Humanitarian and development aid will continue on schedule to Palestinians as Canadian taxpayers look for reassurance it will be diverted from Hamas.
"We will continue to support civilians with life-saving humanitarian aid, while ensuring that no money goes into the hands of Hamas," said Alex Tétreault, spokesperson for International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen.
He told the CBC in a written statement that none of the $55 million in annual aid goes to Hamas in the Gaza Strip or the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, but directly to Palestinians through international aid organizations.
Other organizations include the UN World Food Programme, Children's Fund and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
That includes up to $25 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports health and education needs, and provides emergency food aid to those with most need.
However, Jewish groups in Canada contend that a funding review is required given that aid money can still end up in the hands of extremists.
B’nai Brith specifically denounced the UNRWA funding and urged the federal government to suspend it, citing concerns that the agency utilizes educational materials that demonizes Israel and condones terrorism.
“In light of Hamas’ unprecedented atrocities against Israeli civilians, this is a key time for Canada to re-examine its humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Michael Mostyn, the group’s CEO, told the National Post.
David Cooper, vice president of government relations with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said no direct ties to Palestinian officials does not excuse those between Islamic extremists and organizations providing aid.
“The challenge with that is about who they partner with. We’ve expressed in the past concerns about some of the NGOs and who they [the Canadians] partner with on the Palestinian side,” he said.
“There [have] been cases where they partnered with NGOs that have associations with individuals that have been tied to terrorist organizations.”
Tétreault assured Canadians that his ministry “exercises enhanced due diligence” by using “anti-terrorism clauses” to divert funds from terrorist groups.
Canada has blacklisted Hamas as a terrorist organization since November 2002.
The government spokesperson said that while they condemn Hamas for the deaths of more than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, Gazans still need aid after Israel declared war on Hamas.
"We are extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation and the impact on civilians," he said. "We will continue to support civilians with life-saving humanitarian aid, while ensuring that no money goes into the hands of Hamas."
With the death toll in Israel continuing to rise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised swift retaliation against Hamas and the Gaza Strip, which the latter has controlled since 2007.
The country said a "complete siege" of the area had begun, including cutting electricity, food and fuel supplies.
So far, at least 1,055 Palestinians have been killed due to Israeli bombardment of the territory.
In an emailed statement, Tétreault reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend its sovereignty.
"Nothing can justify these acts of terror and the killing, maiming and abduction of civilians," he said. "Celebration of these attacks is unacceptable.”
Despite Canada’s continued commitment to aid Palestinians, the European Commission announced "an urgent review" Monday of the European Union's assistance to people in the region.
"In addition to the existing safeguards, the objective of this review is to ensure that no EU funding indirectly enables any terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel," wrote the commission.
"[We] will equally review if, in light of the changed circumstances on the ground, its support programmes to the Palestinian population and to the Palestinian Authority need to be adjusted," they added.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also condemned Hamas for their attacks in Israel, but says they will continue to provide humanitarian aid to "those impacted by violence."
The agency has provided nearly $250 million in assistance to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to bolster stability.
"We work through trusted and vetted international organizations and NGO partners and in coordination with Israeli authorities," wrote the agency, adding that none of their aid goes to or through Hamas.