Thursday, February 11, 2016

  • Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
We have noted a number of times that part of any real peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs would necessarily mean that they work together in joint projects.

It just so happens that Palestinians call such any co-existence projects "normalization with the Zionist enemy" and consider it practically a crime.

Yet there are idealistic Jews who keep trying to build programs for real peace - the Peres Center in particular works hard on this.

USAID tries to fund programs that encourage conflict resolution between the sides as well:
Today [November 10 2015] USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission and U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv announced 15 new grants to the Conflict Management and Mitigation Program [three managed by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv and 12 managed by USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission]. The new grants bring together Israelis and Palestinians and provide opportunities to address issues, reconcile differences, and promote greater understanding and mutual trust by working on common goals such as economic development, environment, health, education, sports, music, and information technology.

USAID West Bank and Gaza Mission Director Dave Harden noted “These grants represent our investment in support of partners who strive for peace and a better, more hopeful Middle East”

The CMM Program is part of a worldwide effort to bring together individuals of different backgrounds from areas of conflicts in people to people reconciliation activities. Since the program’s start, USAID WBG and U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv have invested in 99 CMM grants.

So programs that encourage grassroots cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians do exist, even if practically all of them are initiated from the Israeli side and the PA fights tooth and nail against them.

Which makes this answer to a question in the UK Parliament so interesting:

Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
Asked on: 05 February 2016
Department for International Development
Israel: Palestinians
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department has provided to projects fostering co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr Desmond Swayne
Answered on: 10 February 2016
DFID does not directly fund joint Israeli-Palestinian programmes. However, through the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), the UK provides support for the ‘Youth Creating Peace On/Line’ project which encourages educational cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis. The project, run by NGO ‘Kids Creating Peace’, uses dialogue and leadership workshops to train participants to become peace advocates in their communities and beyond. The UK is providing £40,000 to ‘Youth Creating Peace On/Line’ for 2016/17.
DFID provided £349 million in support of Palestinian development from 2011-15 and will provide a further £72 million in 2015-16. For a breakdown on how financial assistance in the Palestinian Territories is spent, information is published on DFID’s Development Tracker website (https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk).
I couldn't find any specific mention of "Youth Creating Peace On/Line" project within the Kids Creating Peace website, but from its name it sounds like it might be is an Internet-only initiative and not one of KCP's projects that bring Israeli and Arab youth together. I could be wrong.

Either way, that is a pretty poor track record on conflict resolution initiatives from the UK. £40,000 in five years is practically nothing, especially compared to "£349 million in support of Palestinian development" - 1/100 of 1%.

It looks like instead of fighting against the absurd Palestinian Authority's anti-peace stand, the UK has largely bought into it.

(h/t David F)


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