construed as a vicious riposte against the UN, and as an orchestrated political manoeuvre to distract from South Africa’s unprecedented indictment of Israel’s genocidal crimes.

An investigation of the case against UNWRA has barely been launched, yet, as if by Pavlovian conditioning, you instantly join the Western elites, who are only too keen to save Israel from public disrepute by tarring its critics with the anti-Hamas brush. This is an orgy of punishment, and, by partaking in it, you have hurled salt into the wounds of an already devastated population of innocent civilians, scrounging for whatever crumbs they can gather to survive the hell of the Gaza Ghetto.

Your self-proclaimed altruism of offering $40-million in aid to other agencies, which can scarcely match UNRWA’s indispensable role in constituting the veritable lifeline of the Gazan population, is insulting, to say the least. By disabling UNRWA, you have aligned yourself with several deplorable Western powers that have flaunted their cruelty and callous contempt towards an already tortured people. Together with your US and European allies, you have helped to worsen the agony of the besieged Palestinians – innocent civilians who suffer hourly from Yoav Gallant’s starvation policies. The people of Gaza are in their darkest hour and you have forsaken them. Indeed, the lives of thousands of Gazans hang in the balance, and your collusion with Western elites in cutting aid to a most vital relief organization will help push countless innocent people over the edge. By this very action, Canada will be complicit in genocide.

Egregiously ambiguous, if not incoherent, in your response to the ICJ’s provisional ruling regarding South Africa’s case against Israel, you claim to respect the rule of law, yet you are obdurate in your unqualified support of a state that has flouted UN resolutions and conventions from its inception. And thus you perceive the October 7th attacks (significantly aggravated by Israeli Apache helicopters and IDF tanks under the Hannibal Directive) as more heinous than Israel’s murder of 26,000 plus Gazans. (To be clear, this figure does not include the thousands of injured and those who have died under the rubble.) While shocking, the events of October 7, 2023, pale beside Israel’s genocide of an entire Palestinian population. And yet, your reaction is tepid at best. You show no outrage over Israel’s murderous deeds, including its swift killing of 102 UNWRA workers in Gaza, but are inflamed when (undocumented and unproven) allegations emerge from Israel’s security service that 12 staff members of UNRWA were involved in the October attacks. Your preferential treatment of Israel – the state now on trial – is breathtaking.

If, today, there is still only a risk that Israel is committing genocide, the current smear campaign that it has launched (together with Western allies) against UNRWA will certainly increase its chances of being accused of that unspeakable crime against humanity – the elimination of a people, whether in whole or in part. But Israel will not be the only guilty party. Western powers will face their day of judgment as well. By flocking together under the same political canopy, states that continue to support Israel, financially and militarily, will also find themselves standing in the dock, confronting their sins and their sullied plumage.

Sirs: it is in your political interest to listen to those Canadians who are protesting your decision. They are or were potentially your voters and they are incensed by your genuflection at the altar of Israel’s US-and-Western-backed PR campaign, not only to justify but to intensify its ongoing genocide of Palestinians. This latest outrage by Western colonial powers is galling to anyone of conscience. And no suave hypocrisy, no discursive varnish will conceal its vicious inhumanity. By persistently feeding Israel’s killing machine while claiming self-righteously to offer humanitarian assistance, you are abetting the vile starvation policies of Yoav Gallant. Have you no shame, no decency, sirs?

I, along with countless Canadians, urge you to rescind your decision to cut aid to UNRWA. The people of Gaza do not deserve to die on account of some undocumented military allegations against a dozen UNRWA staff – a tiny fraction of the entire personnel. It is time to listen to the many citizens of conscience who are demanding that you change course, that you resist the tide of white supremacy stemming from the US and Europe. It is time that you follow in the footsteps of Ireland, Scotland, Spain, and Norway, and adhere to a morally sound path, one that would lead to genuine justice and material salvation for the besieged Palestinians. These utterly battered people have waited long enough for relief – 75 years to be precise. It’s time you stepped up to the plate.


Michelle Weinroth
Canadian (ex-Israeli) Jew
Ottawa, ON
February 5, 2024

Michelle Weinroth is a writer and teacher living in Ottawa.