Supporting Israeli-Palestinian Civil Society: What is the Future of International Funding?
Huda Abuarquob, Regional director at the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) based in Hebron.
John Lyndon, Executive director of ALLMEP, based in Paris.
Rosemary Hollis, Previously Director of the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme for Palestinians and Israelis and Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at City, University of London.
Hugh Lovatt, Policy fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) organised a lunchtime discussion on the future of international support for Israeli-Palestinian civil society against the backdrop of mounting challenges, bringing together experts, policymakers and civil society representatives from across the field.
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, funding local ‘pro-peace’ civil society organisations has been an integral part of international efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite what such support has achieved, it has not been without criticism; some accuse it of causing the ‘NGO-isation’ of Palestinian civil society, and others claim that the people-to-people activities it encourages are ineffective. Organisations also face increasing pressure by local authorities and attempts by the Israeli government to de-fund them.
As the Oslo-configured two state paradigm comes to an end, does Israeli-Palestinian civil society, and the international money supporting it, need to change? Should it support co-existence or co-resistance? Or is international funding doing more harm than good?
The discussion was off-the-record.
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