On June 8, 2011, in response to a Freedom of Information inquiry, the British government released a table entitled “NGO’s in the Middle East Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.” The document provides details on NGO funding for Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen in 2004 – 2010; information on funding for other countries, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, was not included.
The document excludes details on NGOs regarding which disclosure, in the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s estimate, would “endanger the safety of individuals working for those organizations”; it is unknown how many NGOs fall into this category, as well as the amounts involved. A similarly unknown number of projects involving funding transfers “completed prior to 2008” may be excluded, since “many posts will have destroyed these files in line with the FCO’s policy on retention of documents.”
According to the table, in 2004 – 2010 the UK provided 70 different NGO grants in Israel, West Bank, and Gaza. By comparison, 72 NGO grants were distributed in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen combined.
In 2010, NGOs received the following amounts from the UK FCO:
Bahrain – £3,698
Iraq – £509,503
Israel – £615,183
Palestinian Authority – £501,271
Lebanon – £101,348
Syria – £62,239
Yemen – £163,554
This data were featured in a Makor Rishon article [Ariel Kahane, “Millions to the Israeli Left, Pittance to the Arab World,” October 27, 2011], criticizing the British government for being “very stingy in assistance to human rights organizations in the Arab world” and for “not supporting at all groups related to the Israeli Right” (translated from the original Hebrew by NGO Monitor).