Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Sex crimes: help from Ottawa for Palestinian women | Middle East, the eternal conflict

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar15,2024

Crimes sexual relations: help from Ottawa for Palestinian women | Middle East, the eternal conflict

Open in full screen mode

The Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly

The Canadian Press

This week's announcement that Canada would provide funding to Palestinian survivors of sexual violence drew an immediate rebuke from an Israeli official.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly on Tuesday pledged $1 million for women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that her office has described as survivors of sexual violence, whatever the circumstances.

We believe Palestinian women, she said on the social network X. Allegations of gender-based sexual violence against them must be investigated and Palestinian women must be supported .

A few minutes later, Israel's special envoy for the fight against anti-Semitism, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, wrote that this Canadian funding supported the reversal of the facts in matters of blood libel which will fuel the rise of anti-Semitic sentiment.

It is also a betrayal and an attack on Canada's commitment to respect and protect the fundamental principles of life and of freedom, she declared on X.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

Consult the complete file

Middle East, the eternal conflict

View the full file


Mélanie Joly's office did not want to say whether Canada believes that Israeli forces are committing sexual violence against women in Gaza as their war against Hamas continues or whether the funding concerns domestic violence in the Palestinian territories.

To be informed of the latest developments in the conflict engulfing the Middle East, consult our live coverage.

The minister's team has simply stated that the money would go to organizations supporting Palestinian women in the West Bank and Gaza who have survived sexual violence, regardless of the circumstances.

Earlier this week, Joly announced the same amount of money to support Israeli women victims of sexual violence at the hands of Hamas, months after a multipartisan group of former Canadian politicians asked Canada to pledge a million dollars.

It is unclear which organizations will receive the announced funding for women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Last month, a United Nations panel of experts said it was distressed by unconfirmed reports that Palestinian women and girls were being detained in Israel were allegedly victims of sexual assault.

The allegations included reports of rape and threats of sexual assault and strip searches by male Israeli soldiers. UN experts have said they want an impartial investigation into the allegations.

The Center for Israel-Jewish Relations (CIJA) said it was crucial that women were believed, especially those affected by sexual violence during conflicts.

But the Canadian group's president, Shimon Koffler Fogel, warned against any implication of equivalence with the planned Hamas attack that resulted in sexual assaults on Israeli women.

Allegations of gender-based violence should always be carefully evaluated, and Israel has processes and objective safeguards for any allegations of misconduct – the allegations have not yet been reported through these channels, Koffler Fogel wrote.

We are increasingly concerned that these allegations seek to weaponize gender-based violence, he said, a weapon to delegitimize Israel.

Investigations are necessary, but Canada should refrain from comment, judgment and funding until the allegations are objectively founded.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

Related Post