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‘Investigate UK funding of Palestinian NGOs’

    The head of the Jerusalem-based research institute, NGO Monitor, has called for an inquiry into British government funding of Palestinian organisations which he says promote political attacks on Israel.

    More than £500,000 was provided by the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development to Palestinian NGOs last year, according to the organisation’s figures.

    Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, who briefed Jewish organisations on a UK visit, said: “Either the officials who decide on and are responsible for this counter-productive funding for NGOs are completely unaware of the details regarding the use of UK taxpayer monies, or they are consciously using NGO funding to promote Palestinian political attacks under the facade of peace-making.”

    One Palestinian agency, the International Peace and Co-operation Centre — which has received a grant of £400,000 this year as well as last — has claimed in the past that Israel’s policy in Jerusalem aimed “to segregate and paralyse the urban fabric” of the city. It has also stated that the motive behind Israel’s security barrier was to redraw the municipal borders of Jerusalem.

    Another group, Defence for Children International-Palestine Section, was the recipient of £12,500 last year.

    DCIPS was one of the Palestinian organisations that issued a call to boycott Israel and in one campaign poster it has referred to an “apartheid-like system of discrimination” suffered by Palestinians in the West Bank.

    A spokesman for the Foreign Office responded: “We are very careful about who and what we fund. The objective of our funding is to support efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”

    All projects were “carefully monitored to ensure that they deliver value for money and are consistent with our values. Funding a particular project for a limited period of time does not mean that we endorse every single action or public comment made by an NGO or by its employees.”

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