The British government, via the Department for International Development (DFID), provides an estimated £80m annually in funds designated for assistance to the Palestinians, and for efforts to further “peaceful reconciliation of the conflict”. The money is channeled via internationally active NGOs, such as Christian Aid and Oxfam, through long-term Partnership Programme Agreements (PPAs); to political groups such as Peace Now, the PLO’s Negotiation Support Unit, HaMoked, and B’tselem; to Palestinian “civil society” groups; and indirectly via the European Union, the World Bank, and UNRWA.
To oversee and evaluate the impact of this funding, the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee is conducting an “Inquiry on Development Assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. The inquiry includes receiving written statements, holding public hearings with invited witnesses, and visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority. NGO Monitor submitted a detailed analysis on the activities of several DFID-funded organizations, providing numerous examples in which DFID support has been diverted towards radical political advocacy. NGO Monitor’s analysis concludes that DFID funds have been invested in projects that directly contradict the funding guidelines of both the UK and the EU: “There is an urgent need to reconsider the transparency and mechanisms of accountability between NGOs and DFID. NGOs have the potential to respond productively to the dual humanitarian crises; Palestinian poverty and hardship, and Israel’s exposure to terrorism. Yet this must be done in a framework that does not tolerate misuse of funds for incitement and rejectionism.”
NGO Monitor’s report and these concerns were cited by the International Development Committee Chair on October 31, 2006, in the public evidence session involving representatives from three prominent NGOs and the UK Board of Deputies. Quoting from NGO Monitor’s report, the Committee Chair raised concern as to whether moderate civil society organizations working in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exist and questioned the efficacy of DFID funding for these organizations.
NGO Monitor’s submission to the UK Parliamentary Committee on International Development can be found in its entirety here.
Further information on the Committee hearings and on DFID funding to NGOs can be found at the following links:
- "UK parliamentary select committee on International Development discusses NGO Monitor’s evidence on Christian Aid and UK funding for NGOs that work in Israel and with Palestinians" – full audio recording
– Complete transcript
– Excerpt from transcript related to NGO Monitor
- Gerald M. Steinberg, "Getting beyond slogans of Palestinian victimization," The Jerusalem Post, November 4, 2006.
- Yisrael Medad’s description of the Select Committee’s visit to his home during their visit to Israel, November 2006
- DFID funding of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs detailed in letter – July 12, 2006 (PDF)
- NGO Monitor Update: DFID January 11, 2006.
- NGO Monitor Update: DFID – November 15, 2005
- NGO Monitor InfoFile on DFID