Palestinian NGO’s refuse USAID grants in protest to “terrorism” pledge
Palestinian aid groups are refusing US government financial support in protest to the pre-requisite of signing a document stating that funds will not be channeled to “terrorists”.
Last year, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) imposed a condition on receiving parties worldwide, obliging them to pledge that grants would not "provide material support or resources to any individual or entity that advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in or has engaged in terrorist activity."
Palestinian activist groups have refused to sign the document fearing that the United State’s definition of terrorist-supporting activities would cover the majority of projects underway in the West Bank and Gaza. For example, Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which is blacklisted by USAID, runs social welfare programs in the region.
"Identifying most of the Palestinian factions as terrorist groups is unacceptable," said Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Network member Siham Rashid in AP. "The other issue is that any activity could be identified as a terrorist activity."
On Monday, the NGO Network, an umbrella organization that includes 89 Palestinian aid groups, held meetings to urge members to continue protesting USAID’s request and informed representatives of alternative Europe and Japan, which do not require similar pledges.
Since 1994, the USAID West Bank and Gaza program has provided more than one billion dollars in assistance to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Assistance is provided via contractors and NGO’s for specifically identified projects and initiatives. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)