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Militarization of Palestinian Aid
Militarization of Palestinian AidNora Lester Murad and Alaa TartirAid Watch Palestine “Aid” in Context of Israeli Violations Palestinians’ need for aid is exclusively a result of decades of militarized conflict with Israel. Both aid to Israel and aid to Palestinians enables and prolongs this conflict, and in this way, aid is militarized. On the macro level, aid to Palestinians is militarized because it comes in the context of western governments’ unqualified support for Israel, including impunity for Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. The provision of military aid, military trade, and other forms of economic, cultural and political exchange strengthens Israel’s ability to occupy, colonize, and dispossess Palestinians. Aid directly subsidizes the costs of Israel’s militarized aggression, and international political support protects Israel from the consequences of non-compliance with international law that enshrines Palestinian rights, therefore making aid actors complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights (Murad, 2014). In fact, it is widely seen as “normal” for the US to support Israel militarily while also providing “aid” to Palestinians to mitigate the impact of Israeli military action. The US Government has provided $124.3 billion in bilateral (mostly military) assistance, making Israel the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II (Sharp, 2015: summary). US aid to Israel is part and parcel of US military strategy in the Middle East, and US investments have developed Israel into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world (Sharp, 2015: 1). In contrast, the US provided nearly $5 billion in aid since to the Palestinian Authority since its establishment. Critics of US military aid to Israel argue that it violates US domestic law. In their review of policy implications and options, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation quotes the US Foreign Assistance Act as saying, No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter or the Arms Export Control Act [22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.] to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights. Ruebner (2012: 18-19) goes on to say, The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (P.L. 90-629), which conditions and restricts the sale and leasing of U.S. defense articles and services, limits the use of U.S. weapons solely for internal security, for legitimate self- defense, for preventing or hindering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of the means of delivering such weapons, to permit the recipient country to participate in regional or collective arrangements or measures consistent with the Charter of the United Nations.’ US military aid to Israel may also violate Common Article One of the Geneva Conventions which obligates third states to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstances (Do¨rmann and Serralvo, 2014). Others note that arms sales to Israel may be illegal because Israel, which is widely known as a nuclear power, has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Treaty, 1968). Additionally, this aid when channeled to the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank clearly violates basic rules of international law and hinders possibilities for a lasting peace.     Calls for a military embargo on Israel by Palestinian civil society (for example, and others do not only target US arms sales. The UK has also been under scrutiny for trading arms with Israel, including weapons that evidence shows were used in human rights violations: In the six months prior to the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, the UK government granted licenses worth £6,968,865 for military-use exports and £25,155,581 for dual-use equipment. The licensed items included combat aircraft components, drone components, anti-armor ammunition and weapon night sights. Meanwhile, the UK’s Watchkeeper surveillance drone has been developed under a £1 billion joint venture contract awarded by the Ministry of Defense to Thales UK and Israel’s Elbit Systems, allowing the UK military to benefit from technologies that have been ‘field tested’ on the occupied Palestinians. (Wearning, 2015: 3). Even in best case scenario, the net effect of international aid to Palestinians is questionable because it is offset by military action by Israel that is subsidized by the US and others and granted political immunity by the international community. Palestinian critics of aid therefore consider western donors complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, despite efforts by donor governments to distinguish their political actions from their aid policy, suggesting that aid policy is somehow “neutral.” Fragmentation and Militarized Aid Israeli policies have fragmented the Palestinian community into several different legal/institutional settings, all of which are in some way militarized; and in this way, aid to Palestinians is also politicized and militarized in different ways. Aid policies and practices also contribute directly to political fragmentation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, social fragmentation, and fragmented rights-claiming. Palestinians who make up 20% of the citizenry of Israel are essentially colonized in a state that official designates them as having fewer rights than Jews. Western aid to Palestinian citizens of Israel, which is limited and subject to Israeli restrictions, generally focuses on strengthening Palestinian rights claiming as minorities, which reinforces Palestinian citizens’ ties to Israel despite its Jewish identity, while simultaneously weakening their connections to the rest of the Palestinian community in the Arab world. By entrenching Palestinians’ identity as a “minority” rather than as an indigenous people, western aid to Palestinians strengthens Israel’s territorial claims. In this way, aid to Palestinian citizens of Israel is politically and institutionally part of western support for Israel, regardless of what those same countries may say rhetorically about their support for Palestinian rights in international law. The 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank also experience politicized and militarized aid, though the mechanisms are more complicated. The Oslo Accords (1993) and the Paris Protocol (1994) established a hegemonic political and economic paradigm within which all “development” in the occupied Palestinian territory takes place. Researchers Tartir and Wildeman explore the neoliberal interests that underpin the World Bank framework guiding western aid policy toward the occupied Palestinian territory. They note that World Bank prescriptions “…do not take into account the history and human reality of Palestinians struggling to survive for decades under a violent military occupation” (2012: 1) and over-estimate the capacity of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to engage in demanded reforms given that the PA lacks sovereignty. Mandy Turner also suggests that the intention of western “peacebuilding” interventions includes counterinsurgency. In other words, aid has sought to pacify Palestinian national liberation aspirations in Israel’s interest (Turner, 2014). In the West Bank, aid policy is implemented differently in areas designated by the Oslo Accords as Area A (under Palestinian Authority control), Area B (under joint Israeli-Palestinian control, and Area C (under Israeli control). Donor policies differ in each area, with most controversy in Area C where Israel enforces (and most donors comply with) an illegal planning regime that denies Palestinians access to their own natural resources and to their right to development (Diakonia, 2013). By being unable and unwilling to challenge Israeli militarization in Area C, international donors contributing to the sustainability of the status quo. While discussion of the political status of Jerusalem was postponed by the Oslo process, the practical reality of Israeli annexation of Jerusalem and forced transfer of Jerusalem’s native Palestinian population has not been challenged by international aid policy. The virtual collapse of the Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem renders the city essentially unlivable for Palestinians (Arafeh 2016). Effectiveness of both humanitarian aid (for example, to Palestinian families whose homes have been demolished by Israel) and development aid, which is limited by Israel’s explicit Judaization policy, has been totally undermined. The Gaza Strip is yet a different case; the Israeli blockade, now 10 years old, makes the Gaza Strip nearly totally dependent on international aid, as no materials or people can enter or leave through Israeli checkpoints without Israeli military permission. Meanwhile, the system of aid is increasingly controlled by Israel not by the United Nations, thus adding aid to the arsenal of weapons Israel uses to control Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In fact, it is precisely due to the militarized and securitized nature of the aid and the framework it is delivered (or not) that explains the lack of adequate reconstruction after the 2008-9, 2012 and 2014 Israeli attacks. Notably, having this aid delivered in highly securitized context makes it easier for donors to cover their failures using the excuse of “security.” Lastly, about 5 million registered Palestinian refugees get aid through a dedicated United Nations agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA, 2016). According to critics, UNRWA’s ambiguous protection mandate has prompted debate about the extent to which UNRWA guards Palestinian rights or weakens rights-claiming through other bodies and mechanisms (Farrah, 2010). Bilateral Aid to the Palestinian Authority Clearly, military assistance to Israel is not the only way in which international actors subsidize the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Both Europe and the United States are main bilateral donors to the Palestinian Authority (PA). In a scathing critique, Tartir says about 30 percent of international aid funds the $1bn/year security sector, which is not accountable to the Palestinian people and increasingly authoritarian. Since 2005, the US and EU have supported sector reform, but “..the central tenet of this project has been the entrenchment of security collaboration between the PA and Israel” not the security of Palestinians (Tartir, 2016). He notes that both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented the PA security forces' excessive use of force and noted PA limits on freedom of speech, political participation and mobilisation (Tartir, 2016). So, on one hand, there is Israeli occupation and colonization that receives militarized aid, and on the other hand there is the Palestinian Authority that receives ODA and spends it in a highly securitized space within a securitized “development” process. So, however you look at the aid in the Palestinian context, it is driven by a hegemonic security rationale, designed to address Israeli security concerns, while making Palestinians feel increasingly insecure (Tartir, 2015). Moreover, investigation into the militarization of aid highlights things: (1) how a liberation movement can be made to transform into a subcontractor to the colonizer as a result of this militarized aid; and (2) how this militarized aid may result in authoritarian tendencies giving dominance to security establishment and personnel at the expense of other sectors (e.g., health, education, manufacturing) and at the expense of democracy. In other words, in Palestine, aid did not only fail to address the poverty, employment and empowerment gaps, but also created new insecurity and illegitimacy. Militarization of Aid to Palestinian Civil Society Lastly, aid to civil society, both international and Palestinian, is also militarized. It is conditioned by anti-terrorism policies that directly contradict the humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality by requiring aid actors to vet beneficiaries on political criteria, which exacerbates internal conflict, including armed conflict (Hall, 2015). Israel benefits indirectly by the cooptation of Palestinian civil society to a militarized global regime; it also benefits because Israel's already strong security sector profits from the export of counter-terrorism-related products now topping $1bn annually, according to the Israeli government (BDS, 2010). This securitized and militarized aid has dramatic impact on the everyday life of the Palestinian people and their quest for freedom and self-determination. Evidence suggest that such form of aid is anti-developmental especially under foreign military occupation. It limits rather than enhances the capacity of the Palestinian people to claim their right to self-determination. This increases instability in the long-term and increases the likelihood of further militarism and violence. Aggression is a Crime That Should Not Be Funded By Aid The use of aid to promote or support aggression is not only inappropriate and counter-productive, but arguably illegal. The purpose of the our global governance system manifested as the United Nations is, first and foremost, “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace” (Charter of the United Nations, 1945: Chapter 1, Article 1.1) Moreover, three basic humanitarian principles – humanity, neutrality impartiality– are enshrined in General Assembly resolution 46/182 (1991) and reaffirmed in innumerable UN resolutions and declarations (OCHA, 2009: 4). While many Palestinians and internationals consider Palestine an exception to aid norms, the problem of militarized aid is widespread. The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States says that 30% of Official Development Assistance is spent in fragile and conflict-affected contexts (IDPS, 2011:1). The European Parliament reported that in 2013 over-two thirds of the humanitarian assistance recorded by the OECD was directed to long-lasting crises (European Parliament, 2016: 3). There are only two ways to interpret this data. Either international aid is having no affect on the perpetuation of conflict (and failing to stem the increase in humanitarian need), or, alternatively, that international aid contributes to increasing conflict. The report of the UN secretary general on the World Humanitarian Summit takes a predictably diplomatic tone, but a careful read reveals acknowledgement that lack of political will is at the heart of aid ineffectiveness. It says: “…Addressing people’s humanitarian needs requires more than increasing levels of assistance. It necessitates a far more decisive and deliberate effort to reduce needs, anchored in political will and leadership to prevent and end conflict…” (UNGA, 2016: 1). There is ample evidence in literature and practice demonstrating the relationship between aid and the perpetuation of conflict. Palestine offers one of many examples of how aid violates the principle of “Do No Harm” that is fundamental not only to the credibility of aid, but to the credibility of the post-World War II international system. Aid must not promote or enable aggression whether actively or passively. In Palestine, even aid for ostensibly “purely good” purposes such as food, health, education, and water and sanitation, is implemented within a complex aid regime that serves the expansionist political interests of Israel and donor countries. A recent study by Aid Watch Palestine found that 78% of aid to the occupied Palestinian territory ends up in the Israeli economy (Hever, 2016), thus subsidizing between 18-30% of the costs of the occupation. Tartir and Wildeman also note that forced economic integration with Israel makes the Palestinian economy vulnerable; Israel has often withheld funds (with US support) as punishment for Palestinian policies it dislikes, including Palestinian pursuit of internationally enshrined rights through United Nations mechanisms (2012: 1.) In another stark example, international aid utilizing the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, to which the United Nations is a party, is being criticized as giving legitimacy to the illegal Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip (Murad, 2015/16) and profiting Israel by giving international cover for Israel’s promotion of its own economic and military interests. Conclusion Aid to Palestinians is militarized on at least four levels. Military aid and military trade with Israel is normalized, despite proof that aid is used to violate Palestinian rights under international law;The Oslo, two-state framework within which essentially all western aid is implemented reflects the political and military interests of the US and Europe and the World Bank-led neoliberal consensus instead of democratically determined Palestinian interests;Development and humanitarian aid to Palestinians, whether funneled through international or Palestinian Authority institutions, is structured to protect Israel’s colonial monopoly at the expense of Palestinian security and self-determination; andAid to civil society, both international and Palestinian, is conditioned by anti-terrorism policies that exacerbate internal conflict, including armed conflict, in violation of principles of impartiality and neutrality. Aid supporting Israel would not inherently violate Palestinian rights if aid actors (in their political and aid roles) held Israel accountable for compliance with international law. However, Israeli impunity granted by international actors has the effect of empowering Israel’s aggressive policies, thus resulting in what appears a shocking hypocrisy: donor governments and aid actors allow Israel to deny Palestinian rights while providing aid to Palestinians in ways that ensures Israel’s continued dominance. Reclaiming Aid for Human Rights: Policy Recommendations The militarization of aid to Palestinians cancels the legitimacy of aid as a credible humanitarian or developmental intervention. For international aid to reclaim its potential as a contributor to the realization of human rights, it must be embedded in effective accountability mechanisms that pressure all parties to comply with international law and respect human rights. It is difficult to imagine that Israel will start complying with international law and respecting Palestinian human rights without some form of pressure. While there are examples of aid sanctions (e.g., US sanctions against Turkey, Indonesia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Columbia, Philippines, Pakistan, and Bahrain), these have rarely been used against Israel (Ruebner, 2012: 19-25). On the other hand, the global civil society boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign has had demonstrable impact on Israel’s ability to pursue unaccountable military development (Juma’ and Mantovani, 2016). All concerned parties should study the potential of strategic sanctions to pressure Israel to comply with international law. The most immediate and obvious action is to demand for a total military embargo on Israel and all parties who fail to respect international law. Empowering Palestinians means equipping them with the tools to resist Israeli settler colonial rule and enhancing their capacities for solidarity, resilience and steadfastness. International aid actors must recognize and accept that development under military occupation and colonization means first and foremost a process of confrontation to realize rights, including the right to self-determination.References Arafeh, Nur. (November 2016). Economic Collapse in East Jerusalem: Strategies for Recovery. Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. Available at BDS. (April 2, 2010). “Should the EU Subsidise Israeli Security?” Available at Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre. (2013). Planning to Fail: The planning regime in Area C of the West Bank: An International Law Perspective. Available at European Parliament. (May 2016). Funding gap: A challenge for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), Briefing. Available at Farah, Randa. (December 2010). Uneasy but necessary: The UNRWA-Palestinian Relationship. Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. Available at Haddad, Toufic. (2016). Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory. UK: I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd. Hall, Andrea. (December 16, 2015). Do counterterrorism grant clauses contradict humanitarian principles? (accessed December 20, 2016). Hever, Shir. (2016). “How Much Aid to Palestinians Reaches the Israeli Economy?” Aid Watch Palestine. Available at Do¨rmann, Knut and Jose Serralvo. (2014). International Review of the Red Cross, 96 (895/896), 707–736. Generating respect for the law doi:10.1017/S181638311400037X International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS). (2011). The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. Available at Juma’, Jamal and Maren Mantovani. (August 24, 2016). “The ‘S’ in BDS: Lessons of the Elbit Systems Campaign,” Al-Shabaka policy brief available at Murad, Nora Lester. (2017 forthcoming). “For Palestinians, All Donor Commitments are ‘Unfinished Business’” Aid Watch Palestine for the IBON Global Synthesis Report. Murad, Nora Lester. (2015/16). “Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism: Smoke and Mirrors?” Journal of Palestinian Refugee Studies, pp. 59-66. Murad, Nora Lester. (2014, October). “Donor Complicity in Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights.” Al-Shabaka Policy Brief. Available at Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Policy and Studies Branch. (2009). Compilation of United nations Resolutions on Humanitarian Assistance. Available atå Ruebner, Josh. (2012). “U.S. Military Aid to Israel Policy Implications & Options,” US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Available at Sharp, Jeremy M. (June 10, 2015). “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel.” Congressional Research Service, 7-5700, RL33222 at Tartir, Alaa. (2 December 2016). “How US security aid to PA sustains Israel's occupation,” in Aljazeera at Tartir, Alaa, (2015). The Evolution and Reform of Palestinian Security Forces 1993-2013. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 4(1), part. 46. DOI: Tartir, Alaa. (2015). Securitised development and Palestinian authoritarianism under Fayyadism, Conflict, Security & Development, 15:5, 479-502, DOI: 10.1080/14678802.2015.1100016 To link to this article: Tartir, Alaa and Jeremy Wildeman. (October 9, 2012). Persistent Failure: World Bank Policies for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Al-Shabaka Policy Brief. Available at Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (July 1, 1968). Available at TURNER, M. (2015) ‘Peacebuilding as counterinsurgency in the occupied Palestinian territory’, Review of International Studies, 41(1), pp. 73–98. doi: 10.1017/S0260210514000072. United Nations General Assembly (23 August 2016). “Seventy-first sessionItem 70 (a) of the provisional agenda* Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance: strengthening of the coordination,” A/71/353. Available at UNRWA. “Palestine Refugees,” (accessed 20 December 2016). Wearing, David. (July 2015). Arming Apartheid: UK Complicity in Violations Against the Palestinian People. London, War on Want. Available at  
Infograhic on International Aid
This report consists of a mapping of donor aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) from 2012-14, and where possible, 2015. The information was compiled making use of multiple databases, reports and published studies, as well as direct letters of enquiry written to over thirty major donors asking them for information about their aid package for that period.   In addition to compiling the most accurate accountof aid currently in existencefor that period, this report provides ananalysis of that data and the mapping exercise itself.
International aid to the Palestinians has served different purposes historically and has always incorporated a diversity of agendas as might be expected from the diversity of donors and changing political contexts and times. Nonetheless, certain dominant themes to the overarching agenda of aid towards the Palestinians can be detected and distilled from these experiences, despite this internal diversity and its agenda. Moreover, the transformation and competition between dominant aid agendas over time also speaks to the way in which political agendas and power dynamics realize themselves between donors and the Palestinian people and movement on the one hand, and within the Palestinian polity and movement on the other.   Needless to say, all aid to the Palestinians has been justified by donors as part and parcel of beneficent motives. While determining what is and isn’t beneficent at a particular time is politically conditioned, equally relating to humanitarian issues and tactical and strategic questions and priorities, it is the totality of this aid’s consequences that ultimately must be judged.
Final Report Research on the Complaints Processes of Aid Actors in Gaza
The aims of the research are threefold. Firstly – to examine to what extent aid actors translate humanitarian standards regarding good practice and accountability into practical steps for day to day life in Palestine. Secondly – to promote discussion and sharing of knowledge regarding accountability in aid processes in Palestine and thirdly – to promote best practices to increase direct communication between recipients of aid and donors and implementers.    The main findings can be summarised as such: only 31% of aid actors operating in Gaza and contacted during the duration of this study replied, to inform us that they have a formal complaints process in place for aid recipients. Overall, we found that though there are some very good examples of good practice and examples of CRMs, in general complaints processes are used irregularly among aid actors (i.e. INGOs, Palestinian NGOs, donors and coordinating bodies), are not always easy to access, and are often poorly utilized as learning or accountability mechanisms.    Of the organisations sampled in this research, INGOs were the group which most frequently responded positively, in that they do have a formal complaints mechanism in place. 56% percent of the INGOs consulted during this research have formal complaints processes. As for other categories of aid actors, 25% of the Palestinian NGOs, 23% of donors and 20% of coordinating bodies have an existing formal complaints process. However, it is clear that all of these aid actors have the capacity to implement formal complaints process and/or improve and should improve existing mechanisms.
Aid Watch April - June 2017 E-Newsletter
Aid Watch Palestine would like to share our news for the second quarter of 2017 with you, as we continue in our efforts to make international aid more accountable to Palestinians. The reconstruction of Gaza continues to take precedence in our work and thus capturing and documenting the impacts of this process on people's lives remains a priority while on a parallel level, sharing this information in order to advocate for change so that aid actors comply with international law and global standards in which they are signatories.    In the past three months, Aid Watch continued to work on monitoring donor strategies in Palestine in order to critically assess and analyze international aid to Palestinians and its impact on people's lives.   
Aid Watch April - June 2017 E-Newsletter
Aid Watch Palestine would like to share our news for the second quarter of 2017 with you, as we continue in our efforts to make international aid more accountable to Palestinians. The reconstruction of Gaza continues to take precedence in our work and thus capturing and documenting the impacts of this process on people's lives remains a priority while on a parallel level, sharing this information in order to advocate for change so that aid actors comply with international law and global standards in which they are signatories.    In the past three months, Aid Watch continued to work on monitoring donor strategies in Palestine in order to critically assess and analyze international aid to Palestinians and its impact on people's lives.   
Questions and Answers about the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM)
What is the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM)? The GRM is a temporary agreement between the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel and the United Nations (UN) that went into effect after the attack on the Gaza Strip in 2014. The GRM sets out procedures supposedly to enable the entry of essential construction materials into the Gaza Strip which is under Israeli blockade.
Leaked Documemt: Diakonia’s Expert Legal Opinion on the GRM
UN database for Gaza aid may give Israel targets to attack — secret memo
A document obtained by The Electronic Intifada revealed that the UN was warned that its database of potential aid recipients in Gaza could provide Israel with targets for future attacks. Diplomats and UN officials were also warned that plans for rebuilding Gaza after it was attacked by Israel in 2014 violated international law. According to a confidential legal opinion by a law professor who analyzed the mechanism for a major aid agency that works closely with the UN, the UN-backed Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) is illegal and violates the very “right to life” of the Palestinian people, .   link to full report: Attached: Gaza Reconstuction Mechanism, Legal Opinion in GRM The Elecrtonic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, 2016