The UK International Development Committee’s report on development assistance to the Palestinians reflects significant reliance on biased NGO submissions and questionable factual claims.  The Committee met with highly politicized NGOs including Miftah and PNGO, during its November 2006 visit to the region and repeated statements submitted by Christian Aid, War on Want and others in its report. The result is a distorted analysis of the obstacles and challenges to development, and a complete disregard for the key concern raised in NGO Monitor’s submission to the Committee – the use of DFID funds to support NGOs whose activities "undermine the policy goals which they are supposed to achieve",  including peace and democracy.



On January 31 2007, the UK International Development Committee (IDC) published its report [1] on Britain’s financial aid to the Palestinians. The report included frequent citations from submissions of highly politicized NGOs including Christian Aid (CA), War on Want, Badil, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Peace Now, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and Physicians For Human Rights –Israel (PHR-I).  It failed to cite NGO Monitor’s October 2006 submission [2] , which detailed the bias and a priori anti-Israel agenda of many of these contributing NGOs . 

The Committee also published a list of the NGOs it met with during its trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in November 2006, which reflects a predetermined political direction.  These include the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), Ir Amim, Miftah, East Jerusalem YMCA, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), B’Tselem and Peace Now.  Despite some awareness of the minimal research capability and politicization of many NGOs expressed by the Committee Chairman in an October 2006 evidence session [3] and quoting from NGO Monitor’s submission, the report’s repetition of numerous NGO claims indicates a complete disregard for this issue, and for the use of DFID funds to support NGOs whose activities do not “alleviat[e] poverty and promot[e] civil society… but rather exploit the moral and political authority of their donors and undermine the policy goals which they are supposed to achieve.” [4]

Below are some examples of NGO influence in the report. See the Appendix  for a complete table of NGO citations in the text.


Examples of NGOs cited in the report


War on Want

The IDC report cites evidence [5] given by War on Want (WoW), stating that there are grounds for suspending Israel’s trade agreement with the EU because of “the undermining of human rights and democratic principles by Israel”. [6]The Committee neglects to mention that WoW (a DFID fund recipient) regularly ignores Palestinian terrorism, misrepresents international law, and promotes apartheid rhetoric to justify boycott, sanctions and divestment campaigns against Israel.  WoW is also currently under investigation by the UK Charity Commission for its extremist political activities, while its December 2006 Christmas Card campaign draws on anti-Semitic themes, explicitly connecting  the suffering of Palestinians with that of Jesus, and implicitly reviving the charge of deicide against Jews.


Christian Aid

Disregarding NGO Monitor’s detailed evidence showing that "Christian Aid’s public campaigns often ignore the complexity and sensitivity of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the core causes of poverty in the Middle East, while promoting anti-Israel propaganda,"[7] CA is cited heavily in the IDC’s report.  The Committee repeats CA’s claim that “despite physical withdrawal… the Israelis remain de facto occupiers [of Gaza] ” [8] and “the occupation is the main obstacle that the Palestinians face on a daily basis and that it undermines the viability of a Palestinian state ”.[9] No mention is made of factional violence between Palestinians, high levels of corruption and the election of Hamas to the PA while the group continues to support terrorism (a policy that led to the cessation of much international aid).

The report also fails to examine the effectiveness of DFID development funding with respect to CA.  There is no discussion of the impact of the £5m yearly contribution that CA receives under a programme partnership agreement, despite its "highly distorted and politicized anti-Israeli activities which directly contradict the policy goals of the DFID and the British Government."   


PCHR, Badil and Peace Now

The IDC report also repeats claims from PCHR and Badil, Palestinian NGOs with radical political agendas.  PCHR (a Christian Aid regional partner) frequently uses politically charged language and selectively applies human rights concepts to demonize Israel and promote a rejectionist narrative. It does not attempt to address the human rights implications of Palestinian terrorism and frequently refers to Palestinian terrorists as "activists" or as "members of the resistance."  The report refers to PCHR’s September 2006 background paper, ‘Impact of the Hermetic Blockade on the Gaza Strip,’ which claims that "[t]he closure of the crossings and complete blockade led to an increase in the poverty and unemployment rates. … This blockade has had unprecedented catastrophic impact on the living conditions of the civilian population." As in other PCHR statements[11], no verifiable sources are provided to substantiate these claims, and the context is completely erased, yet the Committee accepts the NGO’s interpretation.

Badil has a well-documented history of distorting the Palestinian refugee issue to promote its politicized and ideological agenda. In May 2005 Badil’s application for observer status to the UN Economic and Social Council was rejected due to concerns over this issue (it was later accepted in January 2006, following an intense political campaign and over the objections of many members.). Despite this credibility deficit, the Committee cites Badil’s opinion that "the [2006 Lebanon] war led to an expansion of illegal outposts."[12] This claim is in turn based on Peace Now’s report alleging, without evidence, that "the situation in Lebanon gave the government the alibi it needed to excuse its continued shirking of its responsibility for what goes on in the territories regarding the outposts.

Peace Now is an openly political organization, whose agenda clearly influences its interpretation of events.  Furthermore, the reliability of it research was questioned in a November 2006 CAMERA analysis of an October 2006 report, "Breaking the law in the West Bank."  CAMERA found that Peace Now had distorted complicated land laws and that "even if [its] very questionable leaked data is technically accurate, its other “facts,” its analysis, and its conclusions are faulty, and therefore deserve little credibility."  Nevertheless, the IDC cites this ideologically based Peace Now report as evidence that "the property rights of Palestinians have been systematically violated.[13]"  Despite admitting that "we are not in a position to review all the evidence and reach a judgment," the committee did not evaluate DFID’s extensive funding  of Peace Now (£110,000 in 2006/7).  



The Committee’s highly one-sided view of the conflict, and the attribution of blame for poor Palestinian development almost entirely to Israel, reflects its disproportionate and unquestioning reliance on politicized NGOs, and the failure to weigh the detailed and documented evidence provided by NGO Monitor.  The Committee also failed to address the question of how DFID funds are misused by NGO recipients, resulting in a highly inadequate appraisal of the impact of UK governmental aid on development in the PA.


Click here to see the Appendix 



4.NGO Monitor Submission to IDC, p5

5.IDC Report, p21 Ev 197 (War on Want)

6.IDC Report,  p21 Ev 197 (War on Want)

7.NGO Monitor  Submission to IDC p12

8.IDC Report, p27 Ev 98 (Christian Aid)

9.IDC Report, p50 Ev 97 (Christian Aid)

10.NGO Monitor Submission to IDC, p12

11.PCHR regularly publishes statistics with no explanation of methodology. One example of this is their collation of casualty figures from 2000-2006, which lists numbers of deaths and injuries with no explanation of how these figures are reached. A further example provided is figures relating to the destruction of land property.  Although definitions of what constitutes destruction under international law are provided, no explanation is provided of how the specific figures were obtained.  The result is that no independent verification of PCHR’s claims is possible.

12.IDC Report,  p13 Ev 117 (BADIL)

13.IDC Report, p.29