Israel: Expenditure

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Conservative, Harlow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department paid to (a) B'Tselem, (b) HaMoked, (c) Yesh Din, (d) Ir Amim, (e) Bimkom, (f) the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, (g) the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, (h) Gisha, (i) Association for Civil Rights in Israel, (j) Peace Now, (k) Mossawa and (l) Breaking the Silence in each financial year since 2005-06; for what purposes those payments were made; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's spending on each such programme or project undertaken by each such organisation.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The tri-departmental Conflict Pool and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Bilateral programme funds support the Government's aim of reducing conflict in the middle east and North Africa region in order to help safeguard British national security. Our Conflict Prevention programmes in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are jointly managed by the FCO, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. They work to improve the political environment in support of the peace process, including tackling difficult issues such as settlements and alleged human rights violations on both sides. Our Bilateral programme strengthens our relations with countries in the middle east and North Africa region. We work with both the Palestinian Authority to enhance their capacity for tackling violence and with Israeli institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Many of the initiatives we support work to promote equality and human rights, build trust between communities, reduce violence inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories and advance peace. The NGOs we work with have helped to raise awareness of Israel's obligations under international law with regard to settlement activity and human rights violations. They also work to ensure due legal process is adhered to by Israeli authorities. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of all programmes is a requirement for all our funding commitments. Since we began supporting these programmes there have been a number of changes to Israeli civil and military judicial practice and decisions, and increased public debate on these issues.

A vibrant, independent and diverse civil society is one of Israel's great strengths and we believe that continuing British support will assist in strengthening democratic processes. By raising awareness and creating an environment where people are able to learn more about the situation and realities on the ground, the projects we support play a crucial role in creating sustainable conditions for peace.

Of those NGOs referred to in my hon. Friend's question, the following have been funded through our Conflict Prevention programmes (the Middle East and North Africa Conflict Pool-MENA CP):

B'Tselem

Project purpose: Using film and video documentation as a tool for accountability to improve the human rights situation in the west bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Funding: 2010-11-£135,000 (provisional allocation).

B'Tselem & HaMoked (jointly)

Project purpose: To support freedom of movement for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories through legal and administrative action, advocacy and public education. Funding: 2005-06-£140,000, 2006-07-£150,000.

Yesh Din

Project purpose: (2006 to 2008) Using legal action and public advocacy to challenge and ensure compliance with due process within Israeli military courts.

Project purpose: (2008 to 2010) To challenge Israeli settlement construction and increase Palestinian access to lands in the west bank through legal actions and public advocacy. Funding: 2006-07-£55,529, 2007-08-£74,256, 2008-09-£125,000, 2009-10-£142,000, 2010-11-£83,755 (provisional allocation).

Ir Amim

Project purpose: To influence the nature and quality of public policy debate and ultimately Israeli policy in line with political options for a sustainable two-state solution. Funding: 2005-06-£70,000, 2006-07-£100,133, 2007-08-£60,000, 2008-09-£127,850.

Bimkom

Project purpose: (2006 to 2010): To provide comprehensive information on the planning situation of Palestinian villages in Area C, to support the prevention of house demolitions and improve living conditions of residents. Funding: 2006-07-£11,366, 2007-08-£45,956, 2009-10-£22,978.

Gisha

Project purpose: To use legal actions and public advocacy to support free movement and access to goods, and to document human rights violations in Gaza. Funding: 2008-09-£70,010.

Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)

Project purpose: (2006 to 2008) To raise awareness of Israeli obligations under international law to safeguard the rights of Palestinians in Hebron, through public advocacy and legal actions.

Project purpose: (2008-2009) To raise awareness of Israeli obligations under international law to safeguard the rights of Palestinians and to reduce incidents of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Palestinians in the west bank through public advocacy and legal actions Funding: 2006-07-£42,000, 2007-08-£36,742, 2008-09-£73,000.

Peace Now

Project purpose: To record, highlight and challenge settlement expansion activities, through legal action, public advocacy and dialogue with Israeli officials. Funding: 2006-07-£109,990, 2007-08-£52,696, 2008-09-£117,000, 2009-10-£100,000, 2010-11-£93,000 (provisional allocation).

Breaking the Silence

Project purpose: To raise international and Israeli public awareness of human rights violations in the Hebron area. Funding: 2006-07-£19,144, 2007-08-£32,856, 2008-09-£26,701, 2009-10-£56,455, 2010-11-£74,434 (provisional allocation).

Two of the NGOs referred to were supported by our bilateral programme funds. They were:

Bimkom

Project purpose: (2005-06): To investigate planning considerations of the route of the Separation Barrier and assist Palestinian communities to raise concerns. Funding: 2005-06-£30,000.

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)

Project purpose: To increase legal aid and advocacy work in cases of alleged torture and to support adoption of a human rights-based agenda. Funding: 2006-07-£15,000, 2007-08-£29,955.

Israeli Committee against House Demolition (ICAHD) and Mossawa have not been funded by either the MENA CP or the FCO Bilateral programme fund.

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