Canadian Federal Court Rejects Refugee Status Application of Palestinian Who Facilitated Terror Payments
In a landmark decision, Canada’s Federal Court has denied a Palestinian grandmother’s application for refugee status because of her work for a foundation that financed so-called “martyr payments” to the families of Palestinian terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis.
The court’s decision on Dec. 8 rejected the application of Khitam Khudeish, an Iraq-born Palestinian who first arrived in Canada in May 2016 on a visa issued by the Canadian Embassy in South Africa. At the time, Khudeish’s husband was serving as the PLO representative in Angola.
Later that year, Khudeish and her daughter filed for refugee status, claiming they would face “religious persecution” if they were forced to return to Iraq.
In its ruling, the Federal Court noted that “central to the assessment of her claim is the fact that from 1984 to 2006, Ms. Khudeish worked for the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] in Baghdad.” Her department was the Palestinian Martyrs’ Families Foundation, a body that funnels monthly payments to the families of terrorists that far exceed the average Palestinian income.
It quoted Khudeish explaining that her work at PLO was “at the department of Palestine Marty’s [sic] Family, this department gave welfare/social assistant [sic] to families of deceased.”
“It was an administrative part-time position,” she continued. “I worked only 10 days out of a month, I would receive a list of names of people to receive financial help, I would distribute the funds and check people’s names off the list who had appeared and received the money, these were usually older women, mainly widows.”
The court observed that Canada’s refugee agency had not regarded Khudeish as a “credible witness,” concluding that she had in fact “made a significant contribution to the PLO’s criminal purpose by issuing the sums of payments and facilitating payments to family members of terrorists.”
The Canadian decision is a further demonstration of international concern at the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-for-slay” policy. Legislation passed by the US Congress in 2018 conditions future American aid to the Palestinians on a verifiable end to the policy.
Jewish leaders in Canada welcomed the decision.
“The Federal Court has struck a massive blow against Palestinian terrorism and in favor of its victims,” said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Governments around the world must take heed of this decision and use all means to pressure the Palestinian Authority to cease incentivizing the murder of Israelis.”