Summary:

  • Many of the "civil society" organizations funded under the European Commission's Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) are active participants in the Durban strategy that exacerbates the conflict and promotes campaigns against Israel.
  • In the most recent round, support for five projects and associated NGOs was renewed including the tendentious activities of ARIJ, Ir Amim, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, and Panorama.
  • After eight years of funding, support for ICAHD – a radical Israeli NGO – was not renewed. The EC had been ICAHD’s main source of support.
  • The PfP website features the "Words Can Kill" project, jointly implemented by Israeli NGO Keshev and Palestinian NGO Miftah (2005-6 grant). Miftah's website is a forum for demonization of Israel and "disseminate[s] the Palestinian narrative and discourse globally," making a mockery of the EC's stated goals of a "culture of moderation, tolerance, and understanding."
  • "Phase III" of an ARIJ project "aims at disseminating information on Israeli colonization by monitoring Israeli colonization activities through the collection of primary and secondary data and the analysis of colony’s land use changes." EC support contrasts with the "partnerships for peace" rhetoric, and the information appears to be used to bolster the Palestinian side "in the course of negotiations."
  • Funding for Ir Amim's "Final Status in Jerusalem" project constitutes an attempt by EC officials to manipulate Israeli democracy to conform with the dominant EU "political vision."  Jerusalem is the most sensitive and explosive dimension in the conflict, and this funding is particularly volatile.      
  • Participants in Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII's project adopt the Palestinian narrative and use the rhetoric of "colonizing," "massacres," and "ghettoizing." Project publications repeat unsubstantiated allegations of Israeli violence and "poisoning pasture[s] and water tanks."

Introduction:
 

In late-January 2009, the European Commission (EC) published its list of 2007-8 grantees under the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP). As NGO Monitor analyses have demonstrated, many of the "civil society" organizations funded under this program in 2004-5 and 2005-6 are active participants in the Durban strategy that exacerbates the conflict and promotes campaigns against Israel (see detailed documentation in NGO Monitor's publication Europe's Hidden Hand, April 2008).

As in the past, the basis and criteria by which the EC officials chose to fund these particular organizations and their projects, while not funding others, remains hidden. This lack of transparency in this and other funding for political NGOs continues to violate the EC's own rules. NGO Monitor continues to await the EC's responses to NGO Monitor’s requests to make the relevant documents publicly available.

On the positive side, radical Israeli NGO ICAHD (which, among other activities, led boat trips in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza while rocket attacks against Israelis continued) did not receive another PfP grant. EC officials claim that funding to ICAHD, which began in 2000, was ended as scheduled with project completion. But after eight years of close cooperation, this change reflects a policy reversal, for reasons and in a process that remain hidden from the public. Indeed, ICAHD announced a "real [financial] crisis" after its "request for re-funding [was] rejected." By providing the majority of its budget, the EC enabled ICAHD director Jeff Halper and others to promote anti-Israeli boycotts and similar activities that contribute to the conflict.

However, in this budget cycle, support for five previous projects and associated NGOs was renewed, in particular, the tendentious activities of ARIJ, Ir Amim, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, the Palestinian Center for Dissemination of Democracy & Community Development (Panorama), and EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East.

Analysis in this report:

 (Note: This analysis does not include EC funding for numerous NGO projects through EIDHR and ECHO. The analysis of these programs will be included in future NGO Monitor updates.)

PfP overview

The EC’s PfP grants to Israeli, Palestinian, and European NGOs provide €5-10 million annually, ostensibly to support "civil society initiatives that promote peace, tolerance and non violence in the Middle East." But the "Examples of projects" on the PfP website, which presumably represent the EC's vision for appropriate initiatives, suggest that these goals are not being met.

One featured project from the 2005-6 grantees, entitled "Words Can Kill," is jointly implemented by Israeli NGO Keshev and Palestinian NGO Miftah. According to the EC, these NGOs promote a "discourse free of incitement, prejudice and dehumanization of the other in Israel and Palestine." In sharp contrast, Miftah's website is a forum for demonization of Israel and "disseminate[s] the Palestinian narrative and discourse globally."  For instance, during the fighting in Gaza, Miftah referred to Israeli "atrocities" and "massacres." An opinion piece published on January 8, 2009 declared, "Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians," and denounced defense of Israeli actions as "scandalous fabrications." In these and countless other examples, Miftah makes a mockery of the stated goals of a "culture of moderation, tolerance, and understanding." PfP-funding for Miftah raises serious doubts about proper oversight and auditing procedures by the European Commission. 

Importantly, while the listing below aims to be comprehensive, the EC and the PfP database are not transparent regarding NGO partners.  Therefore, additional politicized NGOs may be involved in PfP projects.

Projects that are counterproductive to promoting peace based on compromise

Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (www.arij.org)
Palestinian based

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Monitoring actions and transformations in the Palestinian Territory to develop policies and strategies for conflict management. Action location: West Bank, Gaza. Action duration (Months): 28 months. Grant amount EUR: 374,174. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%. In 2006, EU funding constituted 14.4% of ARIJ's budget.

In 2004-5, ARIJ received a PfP grant in the amount of €499,584 for "Phase II" of this project, which is entitled "Monitoring Israeli Colonizing Activities in the Palestinian West Bank & Gaza" (emphasis added) on the ARIJ website. ARIJ claims that Phase II "included analysis of aerial photos, satellite images, field trips, and case studies that show the dimensions of settlement policies and their effects on the Palestinian environment." The currently-funded "Phase III" of the project "aims at disseminating information on Israeli colonization by monitoring Israeli colonization activities through the collection of primary and secondary data and the analysis of colony’s land use changes."

This use of inflammatory language promotes the Palestinian narrative and erases the context Palestinian violence, incitement and rejectionism that long preceded the 1967 war that brought these territories under Israeli control, and.which continues to prevent an equitable peace agreement. Thus, the EC support is in total opposition to the "partnerships for peace" claimed in the program title.  In fact, it appears that the EU-funded information gathered by ARIJ is used expressly to bolster the Palestinian side "in the course of negotiations."

According to documents, the EC has been funding this ARIJ project since 2000.  Since the EC has not released evaluations of ARIJ's work, the results of this massive amount of funding, and the contribution to advancing peace and tolerance in the "everyday lives and welfare" of Israelis and Palestinians, in far from clear.

However, ARIJ publications that are part of the "monitoring" project include the following quotes:
 

Laje'oon Center (or Lajee)  (http://www.lajee.org/english/main.cfm)
Palestinian based

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Our Voices: Refugee Youth Magazine. Action location: West Bank. Action duration (Months): 36 months. Grant amount EUR: 249,525. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 79%.

This is a new project which aims to "establish[] a network... across the West Bank from areas that the Occupation has fragmented from each other" and "produce a quarterly bi-lingual magazine (in Arabic and English)…entirely produced by young refugees, aged between 13-17." Laje'oon's Projects Coordinator has referred to the "Israeli regime of Apartheid, colonization, and belligerent occupation" and Israeli "policies of injustice perpetuating the plight of refugees." And the Center's director contextualized the project in terms of "60 years after the issuance of UN Resolution 194 declaring the Right of Return, after more than 60 years of on-going Nakba, and after the continued failure of the international community to protect and enforce our rights."  Past issues of the publication include an image of the security barrier highlighting the word “apartheid” and a photo of two generations of “refugees” holding a key ostensibly to symbolize their “property” within the 1948 boundaries of Israel.

Use of this demonizing rhetoric by NGO officials and past issues suggest that the magazine will promote a rejectionist Palestinian narrative, not peace or understanding. The reasons for the EC's funding decision are far from apparent.

Ir Amim (http://www.ir-amim.org.il/eng/)
Israel

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Keeping the options open for final status in Jerusalem. Action location: Israel, West Bank. Action duration (Months): 24 months. Grant amount EUR: 397,839. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%. According to documents from the Israeli Registry of Non-profits, the EU provided 42% of Ir Amim's budget in 2007.

Ir Amim received  €475,160 in 2004-5 for a similar project on "obstacles to Final Status in Jerusalem." The EC has not published any evaluation of the outcome or impact of the previous funding, and it is impossible to assess whether the stated goals were achieved. 

Ir Amim opposes Israeli policy through "legal advocacy aimed at halting or mitigating unilateral actions that harm the fabric of life in Jerusalem, and create obstacles to reaching an agreed-upon future for the city and the region." Also advocates and campaigns for the Palestinian position on Jerusalem, designed to influence foreign journalists, diplomats and opinion makers, and to promote a the-Palestinian narrative on Jerusalem. The funding for this project constitutes an attempt by a group of EU officials to directly interfere with the internal affairs of Israel, and to manipulate Israeli democracy to conform with the dominant EU "political vision."  Since Jerusalem is the most sensitive and explosive dimension in the conflict, this funding is particularly volatile.      
 

Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII (http://www.apg23.org/)
Europe (Italy)

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: So Far So Close II – the conflict transformation in the most marginalized area of the West Bank. Action location: West Bank. Action duration (Months): 24 months. Grant amount EUR: 151,456. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%. 

Part I of this action received a PfP grant of €66,000 in 2005-6.

Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII's project in the region is with Palestinian villagers through "Operation Dove (Colomba)." Showing total support for the Palestinian narrative, the purpose of Operation Dove is "go to live with the people most affected by the violence of the conflict (the poor, children, elderly, women)…the victims of the conflict." Palestinian violence is ignored.

The program's website tendentiously describes the "annexation wall" and "continue[d]…violent actions of the settlers national-religious population to violent assault, indiscriminately men, women, old people or children, use of firearms to drive people out of camps, theft of crops and herds, death threats, poisoning pasture and water tanks; ban on the use of roads." Program participants use the rhetoric of "colonizing," "massacres," and "ghettoizing" in blog postings.

In the project summary publication for Part I of this action, entitled "So Close, So far, Nonviolence in the South Hebron Hills" (the cover of which includes the EU logo), this NGO repeats unsubstantiated allegations: "Settlers have destroyed caves, poured poison inside water tanks, spread poison on fields, and prevented Palestinians from accessing their fields" (pp. 9-10). The booklet also promotes the positions of Israeli soldiers, such as Itamar Shapira, who refuse to serve as reservists in the IDF (19). In contrast, this booklet includes very limited mention of the Palestinian terror attacks and their impacts.

During the January 2009 fighting, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII promoted a protest against "the slaughter in Gaza." This Italian NGO also provides funding to the Alternative Information Center (AIC), an NGO the promotes anti-Israel boycotts and demonization.

NGOs and projects that require careful monitoring by the EC and independent evaluation

Heinrich Boll Stiftung (http://www.boell.de/service/home.html)
Europe (Germany)

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Beyond Managing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Demonstrating the effectiveness of a conflict sensitive social transformation approach. Action location: Israel, West Bank, Gaza, EU States. Action duration (Months): 24 months. Grant amount EUR: 320,000. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%.

The Heinrich Boll Stiftung is affiilated with the German Green Party, whose "main tenets are ecology and sustainability, democracy and human rights, self-determination and justice." While claiming to be a "green think tank," Heinrich Boll Stiftung has demonstrated a pronounced pro-Palestinian bias in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In November 2007, the Heinrich Boll Stiftung sponsored a conference on "the environmental problems of the Middle East," and one of the speakers discussed Israel's "illegal" (p.15) use of Palestinian water resources. Another conference was a tribute to Edward Said, who opposed the Oslo peace process.

Israeli partners include political and highly politicized groups: Mossawa, Meretz, Arab Center for Alternative Planning, and Combatants for Peace, thus providing another example of the EC's effort to use PfP as a façade to manipulate Israeli democracy.

Palestinian Center for Dissemination of Democracy & Community Development (Panorama) (http://www.panoramacenter.org/)
Palestinian based

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Building the Peace Constituency: Outreach and Capacity Building. Action location: Israel, West Bank, Gaza Action duration (Months): 28 months. Grant amount EUR: 374,174. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%.

This is also a continuing project, following the award of €500,000 in 2004-5 used for creating the  "Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum," claiming to "validate[] and reinforce[] the efforts of the various Peace NGOs both independently and mutually." 

The second phase claims to "position the Forum as a gateway to resources for media, academia, decision-makers etc. in peacebuilding issues," creating an "Internal Israeli Committee" to "address[] security authorities regarding obstacles to cross-border peacebuilding work," and "Action Groups" to "advance[] a specific topic or promoting change." The "ultimate outcome" of this phase is "empowerment of members through the provision of professional skills and resources that improve their ability to achieve their objectives, promote their activities and amplify their voices in the public sphere. [1

The NGO network claims to "focus [] on Peace NGOs," and many of the participating NGOs -- including Bat Shalom, Machsom Watch, Keshev, Yesh Din, Gisha, and others -- have aggressive political agendas that oppose Israeli policy.

Sikkuy (http://www.sikkuy.org.il/english/home.html)
Israel

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: A Seat at the Table – an action to map the obstacles to equality between Jewish and Arab-Palestinian citizens on government ministries policy and to develop inclusive practices for shaping equality policies. Action location: Israel. Action duration (Months): 36 months. Grant amount EUR: 394,713. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 71.50%. Based on Sikkuy's projected fundraising, the EU grant represents 15-20% of the annual budget.

Sikkuy claims that "A Seat at the Table" (p.8-9) "[m]ap[s] the barriers to equality, and the processes and thought patterns in five government ministries (housing, interior, welfare, health, justice) that lead to discrimination against Arab citizens" and intends to "[r]e-orient the policy in government ministries toward equality between Jews and Arabs."  Sikkuy wants to "[d]evelop policies, procedures, and criteria within each ministry concerning the specific needs of the Arab population and mechanisms for insuring equal distribution of resources, allocations etc. from each ministry." 

Sikkuy achieves its goals "advocacy," "local government" and "grassroots" projects in order to "to mobilize a transformation of the relations between the state and the Arab minority in Israel."

While Sikkuy attempts to bring its agenda to "the center of discourse in the Jewish sector" and is "staffed by Arabs and Jews," there are no indications that Sikkuy engages the wider Jewish population in dialogue about peace and coexistence.

Mercy Corps (http://www.mercycorps.org/)
Europe

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Investing in Peace: Palestinian-Israeli Engagement through ICT Business Cooperation. Action location: West Bank, Israel. Action duration (Months): 24 months. Grant amount EUR: 364,585. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 72%.

Mercy Corps' mission is to "alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities...amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds." This project does not appear to promote a political vision.

However, other Mercy Corps activities are problematic. It publishes a blog for "youth voices from Gaza"; one participant writes, "[w]hat happened proved that Israel did not differentiate between civilians and fighters. For Israel we are all the same, we are all Palestinian. Hence, most of those killed were civilians. Therefore, we must always remember our common goal as Palestinians." Mercy Corps also partners with Oxfam, a major international NGO with a consistent anti-Israel bias.

NGOs and projects that do not show a consistent bias and may be constructive

EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (http://www.foeme.org/)
Palestinian and Israel

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Implementing cross border community geographic information system (GIS) to enhance environmental protection and peace building. Action location: Jordan, West Bank & Gaza, Israel. Action duration (Months): 24 months. Grant amount EUR: 399,872. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%.

A continuing project: a PfP grant of €500,000 was awarded to EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East in 2004-5 for an action with Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian "neighbouring" communities about "sharing a common water source, promoting environmental awareness and peace building." 

The 2007-8 grant finances the original project with an additional component, the use of "Geographic Information System" technology for participating communities to create "environmental hazard maps" to "to advance cross border understanding and cooperation over shared water issues." 

Regrettably they have issued statements such as, "[t]he Israeli authorities have a single minded focus on security that goes beyond any test of reason." Also advocates to "prevent the Separation Barrier from being built beyond the Green Line"; this position is advanced because the barrier would prevent "cooperative work."  

Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (http://www.hss.de/homepage-e.shtml)
Europe

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Raptor pest control as a sustainable resource management model in the Jordan Valley in support of the Middle East peace process. Action location: West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Jordan. Action duration (Months): 36 months. Grant amount EUR: 367,715. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%.

Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung works in Germany to "foster the democratic and civic education of the German people on the basis of Christianity" and abroad to "foster international attitudes and understanding between nationalities." Projects in the Middle East have included activities in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon with the aims of using adult education to reduce poverty, advance "women's opportunities," and "convey basic values such as tolerance, democracy and co-existence in order to promote the peace process in this region." 

Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung also works to "Support[] Minorities and Socially Marginalized Groups in Israel and the Palestinian Territories," including programs for the Bedouin community, especially Bedouin women. There are no indications that these projects, and in particular the PfP-funded "raptor pest control" action, are politically biased.

Community Advocacy (http://www.advocacy.org.il/)
Israel

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Creating a dialogue of Human Rights: Development of a cross cultural mode towards the empowerment of disadvantaged residents in Lod, Amman, East Jerusalem. Action location: Israel, Jordan. Action duration (Months): 36 months. Grant amount EUR: 270,984. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%.

Community Advocacy calls itself a "community organization that works to strengthen the awareness of residents concerning their social rights, so they access and promote their social rights as an expression of their empowerment as individuals and as a community," and claims that its primary goal is "to teach residents to advocate on their own behalf or on behalf of their neighbors."  Community Advocacy focuses on poverty, unemployment, "Bedouin outreach," and other issues in the region. 

Un Coeur Pour La Paix (http://www.uncoeurpourlapaix.org/)
Europe

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Let us live together. Action location: Israel and Palestine. Action duration (Months): 12 months. Grant amount EUR: 399,684. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 80%.

Un Coeur Pour La Paix (One Heart for Peace) works with Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem to provide surgery for Palestinian children who suffer from congenital heart disease.

Ben Gurion University of the Negev (www.bgu.ac.il/)
Israel

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: The Israel Jordan Integrated Emergency Medical System Concept. Action location: Israel, Jordan. Action duration (Months): 36 months. Grant amount EUR: 380,664. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 50%.

Ben Gurion University is an Israeli university located in Be'er Sheva in southern Israel. No specific information on the project was found, but there is no indication that it will pursue a political agenda.  

Hapoel Tel-Aviv Education and Society Enterprises (http://www.hapoelta-fc.co.il/)
Israel

  • PfP-grant (2007/8): Action title: Football: Our common ground – promoting coexistence between Israeli and Palestinian youth through football. Action location: Israel, West Bank. Action duration (Months): 36 months. Grant amount EUR: 352,009. Percentage of total eligible actions costs (%): 75%.

The HaPoel Education and Social Project claims to combine studies and football to "combat violence, develop leadership, and nurture living a healthy life."  The participants are Jewish and Arab youths, and informal educational activities "deal with stereotypes and promote tolerance and understanding."  The children study Hebrew, math, English, and play football (soccer) on "mixed" teams.
 

Notes:

[1] Panorama's PfP 2008 grant application.