“Payers” and “Players”: European Institutions, National Governments and Civil Society in the Israeli-Palestinian ongoing confrontation

Gershon Baskin claims that the original People to People (P2P) program was entrusted to the Norwegian government, as an act of gratitude for having handled the Oslo Accords


Marcella Simoni

Marcella Simoni

Since the beginning of the Oslo process (1993) civil society associationism in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories has generally been viewed by various actors – European institutions, national and local governments, major and minor international non-governmental organizations (NGO), voluntary national and international bodies -as one of the main factors which could help transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, contributing substantially towards its resolution. In this respect, the last fifteen years have seen a great deal of expectation and emphasis placed on this social and political actor and on its presumed potential for conflict transformation. In various ways, civil society has been viewed as an instrument to promote governance and transparence in administration and reform in legislation; it has been conceived as a site where to enhance public participation in political processes and where to elaborate local responses to the emergency situation dictated by the continuation of the occupation and by the deterioration of the conflict itself, even during the years of the Second Intifada (2000-2004). In a potentially endless list of positive and progressive functions, civil society has also been seen as the place where social and economic development could be fostered, for example through contact with local administrations, and as a network to promote sustainability -whether in its narrower environmental definition or in a broader sense; last but certainly not least, civil society has become that collective entity expected to integrate from below the top-down approach towards conflict resolution of governments and diplomacies (1). In this respect, supra-national institutions as well as national and regional governments have generally invoked civil society as that instrument which could engrain and cement the so-called peace process into Israeli and Palestinian societies.

This civil society which has received so much attention and assistance – and on which so much hope has been placed – appears however to have been left altogether undefined and undetermined. On the one hand, policy makers and institutions only partially concerned themselves with the lively debate on the nature, structure and characteristics of civil society which has involved academics and scholars since the so-called “associationism revolution” of the 1980s (2), a revival which has turned civil society into a site for political mobilization as well as into an analytical framework. On the other hand, in the same decade and throughout the 1990s, civil society has appealed to those international financial agencies and developmental institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for its (real or presumed) potential to promote good governance and democratization (3).

While it is well known that no consensus exists over one definition of civil society (4), supra-national institutions, national governments and local administrations have increasingly made use of this term and concept in a narrow and restrictive way, without really addressing the question of a definition for such multi-faceted phenomenon and altogether avoiding its nuances and complexity, followed in this process of simplification by press, media and public opinion. Just to give an example taken from the field of EU diplomacy, civil society associationism has been brought into the framework of the ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’ (ENP) as a factor “bringing people together nationally and over the borders”, as an element which encourages the “full participation of citizens” to political processes and as “a fundamental factor in promoting welfare, democracy and human rights” (5).

Although civil society certainly carries the potential for this kind of social and political transformation, it should not be automatically assumed that the whole range of the associations, institutions, organizations, groups that indeed qualify as civil society – for example for their being organized along horizontal linkages of participation, for the homogeneity of the values they promote or for their capacity to negotiate with the State – belong to the progressive and constructive framework which civil society is believed to be. The Arab-Israeli ongoing conflict presents in fact quite a substantial number of horizontal networks and associations which indeed belong to civil society; however, many of them have contributed to amplify and to enhance the dimension of conflict both Israel and in Palestine, often defending conservative and traditional values and stressing the exclusive factors of the associationism they promoted, whether from a religious, cultural, ethnic or national point of view (6).

One of the reasons for the spreading of the idea of an altogether simplified, positive and constructive civil society is to be found in the progressive gaining importance and political space of non governmental organizations (NGO) -whether local or international -during the 1990s and especially after the end of the Cold War, a phenomenon which has been investigated for various countries and from different perspectives (7). In the case of Israel and of Palestine, the rise of civil society – mainly conceptualized as networks of NGOs -as a main character on the scenario of the conflict – and of its eventual resolution – is not only indirectly connected to the end of the Cold War and to the rise of the neo-liberal paradigm, as in other contexts; in a more direct way, it is strictly linked to the ways in which the Oslo process was originally negotiated and to those in which it was supposed to be implemented. Oslo itself was a product of Track II diplomacy (8); civil society – NGOs and grassroots cooperation projects in particular – received a substantial boost from the international financial disbursement to the West Bank (WB) and the Gaza Strip (GS) which followed the signature of the Declaration of Principles (DOP), and which turned Palestine into “one of the most substantial examples of ‘peacebuilding through aid’ of the post-cold war era” (9).

During the last fifteen years, financial aid to WB and GS has clearly taken various routes, both considering the numbers and the types of donors involved (institutional, private, Diaspora based, non-governmental), their agendas and those at the receiving end. Immediately after the signing of the DOP, the international community (twenty-nine national states, the EU and the US) pledged $ 2.1 billion for the period 1994-98 ($ 570 million for the first year). In July 1995, the total amount pledged had reached $ 2.5 billion. Between 1994 and 2004 $ 8 billion (averaging $ 250-400 per capita or 10-30 % of the GDP) were provided to the oPt as foreign aid, “making Palestinians the largest per capita recipients of international assistance in the world” (10).

Civil society was by no means intended to be the only or even the main recipient of this flow of support, which targeted infrastructure, administration and institution building. However, such a disbursement clearly exerted an influence on civil society too. The first part of this essay will thus consider some of the transformations of Palestinian civil society and politics as a result of the pouring of resources after Oslo; I will then move on to analyse the results achieved by cooperation programs geared at promoting peace-building through education, reconciliation and mutual recognition, focusing in particular on the ‘People-to-People’ (P2P) experience. Finally, I will conclude discussing where one can draw the line between civil society cooperation and normalization in the face of the continuation of the Israeli occupation and which kind of civil society cooperation could instead function as an alternative.
1. International aid and Palestinian civil society between emergency relief and development
Most of the literature on international financial aid to the PA after Oslo has variously addressed its quite complex structure, functioning and bureaucracy, the ways it changed in provenance, quantity and destination after 1993 and some of its purposes -whether it responded to emergency relief and/or to development; a part of this literature has analysed the differences in intervention between European, US and Arab states, shedding some light, among other things, on which part of foreign financial aid was pledged (and given) as loans. Other authors have focused on the ways donors’ agendas have influenced Palestinian society and politics, and on the development and/or consolidation of a neo-patrimonial political system in the WB and GS as a result of the pouring of funds, especially in conditions of protracted conflict or of political instability (11). Most of them agree that, although aid has played a crucial role in the past fifteen years in trying to keep the peace process going, the way funds have been channelled and/or used may actually explain how activities and structural improvements intended for peace-building contributed to the management- and at times even the fuelling -of the conflict instead.

At least three questions – which speak of a process of negative transformation -seem relevant to a discussion on the role of international donors in Palestinian society, economy and politics since 1993: in the first place what Karma Nabulsi has called the process of Palestinian de-democratization; secondly, what is usually referred to as the economic de-development of Palestine; thirdly, the widening of the economic, social and political gap between the WB and GS which resulted in the long run in the outbreak of civil strife. Clearly, the volume of funding and the ways in which it has been disbursed during the past fifteen years should not be seen as the only explanation for this process of negative transformation which I will briefly describe below. The continuation – and the tightening – of the occupation following the outbreak of the Second Intifada, the expansion of settlements, the construction of the separation barrier (started in 2003), the checkpoints system, the so-called matrix of control of roads and, finally, the withholding of Palestinian custom revenues by Israel following the electoral victory of Hamas in January 2006, are all factors which should also be framed into the picture. Moreover, the ways in which, traditionally, successive Israeli governments have contributed to further divide a Palestinian leadership already quite fragmented between insiders and returnees and along the lines of political affiliation, have in the long term certainly also played into the latest political developments (12).

a) De-democratization. At the heart of the institutional, political and economic changes which transformed Palestinian life after the signing of the DOP stands the unbalanced relationship between two weak and newly established institutions -the PA and the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) -and an increasingly stronger civil society, buttressed by international financial aid. Both the PA and the PLC – which also tended to overlap in some of their institutional functions – were conceived as temporary structures, whose task was the negotiation of the Agreement’s final status (13). In contrast to their implicit weakness, the already existing and altogether vibrant civil society (which historically had played both a representative role and that of service provider in the oPt) grew apparently stronger. As mentioned above, it received international aid for its presumed and expected role of facilitating inter-community negotiations, engaging in dialogue with the Israeli counterparts, increasing public participation (including women) to the peace process, bringing governance and favouring transparency.

Despite the good intentions behind most of the projects supporting these aims, many obtained opposite results instead. Funded from abroad, the post-Oslo cooperation schemes gradually took the place of the projects which had been carried on by a civil society composed of local associational networks, committees, community associations and the like. While these had in the past responded to the contingent needs of a population under occupation, both from the point of view of emergency and in part also from a perspective of development, foreign funded civil society projects embraced both perspectives at once, however declining them according to the donors’ agenda. In this respect, they contributed to detach civil society from the situation on the ground and from the population’s needs (14). The main emphasis of the first Emergency Assistance Plan (EAP, $ 570 m for 1994) was on small projects with an immediate impact -for example getting electricity or water to villages, expanding schools, completing sewage projects and so on -relying on the existing networks of local NGOs and on developing institutions already working on the field (for example UN agencies, such as UNRWA) (15). However, the developmental approach which followed in later years and which informed many of the projects sustained by foreign funding contributed in the long run to the rise of a political leadership recognised as such by its ability to handle and distribute international funds, a process which also nurtured clientelistic practices and nepotism. The auditing required by donors moreover made these NGOs no longer accountable to Palestinian society, cutting them off from those structures and organizations which had sheltered and represented its plurality until then. The language and the actions of these NGOs, replete with terms and expressions like peace making, dialogue construction, mutual recognition, human and environmental sustainability and so on, further alienated them from the social and political reality, marked by the continuation of the Israeli occupation (16). Finally, the procedures and rules which regulated the mechanism of granting aid transformed these NGOs into a managerial and market-oriented networks and coalitions competing one against the other for resources. A research -whose results are to be shortly published -conducted on thirty-seven donor organizations among the most active in the fields of advocacy and health support between 2003 and 2005 seems to confirm these trends: to a significant increase in the size and volume of funding given by these donors (average $ 3.7m a year) corresponded on the one hand a specialization and/or professionalization of the types of NGOs involved, together with the spreading of a market-oriented mentality of aid management and the survival of larger NGOs (17).

b) De-development – WB and GS. From the point of view of the economic development, the period 2000-2004 clearly constituted a moment of rupture in the oPt, with an impressively quick decline in standards of living, rates and conditions of employment, number and quality of service provision, industrial and agricultural production and so on. While such an economic and material deterioration can be in part ascribed to the tightening of the Israeli occupation, the re-occupation of entire areas of the oPt by the Israeli army in 2002 (operation ‘Defensive Shield’), the construction of the separation barrier, the restrictions of the freedom of movement etc., the semi-complete stall of the Palestinian economy can also be seen in a longer perspective, in the framework of a more general impoverishment of the oPt since the beginning of the Oslo process. As outlined in the previous section, the Oslo years (1993-2000) had contributed to crystallize a model of economic development and of infrastructures building in which NGOs were pivotal and which largely relied on outside sources; in those years the capacity of industry and agriculture to contribute to the Palestinian GDP decreased from 40% in 1994 to 26% in 2000, while employment in the private sector also decreased from 70,6 % to 61,1. During the Second Intifada (2000-2004) foreign donors mainly invested on emergency projects rather than in long-term development ones, as the circumstances required, leaving Palestinian economy and society with limited perspectives for the post-Intifada period. Between 2000 and 2002 the GDP per capita declined by 36 % (18); in July 2005 the overall poverty rate had reached 68 % and the depth of the poverty was severe, with 35 % of the population in a situation of extreme poverty; in the same period, only 40 % of the labour force was employed full-time, one-third was unemployed and one quarter underemployed (19). Food remained the major need of Palestinian households, followed by health care, education and employment. Following the electoral victory of Hamas in January 2006, the international community froze financial aid, while Israel withheld return revenues, leading to a further worsening of the situation.

The socio-economic crisis, the continued delivery of public services and the support by international donors took therefore a different path, which saw a much greater involvement of the EU with the establishment of the ‘Temporary International Mechanism’ (TIM). Started in June 2006, it operated on a first budget of € 300 m (€ 90 m from the European Commission) (20). Devised as an instrument to bypass the international commitment not to aid the PA while being represented by Hamas, TIM aimed at reaching the population directly, paying its salaries for those employed in the public service, providing for households bills, giving monthly allowances for the unemployed etc. In this respect, TIM has been variously judged: on the one hand, it has received wide international praise for realizing on the ground what the international community was no longer able to do; at the same time, it has been accused to be financing a coup d’etat – paying the wages of a population in strike against an administration unable to do so (21). On the other hand, it has also been accused of perpetuating and spreading that sense of dependency upon foreign contributions – and a charity mentality -which appears antithetic to any state-building endeavour (22).

As in other cases analysed above, once again striking the right balance between emergency and development in conditions of protracted political (and military) instability did not prove easy for the international community. After its start as an emergency program, TIM has recently moved towards a more developmental approach, of which civil society – conceived once again generally as a sum of national and international NGOs – is a crucial component. Since 2004 civil society was moreover further enhanced through a new European program – ‘Partnership for Peace’ (P4P, 2000) – which provided over € 100 m to finance more then 200 projects aiming at building the capacity of NGOs in transforming the conflict, so as to create a suitable context for peace negotiations (23). This factor was considered crucial for re-creating “the conditions for re-launching the peace process”, to include a perspective of long-term sustainability and, most of all, to found cooperation on basis of “equality and reciprocity between Arab and Israeli societies” (24).

In this respect, P4P came last in a long series of other programmes also founded on civil society cooperation which had started in the immediate aftermath of Oslo and which aimed at educating towards peace, at promoting reconciliation, at favouring the deconstruction of enemy historical narratives and at building peace, which also benefited from international aid and which, in various ways, survived until today. It is to them that I now turn.
2. The creation of a trans-national civil society. The P2P experience and beyond

It will be seen that they go mad in herds
While they only recover their senses
Slowly, and one by one (25)

P2P programs and activities -institutionalized in Annex 6 of the 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo II) -represented one of the direct and most immediate results of Oslo (26). Over the years, P2P has become a term and a concept inclusive of most kind of activities seeing the participation of Israelis, Palestinians and (often) foreigners, with the aim of helping the peace process move forward. P2P were not intended to materially improve living conditions, foster the economy or contribute to the construction of infrastructures; they were rather conceived to address the cultural question behind the peace process, to contribute to the deconstruction of the ‘Other’ as the enemy through prolonged contact between groups, and (generally) through educational programs geared at young generations. P2P also targeted professionals – especially in the fields of education and health – with two purposes: first, to formalize a cooperation which had been going on in the field for decades, for example in health provision; second, to strengthen civil society ties among middle classes (27). Their purpose was also to tackle a number of socio-cultural issues – among them the role of women in society -which were seen as potential sites for bringing along mentality changes and for reshaping of mutual perceptions.

While P2P may thus be seen as standing outside that cooperative framework analysed above which oscillated between emergency and development, and which looked at civil society as a space for conflict transformation, they are part and parcel of the very same context. Despite their not being linked to any kind of developmental function from an economic point of view, nevertheless P2P were also well positioned to appeal to foreign donors. At the core of P2P stands in fact once again civil society, indeed because of its presumed transformative powers (28).

Given the number and the variety of projects run under the banner of the P2P over the last fifteen years, a consistent classification of this phenomenon appears an improbable exercise. According to a study of the ‘Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information’ (IPCRI, 1988) – one of the leading NGOs in education and environment – P2P programmes can be divided as follows: track II activities, professional meetings, professional training, formal education activities, cultural activities, capacity building/institution building/service provision, environmental cooperation, women’s issues/shared identity issues, grass-roots dialogue groups, political struggle-solidarity-advocacy groups (29).

In the enthusiasm which followed the signature of the DOP – and for a few years after – thousands of organizations, associations, educational institutions, numerous national and regional governments, not to mention individuals, either leaders or recipients, took part to this scheme. Originally entrusted to the Government of Norway through the FAFO Institute of Applied Sciences, the P2P model proliferated to include any other institution which would apply a rather simple but rigid and artificial scheme: Israelis, Palestinians and internationals meeting for a limited period of time (often) on a neutral territory for seminars, discussions, youth camps, workshops etc. with an altogether limited follow-up. In 1998 the EU formalized a budget line for the P2P as part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (the ‘People-to-People Program’ in fact) while two years later US Department of State also established a ‘Wye River People-to-People Exchange Program’. All aimed at increasing mutual understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, promoting “cooperation to achieve common goals and strengthen the prospects for peace” (30).

The P2P experience is generally considered today to have failed – especially in view of the collapse of the peace process which it was not able to halt. One reason for such failure has been identified in the low sum which was disbursed for these kind of projects – estimated between $ m 25 and $ m 30 for the decade 1993-2003 (31), a relatively limited amount if compared to other peace building programs which have seen the participation of the EU (as in the case of Northern Ireland, where the EU allocated £ m 250) (32). However, it may also be suggested that P2P failed in realizing most of their stated goals also because the civil society that was mobilized for their implementation carried a governmental birthmark, as Benoit Challand has convincingly argued. The original P2P scheme was entrusted to the Norwegian government, almost as an act of gratitude for having handled the Accords, at least according to Gershon Baskin, co-director of IPCRI, who also took part to some phases of those negotiations (33). Leaders of the P2P were chosen in agreement with the negotiating sides. The major NGOs which immensely benefitted from this scheme, either in funding, in popularity or in international visibility and/or credibility – for example the Peres Centre for Israel or the Palestinian Centre for Peace for Palestine – were also quite strictly connected to governmental institutions. Since its establishment, the Peres Centre had tried to cultivate in practice that idea of The New Middle East to be re-founded on a new economic order, a topic which had been largely elaborated by the Center’s own founder (34); the Palestinian Centre for Peace was established and run for several years by Mahmud Abbas, alias Abu Mazen. A major NGO like IPCRI, which has been very active in P2P activities since their inception, certainly does not belong to the fringe; on the contrary it has aimed since its foundation at reaching the establishment (35).

While these (and other) affiliations clearly speak of a civil society which is either tied by governmental agendas, or non autonomous from donors’ sources, P2P have also provoked open hostility, for example among those sectors of civil society who opposed the Oslo process and which therefore viewed them as an instrument to normalize and/or manage a situation of disparity between Israelis and Palestinians, between occupiers and occupied. The more outspoken among these opponents have been not by chance some of those joint Israeli-Palestinian (from WBGS) NGOs – of which there exist today fourteen in all -which have placed themselves outside this mainstream civil society, which have benefited from international aid in a much less substantial way and which, as a result, have also maintained a greater autonomy. This is the case of the ‘Alternative Information Centre’ (AIC, 1984), of ‘Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR, 1987), or for some examples of joint NGOs established more recently, of the ‘Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace’ (2001), of ‘All for Peace Radio’ (2004), ‘of Combatants for Peace’ (2005)’ and of others (36). The price for this autonomy has clearly been a lower profile, often financial difficulties and, at times, extinction, as in the cases of ‘Shahrara’ and “Year 21” (37). While the impact of these joint NGOs may seem altogether negligible – in consideration of their size, limited budgets, operational difficulties, of their own placing themselves outside (if not openly against) the cultural and political framework which informs the cooperation activities of most of the others -these are the organizations which have approached the question of peace-building and conflict transformation with a political perspective, rather than through economic means. For this reason, they have also placed at the very foundations of their work of cooperation a process of deep recognition of the Other and of his/her historical and national claims, a combination of factors which may stand a chance of effectively working towards conflict transformation and of resisting. It is not a coincidence that, when virtually all P2P and other cooperation activities (especially those involving foreign NGOs or international associations) stopped during the years of the Second Intifada, joint cooperation continued, albeit in an increasingly difficult way, trying to pave the way for better times.
The involvement of the international community in the Israeli-Palestinian protracted conflict -often described as that of a ‘payer’ rather than that of a ‘player’ -raises a number of questions: how effective has this chequebook diplomacy been in defusing the Palestinian situation as the epicentre of the Middle East conflict? Where can one draw the line between contributing to stabilize political instability and fuelling it?

These (and other questions) have been addressed – and partially answered -in the framework the international ‘Do no harm’ project (DNH), a collaborative effort of UN agencies, donor governments and international and local NGOs which began in the early1990s, a work which has now mapped and included over forty conflict areas (38). The DNH findings do not seem to offer ready solutions for a rather complex situation as the Israeli-Palestinian one, in which international aid seems to have been dispensed in the absence of a political solution. Also for this reason, international aid and the way it has been disbursed since 1993 stands today at the centre of a threefold contradiction: first, on the one hand international aid has failed in the promotion of sustainable economic development and in the construction of infrastructures; on the other hand, it has helped to literally maintain alive a population whose standards of life were gradually falling under the poverty line. Second, the way international aid has been dispensed -and the a-critical reliance on civil society that has sustained its disbursement -has contributed to the spreading of clientelism and, ultimately, has led to internal civil strife within the Palestinian group. Third, if international aid has partially rebuilt what the Israeli occupation was destroying, both in terms of material goods and of service provision, it has also run the risk of normalizing or “routinizing” the occupation (39); on the other hand, these factors inevitably also favoured the spreading of a mentality of dependence among the Palestinian population.

While this intertwining may appear particularly complex for the Israeli-Palestinian case, the general findings of the DNH project stand out for the clarity of their apparently banal suggestions: a) that aid in conflict setting is never neutral; b) that resources provided by donors – and the way these are delivered – play into the relationship of contending groups in recipient societies; c) that donors’ assistance should emphasize factors which connect over those which divide both within each group and between contending groups. This has clearly not been the approach of the international community in assisting the PA and the Palestinian population.

Two broad case studies – the role of the US (and of USAID in particular) and that of civil society cooperation of European national states in the PA – would have contributed to substantiate this claim in a more complete way. However, these cases would have also opened a new set of arguments on the ways in which civil society cooperation has been used in this specific context as a proxy for altogether uncertain or shifting long-term foreign policies. Italy – and its twenty-seven NGOs operating on the field (the highest number of all European countries present in the PA) (40) – may be a case in point.

The impotence of the international community in defusing the factors which maintain alive the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation found a counterbalancing mechanism in the moral support, the financial encouragement -and altogether the enthusiasm -which it extended to those few mixed Israeli-Palestinian NGOs which I mentioned above, a peculiar phenomenon in view of the scarce following these NGO have received in their respective societies, whether in their early days (the 1960s) or since their relative expansion in numbers and participation (since the mid-1990s). Such encouragement from a distance might seem to place the international community on the bench of the payers only; while for the sake of international political visibility this might prove disastrous, for he sake of the transformation – and eventually the resolution of the conflict -leaving the game to those players which operate from within in order to deconstruct some of the mechanisms which maintain the conflict going might prove a more valuable investment in the long-term.


1. M. E. Bouillon, The Peace Business. Money and Power in the Palestine-Israel Conflict, I. B. Tauris, London, 2004.

2. H. K. Anheier and L. M. Salamon, The Civil Society Sector, “Society”, 34 (1997), n. 2, pp. 60-65.

3. B. Fine, C. Lapavitsas and J. Pincus (eds.), Development Policy in the Twenty-first Century, Routledge, London & New York, 2001.

4. The rediscovery of civil society in the late 1980s has led to what has been termed “an exercise in the archaeology of civil society”, i.e., reconstructing the genesis and genealogy of the term and of the concept from Aristotle to Habermas, lingering along the writings of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, de Tocqueville and Gramsci. This growing body of literature often includes also a discussion on the place of civil society in its relation to the State on the one hand, and to the Family on the other. See C. K. Rowley, ‘On the nature of civil society’, in Id. (ed.), Classical Liberalism and Civil Society, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK & Northampton MA, 1997, pp. 1-24. See also E. Gellner, Conditions of Liberty. Civil Society and Its Rivals, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1994; J. Habermas, Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1996; H. Anheier, M. Glasius, M. Kaldor, “Introducing global civil society”, in Id. (eds.), Global Civil Society 2001, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2001, p. 15. For a good discussion of the implications of the use of civil society in non-Western contexts, see B. Challand, The evolution of Western aid for Palestinian civil society. The bypassing of local knowledge and resources, “Middle Eastern Studies”, in press.

5. Message of Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland of the EU Presidency, delivered by Ambassador Risto Veltheim at the Euromed Civil Forum held in Marrakech, Morocco, on 4-7 November, 2006.

6. There could be various examples to substantiate this claim, taken both from the Palestinian and from the Israeli camp: for just one example taken from Israel, see the violent debate on Palestinian textbooks raised in 2000 by the Centre for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP). See also, M. Simoni, Intrecci traumatici. Storia, memoria e identità nazionale nelle scuole israeliane e palestinesi, “Passato e Presente”, 25 (2007), n. 71, pp. 45-68, esp. 64-65.

7. T. G. Weiss (ed.), Beyond UN Subcontracting: Task Sharing with Regional Security Arrangements and Service Providing NGOs, MacMillan, Basingstoke, 1998; J. Benthall, Internaltional NGOs and complex political emergencies, “Anthropology Today”, 11 (1995) n. 2, pp. 18-19; W. F. Fischer, Doing Good? The Politics and antipolitics of NGO Practices, “Annual Review of Anthropology”, 26 (1997), pp. 439-464; M. Naìm, Missing links: Al Qaeda, the NGO, “Foreign Policy”, n. 129 (2002), pp. 99-100. For Asia see N. Heyzer, J. V. Riker and A. B. Quizon (eds.), Government-NGO Relations in Asia: Prospects and Challenges for People-Centered Development, St. Martin’s Press, New York,1995; for Africa, see J. Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy: Humanitarian Aid and Conflict in Africa, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder Colorado, 1996; for South America in a gender perspective, see C. Ewig, The strength and limits of the NGO Women’s Movement: Shaping Nicaragua’s democratic institutions, “Latin America Research Review”, 34 (1999), n. 3, pp. 75-102.

8. G. R. Watson, The Oslo Accords: International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreements, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000; D. D. Kaye, Beyond the Handshake: Multilateral Cooperation in the Arab-Israeli Peace Process 1991-1996, Columbia University Press, New York, 2001.

9. R. Brynen, Buying Peace? A critical assessment of international aid to the West Bank and Gaza, “Journal of Palestine Studies”, 26 (1996), n. 3, pp. 79-92, p. 79.

10. S. Lasensky and R. Grace, Dollars and Diplomacy: Foreign Aid and the Palestinian QuestionUnited States Institute for Peace, 2006. The database of the Palestinian Ministry of Planning (MoP) estimates a disburment of about $ 6 billion. See also L. R. Iskandar, Politicization of Aid, Development and Aid Effectiveness Best Practices: the Case of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) (2003-2006), MA Thesis, Bethlehem University, 2007.

11. See respectively R. Brynen, International aid to the West Bank and Gaza: A primer, “Journal of Palestine Studies”, 25 (1996) n. 2, pp. 46-53, esp. p. 50; Id., Buying Peace? … and B. Challand, The evolution …; K. Nakhleh, Developing Palestine. Political Aid in a Non-Sovereign Context, Mimeo, [Jerusalem/Ramallah], 2002; R. Brynen, The neopatrimonial dimension of Palestinian politics“, “Journal of Palestine Studies”, 25 (1995), n. 1, pp. 23-36; M. Keating, A. Le More and R. Lowe (eds.), Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground. The Case of Palestine, Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 2005. The present list is just a small selection of the available literature on the subject.

12. B. Challand, “Il 1967 e la trasformazione del baricentro palestinese: confini sociali e potere politico nei territori occupati” in A. Marzano e M. Simoni (eds.), 40 anni dopo. Confini, barriere e limiti in Israele e Palestina 1967-2007, Il Ponte, Bologna, in stampa.

13. On the PLC, see Z. Abu Amr, “The Palestine Legislative Council” and H. A. Qader, “The Palestinian Legislative Council and Civil Society” in M. Abdul Hadi (ed.), Dialogue on Palestinian State-Building and Identity, Passia, Jerusalem, 1999, pp. 25-29 and pp. 86-94.

14. See K. Nabulsi, “The State-building project: What went wrong?” in M. Keating, A. Le More and R. Lowe (eds.), Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground …, pp. 117-128, esp. pp. 122-125.

15. A. Bouhabib, The World Bank and international aid to Palestine. An interview with Abdallah Bouhabib, “Journal of Palestine Studies”, 23 (1994) n. 2, pp. 64-74.

16. S. Hanafi e L. Tabar, “Donor assistance, rent-seeking and elite formation”, in M. H. Khan, G. Giacaman and I. Amundsen (eds.), State Formation in Palestine, Routledge, London, 2004, pp. 215-38.

17. B. Challand, The evolution …

18. These data are taken from L. R. Iskandar, Politicization of Aid …, pp. 11-12.

19. R. Bocco, M. Brunner et al., Palestinian Public Perceptions. Report IX, April 2006, pp. 9-10. A detailed analysis of poverty divided by region of residence, gender, level of instruction, status (refugee/non refugee), household composition and consumption patterns can be found in ibid., pp. 63-72.

20. A. M. Fontana (European Commission – Near East Unit in DG External Relations) in M. Simoni (ed.), Europe’s Role …; see also Temporary International Mechanism – TIM, Key Facts. Since June 2006, €365.5 million has been provided by the European Commission to the Palestinians through the TIM, together with €144.17 million provided by EU Member States and other donors.

21. Interview of the Author with Dr. Najd Nasser, Beit Sahur, 7 January 2007.

22. K. Nakhleh, The Myth of Palestinian Development: Political Aid and Sustainable Deceit, PASSIA, Jerusalem, 2004.

23. A. M. Fontana in M. Simoni (ed.), Europe’s Role in the Resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Tuscan Region, International Activity Department in collaboration with the Tuscan NGOs, Firenze, 2007.

24. The European Commission, The European Union’s Programme EU Partnership for Peace. Guidelines, November 2005, p. 2.

25. Charles Mackay, 1852, quoted in S. Herzog and A. Hai, The Power of Possibility: The Role of People-to-People Programs in the Current Israeli-Palestinian Reality, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Israel Office, 2005, p. 7.

26. The P2P was first referred to in Annex III of the DOP (Protocol on Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation in Economic and Development Programmes) and later formalized in the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 28 September 1995, known as Oslo II, Annex VI, esp. point n. 3: “The two sides shall take steps to foster public debate ad involvement, to remove barriers to interaction and to increase the people-to-people exchange and interaction with all areas of cooperation described in this Annex and in accordance with the overall objectives and principles set out in this Annex”.

27. T. Barnea and Z. Abdeen, “Cooperate and Cooperate: The Role of Health Professional in Promoting Israeli-Palestinian Coexistance” in T. Barnea e R. Husseini (eds.), Separate and Cooperate, Cooperate and Separate. The Disengagement of the Palestine Health Care System from Israel and its Emergence as an Independent System, Praeger, Westport, 2002, pp. 299-314.

28. B. Challand, Donors and Civil Society in Palestine. Autonomy and Recognition at Risk, Paper circulated for the workshop “Historical Trauma in Israel/Palestine between Family, Civil Society and State”, RSCAS, EUI, Florence 28-29 September 2007.

29. IPCRI, YES PM. Years of Experience in Strategies for Peace Making. Looking at Israeli-Palestinian People-to-People Activities 1993-2002, December 2002, pp. 15-17.

30. S. Adwan and D. Bar On (eds.), Building Peace under Fire. Palestinian/Israeli Wye River Projects, Peace Research Institute in Middle East (PRIME), The American Embassy, Tel Aviv, Teh Consulate General of United States, Jerusalem, April 2004.

31. S. Herzog and A. Hai, The Power of Possibility …, p. 31.

32. Mari Fitzduff, “Changing History – Peace Building in Northern Ireland”, in People Building Peace – 35 Inspiring Stories from Around the World, 1999.

33. Interview of the A. with Gershon Baskin (IPCRI), Tantur, 8 January, 2007.

34. S. Peres and A. Naor, The New Middle East, H. Holt, New York 1993.

35. M. Simoni, “Sul confine. L’attivismo congiunto israelo-palestinese” in A. Marzano e M. Simoni (eds.), 40 anni dopo …; Interview of the A. with Gershon Baskin, Tantur, 8 January 2007; see also IPCRI, YES PM …

36Alternative Information CenterPhysicians for Human RightsFaculty For Israeli-Palestinian PeaceRadio All For PeaceCombatants for Peace; on joint NGOs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a historical perspective see M. Simoni, “Sul confine …”

37. For an example of the independent fund-raising campaigns of PHR-Israel see Archives of the ‘Association of Israel Palestine Physicians for Human Rights, Tel Aviv (AIPPHR), b. 1, letters of the Associazione Medica Italo-Palestinese (2 June 1989), letter from Gail Pressburg (Peace Now Washingon DC) (28 June 1989), the letters to Noam Chomsky (8 July 1990) and the attempts to obtain funding from the New Israel Fund (26 October 1990). On exinct joint NGOs, interview of the A. with Sergio Yahni, Jerusalem, 26 Dcember 2006.

38. M. B. Anderson, “‘Do no harm’: the impact of international assistance to the occupied Palestinian territories” in M. Keating, A. Le More and R. Lowe (eds.), Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground …, pp. 143-153.

39. Ibid., p. 145.

40. Interview of the A. with Maurizio Barbieri (Italian Consulate), Jerusalem, 8 January 2007. See also the material and data circulated at the workshop European Development Cooperation, European NGOs in Palestine. Sharing Strategies, Improving Practices, Jericho, 22-23 November 2006.