Canada

Harper set to restore funding to Palestinian Authority

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pledge $8 million in funding for the Palestinian Authority on Thursday, marking the end of a Canadian aid freeze to the area, the Canadian Press is reporting.

PM pledges $8 million in immediate funding, to grow to $35 million

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pledge $8 million in funding for the Palestinian Authority on Thursday, markingan endto theCanadian aid freeze to the area, the Canadian Press is reporting.

In exchange for the money, Harper will ask that the Palestinian government,led by President Mahmoud Abbas, crack down on the corruption that exists in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the Canadian Press said Wednesday, citing a government source.

Theaid will quickly be increased to $30 million, the source said.

Harper is to make his announcement in Ottawa during a visit by King Abdullah of Jordan, who has been trying to drum up international support for Abbas.

Canada was one of the first western countries to cut off funding after Hamas, considered a terrorist group by some,won the January 2006 Palestinian election.

The Western boycottwas one of the factors that promptedHamas to form a coalition government with rival Abbas and his Fatahparty in March 2007.

That unity government fell apart last month after Hamas launched a six-day gun battle and seized the Gaza Strip. In response, Abbas ousted Hamas from the unity government, which still has control of the West Bank.

Prior to the western boycott, Canada had been sending millions in aid to the Palestinians — $35million in 2005 alone.

With files from the Canadian Press