A dramatic report in the Jerusalem Post claiming that Canada had a deal to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees was false, according to the federal government.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada asked the Post to correct the Sept. 4 article and the paper ran an update later that day.
Originally headlined, U.S. Has Agreement with Canada to Accept 100,000 Palestinian Refugees: Arab Report, the story quoted Al Akhbar, a Lebanese newspaper, as saying that “an official source” in one of the Palestinian factions revealed that there is “an understanding” between the United States and Canada for Canada to receive 100,000 Palestinians – 40,000 from Lebanon and 60,000 from Syria.
There’s a further understanding with Spain to receive 16,000 Palestinians from Lebanon, alongside similar agreements with Belgium and France, the story claimed, quoting the paper in Beirut.
We regularly monitor for online misinformation and disinformation. When false information is being circulated, as in this case, we aim to act quickly to provide facts.
– Mathieu Genest
Ahmed Abdel-Hadi, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, told Al Akhbar that part of the U.S.-brokered “deal of the century” peace plan aims to resettle between 75,000 to 100,000 Palestinians in Lebanon and “displace the rest to more than one country,” the Post reported, adding that the agreements would reduce the cost of migration from $12,000 to $7,000 per person.
Canada has no such agreement with the United States and there are no special programs currently being considered to resettle people from Lebanon or Syria, Mathieu Genest, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, told The CJN by email.
“Canada is a welcoming country to people from around the world, but it is important that people rely on accurate information before starting their journey,” Genest wrote in a statement that was sent to The CJN and the Post.
“Little information is publicly available about who registered or is responsible for the content. We chose to correct the disinformation to remind both prospective immigrants and Canadians that accurate information is available through Government of Canada websites,” Genest continued.
“We have contacted the Jerusalem Post to request a correction to the story,” he told The CJN.
Later on Sept. 4, the Post updated the story online. Headlined, Canada Denies Arab Media Report It Will Take In 100,000 Palestinians, the new story said “the Canadian government rejected the report (in Al Akhbar), claiming that it was false.” There was no acknowledgment that the Post had carried an unverified story from the outlet in Beirut.
“We regularly monitor for online misinformation and disinformation. When false information is being circulated, as in this case, we aim to act quickly to provide facts,” Genest said.
About 40,000 Palestinians have left Lebanon in the last four years through legal immigration. Others have taken illegal routes, the Post’s story noted.
Last month, the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper reported that “hundreds” of Palestinian refugees gathered in front of the Canadian Embassy in the Lebanese capital, decrying their situation in Lebanon and requesting asylum in Canada.