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Press Release by the Canadian Embassy, Tel Aviv, Israel

May 20, 1997

Canadian Ambassador, Mr. David Berger and UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Dr. Mohammed Abdelmoumene today welcomed a group of heads of household of Palestinian refugee families when they crossed into Gaza from Egypt at the Rafah International Terminal. They are the second group of refugees to cross in the past month.

At a ceremony later in the afternoon at the Canadian-built community centre in Tel el Sultan, Rafah, Mr. Berger stated that "Canada was very pleased to assist the return of refugee families who have been approved for repatriation within the framework of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Canada and Kuwait, through the Refugee Working Group, have been able to help these refugees return to begin new lives with their family members in Gaza."

Under the auspices of the Refugee Working Group, $US 1.4 million has been provided through the Canadian International Development Agency and $1.0 million from the Government of Kuwait to UNRWA for this repatriation project. The project provides each family with financial assistance for relocation and the building of new homes on plots in Tel el Sultan. To date, 110 families have been assisted. On behalf of the Refugee Working Group, Mr. Berger acknowledged the support of UNRWA for its untiring efforts in support of Palestinian refugees in the region.

Canada Camp is a Palestinian refugee camp in Sinai, southwest of the Gazan city of Rafah. In the early 1970s, some areas of Gaza were cleared for road construction. The Palestinian residents of the area were relocated to the former Canadian contingent camp in Israeli-occupied Sinai, which had been set up as part of the United Nations Emergency Force following the 1956 Suez crisis.

For further information, contact:

Larry Bennett
Head of Development Assistance
Canadian Embassy
Tel Aviv

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