On 25 January 2020, members of the Palestinian National Campaign Rejecting Conditional Funding held another meeting to discuss issues relating to the developments concerning nationally unacceptable political conditions, specifically focusing on the European Union (EU) terms. Discussions concentrated on the position of Palestinian civil society institutions, the position of official bodies and political parties, in addition to further developing the action plan of the campaign.
After refuting the excuses presented by the EU to justify the imposition of these conditions, members of the campaign stressed that this issue is inseparable from the so-called Deal of the Century - which is nothing more than a deal between the United States of America and Israel and their allies. This deal that is already being imposed on the ground, by sheer force and monetary means, is contrary to all international laws and principles, and blatantly targets the rights of the Palestinian people and our struggle. It is understood that imposing these conditions, at this particular time, is part of the systematic policies pursued over the years to distort and disrupt Palestinian civil society. The insistence on the imposition of the ‘Deal’ now is intentional, with the aim of separating civil society from performing its role in liberating Palestine from Israeli colonialism and apartheid. It is evident that in order to impose the so-called ‘Deal’, the Palestinian civil society space and influence must continue to shrink and that it be stripped of its capacities and tools that are necessary in enhancing Palestinian resilience and legitimate resistance.
The members of the campaign understand that refusing conditional funding will come with a high price, a price they are willing to pay, as it constitutes the minimum that should be done to enhance the resilience of our people, and challenge the attempts to silence civil society and bring it to its knees. Accordingly, the members agreed to proceed with the campaign, until the EU agrees to retract the conditions. The campaigns next planned actions that were discussed at the meeting are also outlined below:
1. To enhance and expand the campaign by:
· Forming a focused follow-up committee to communicate with the media and various stakeholders;
· Intensifying its media and mobilization campaign locally and internationally, through social media posts, holding seminars, workshops and tours, and/or issuing leaflets and others tools in preparation for popular actions with civil society;
· Extending the scope to include Palestinian institutions, committees and networks in various parts of Historic Palestine and abroad, to ensure that all Palestinians are aware of what is happening, regardless of where they are, and that actions are not limited to the 1967 occupied territory.
· Issuing an analytical position paper highlighting the funding policies that are inconsistent with the priorities and rights of our people. Specifically, the paper will refute EU claims and justifications, including the claim that the EU’s decision and contracts are universal in nature and that Palestine has not been targeted intentionally; that the conditions are not “new”; that the exclusion of Palestinian civil society from the conditions harms the global image of Palestinians; and that the withdrawal of the conditions violates the EU’s international standing and commitment to fighting terrorism.
2. Calling on the management of each of the Palestinian organizations that have signed by mistake or without being aware of the finer details of the contracts and their calamitous effects, to announce the termination of their contract with the EU immediately.
3. Refusing to circumvent the imposition of the EU conditions through subcontracts, or to form contracts with international organizations to manage conditional funding directed to Palestinian organizations, or to create fake organizations outside Palestine. The campaign rejects these forms of circumventions and believes that they constitute an actual participation in passing the policy of conditional funding, which is both politically and nationally rejected.
4. Rejecting the comparisons of Palestinian civil society to the Palestinian Authority or any of its bodies, that receive or enjoy EU funding - conditional or otherwise - to justify civil society’s acceptance of conditional funding. The relationship of the PA and the EU, and the terms of the Oslo Accords, do not represent a model and a ceiling for civil society institutions. In the liberation process, Palestinian civil society must live up to its position of rejecting these conditions. As such, the Palestinian Authority is required to reject the political conditions that criminalize the resistance of our people, and to clarify its ambiguous position concerning the recent contracts signed with the EU.
5. Renewing our demand for Palestinian political parties, which are an integral part of civil society, to announce their rejection of conditional funding, especially the conditions of the EU.
6. Developing and implementing an emergency action plan to manage the financial state of Palestinian organizations during what is predicted to be a protracted battle - to revive the voluntary work models that disintegrated after long relying on institutionalized funding, and to seek alternative sources and models of funding.
The Palestinian National Campaign to Reject Conditional Funding