Switzerland

Profile

Country/TerritorySwitzerland

Activity

  • The Swiss government funds numerous Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) through the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA/EDA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC/DEZA), and representative offices in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Switzerland indirectly funds NGOs through multiple UN frameworks and aid organizations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Diakonia, and the Swiss church group HEKS.
  • In 2013-2017, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs also received direct Swiss funding through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat), a joint mechanism for funding NGOs, created by the governments of Switzerland, NetherlandsDenmark, and Sweden.1
  • In January 2017, the Swiss government denied requests from a concerned Swiss citizen and NGO Monitor to provide public information about Swiss funding to NGOs in Israel and “occupied Palestinian territory.” The government’s response claimed that “access to official documents is likely to affect the interests of Switzerland in matters of foreign policy and international relations.”
  • In 2019, the Swiss government provided CHF 12 million in direct and indirect funding to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of these groups promote antisemitic rhetoric and have alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a designated terrorist organization by the USEUCanada, and Israel.
  • In June 2017, the Swiss Parliament adopted a resolution to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations so that Switzerland can no longer subsidize, even indirectly, development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in racism or incitement.”
  • In January, 2020, the Swiss government published an evaluation of funding to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza titled “Cooperation with non-governmental organizations in partner countries of international cooperation”:
    • NGO Monitor’s review of this report shows that the evaluation fails to effectively and impartially analyze the distribution of Swiss funds. Instead, the evaluation relies on the self-reporting and opinions of Swiss government grantees.
    • The evaluation does not address the core issue that inspired the mandated review, namely, funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) “involved in racist anti-Semitic or inflammatory activities.”

Direct Funding

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA/EDA) funds multiple Israeli and Palestinian NGOs directly through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC/DEZA), Department of Human Security, Abteilung Menschliche Sicherheit (AMS), the Swiss Embassy in Tel-Aviv, and the Swiss Representative Office in Ramallah. See table below for full funding information.

Swiss Funding to Palestinian NGOs

Swiss Funding to Israeli NGOs

Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat

Indirect Funding

Switzerland also provides indirect funding to NGOs through UN frameworks; the Swiss church group HEKS; and international aid organizations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Diakonia, Association of International Development Agencies, and Islamic Relief Worldwide.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the occupied Palestinian territory

  • In 2018-2020, SDC budgeted CHF 2.1 million to OHCHR for projects in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
  • The funding is “Non-earmarked contribution” and indirectly funding multiple NGOs including Diakonia IHL resource centre (see below), the Independent Commission of Human rights (ICHR), and other “Israeli and Palestinian NGOs supported by Switzerland.”

HEKS

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

  • NRC received CHF 804,751 from EDA (2015-2017) and an unknown amount via a Swiss-funded UN-Habitat project 2015-2019.
  • Norwegian Refugee Council engages in lawfare and international delegitimization campaigns against Israel.
  • One of NRC’s principle projects in Israel, “Information, counseling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks.
    • ICLA’s interventions in Israeli courts and other venues “beneficiary targets” include: “3628 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in the West Bank (West Bank 612 new and 3016 continuing), 40 advocacy briefings given on specific HLP and residency issues (verbal or written), 10 of instances information is submitted to other UN mechanisms, and 75 public interest cases challenging unjust HLP issues.”
  • A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated that the objective of these cases is an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system… as many cases as possible are registered and that as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage.” (emphasis added)
  • NRC works with a narrow selection of political NGOs that promote a one-sided narrative of the conflict in implementing its legal aid and “public interest litigation” related programs. NRC partners with HaMokedJLACSociety of St. YvesTerrestrial JerusalemYesh DinBimkomPalestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, among others.

Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)

Diakonia

Medico International Switzerland

swisspeace

  • In 2018, swisspeace received CHF 109,372 from AMS, of which CHF 85,000 was for a joint project with Birzeit University and PalThink.
  • 2015 newsletter from a Swiss NGO swisspeace mentions the “joint effort between the political directorate of the FDFA, swisspeace, the SDC and in partnership with the UN” towards Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.
    • Swisspeace posted and then deleted a report that “swisspeace together with PalThink for Strategic Studies and the Birzeit University has facilitated meetings between Palestinian civil society.”

2017-2019 Funding to NGOs active in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza

NGO201920182017
AddameerCHF 139,347CHF 118,280CHF 28,063
AdalahCHF 194,922$158,160CHF 116,036
CHF 18,965
AkevotCHF 73,924CHF 77,055CHF 60,000
Al DameerCHF 62,342CHF 62,998CHF 14,879
Al ShabakaCHF 55,787CHF 47,000
Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)CHF 24,005CHF 80,309
Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)CHF 22,771CHF 203,580CHF 230,000
BimkomCHF 22,226$49,000CHF 99,194
Breaking the SilenceCHF 201,400$80,000CHF 106,671
B’TselemCHF 75,367CHF 35,000CHF 66,601
Combatants for PeaceCHF 8,234
Culture and Free Thought AssociationCHF 358,354CHF 229,387CHF 512,126
DiakoniaCHF 496,928CHF 320,877CHF 261,479
Emek ShavehCHF 69,000CHF 70,000CHF 72,000
Gaza Community Mental Health ProgrammeCHF 658,065CHF 418,165CHF 513,762
GishaCHF 74,000CHF 40,000CHF 54,407
HamokedCHF 340,156CHF 276,780CHF 69,498
Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)CHF 7,000CHF 28,000
Human Rights Defenders FundCHF 56,000CHF 67,600CHF 69,635
I’lamCHF 57, 179
Ir AmimCHF 30,000
Islamic ReliefCHF 303,963CHF 232,248CHF 25,255
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)CHF 156,804CHF 141,936CHF 33,192
MasaratCHF 47,158
MIFTAHCHF 175,917CHF 141,936CHF 35,597
Molad$15,000CHF 60,000
Negev Coexistence ForumCHF 64,382CHF 69,955CHF 79,887
Norwegian Refugee CouncilCHF 525,751
Oxfam GBCHF 570,000CHF 1,243,979
PalThinkCHF 100,000CHF 85,000CHF 49,070
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)CHF 334,971CHF 272,575CHF 66,601
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)CHF 159,625CHF 113,223CHF 19,998
Physicians for Human Rights –Israel (PHR-I)CHF 206,371CHF 196,528CHF 66,324
Terrestrial JerusalemCHF 26,117CHF 60,000
Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)CHF 341,114CHF 274,607CHF 54,576

Footnotes

  1. Before 2013, the NGO Development Center (NDC) in Ramallah managed these pooled government finances through its Human Rights/Good Governance (HR/GG) program. (See NGO Monitor’s reports on the previous counterproductive funding via the NDC here and here.)

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