Palestinian NGOs call for halting conditional support

Some donor agencies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are setting unacceptable conditions for providing financial support to Palestinian NGOs. Such conditions include a pledge titled ‘Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing’ that must be signed by Palestinian NGOs prior to entering into funding agreements.

Palestinian NGOs were informed by local American PVOs funded by USAID that they are required to sign both a contract and an annex stipulating that Palestinian NGOs pledge not to “provide material support or resources to any individual or entity that advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in, or has engaged in terrorist activity, including but not limited to individuals and entities”, based on the US Executive Order 13224.

Palestinian NGOs would like to state the following:

a. While NGOs are against any form of terrorism, including state terror practiced by the Israeli army against Palestinians, it is imperative to note that Palestinian NGOs have affirmed their opposition, on several occasions, to any and all acts of violence against civilians whether Israelis, Palestinians or internationals.

b. It is not clear on what basis and upon which criteria the definition of ‘terror acts’ has been set, especially in light of Israeli attempts to portray the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence as ‘violent and terror acts.’

c. Palestinian NGOs are developmental organizations that aid and empower Palestinian society through service oriented activities and awareness raising, based on the principles of democracy, social justice and respect for human rights.

d. The root problem in the West Bank and Gaza remains the continued illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands, and not the work of Palestinian NGOs and their constituencies.

Palestinian NGOs believe that any conditionality in funding beyond the accepted international norms and standards constitutes a violation to the legality of funding, as the Palestinian NGO law prohibits accepting such conditions in pertaining funding from any international body.

We believe the conditions stated in the annex entitled ‘Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing’ and in the contract presented by American PVOs should be considered invalid and be annulled.

Palestinian NGOs remain committed to the overall national and development goals of the Palestinian people and their right to be free from occupation and will continue to honor their role in contributing to the development of a free, civil and democratic society in Palestine.

The Palestinian NGO Network; The General Union of Palestinian Charitable Societies; The National Institute for Palestinian NGOs; “Aman” Coalition for Integrity and Accountability; and The Woman Affairs Technical Committees.

For more information, the PNGO Network, tel: 02-2963847, fax: 02-2963848.