The Failed European Experiment in Pooled Funding for Palestinian NGOs
A number of Western Europe have provided significant funding to ostensible Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) for economic development, promoting peace, and human rights. In examining the origins and history of these links, the establishment and operation of a series of pooled funding mechanisms specifically for supporting Palestinian NGOs, beginning in 2005, marks a significant development. The declared objective for these joint mechanisms was to increase the efficiency of the budgeting process, and included relegating much of the decision making process to Palestinian actors. Extending through 2017, three different such frameworks were formed, involving the pooling of budgets, decision making processes, and management and accountability-to the extent that this existed. Each was subsequently dismantled under a cloud of criticism and problematic practices, including the absence of transparency and oversight. Departures from the principles of good governance, which often accompany European funding for foreign political NGOs, particularly in the case of Palestinian recipients, were compounded, and the officials of partner countries left the evaluation and budgeting processes to unaccountable external contractors. Of particular note is the fact that the main grantees are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, (PFLP), which is listed by the European Union as a banned terror group. This article presents the available information on these sui generis NGO funding pools, and the questions that remain regarding decision making, due diligence and oversight.