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Focus:  Israeli Foreign Ministry protests UK Embassy funding of Israeli NGO study on the impact of the security barrier

By NGO Monitor
February 19, 2007

Bimkom-Planners for Planning Rights' stated mission is “to achieve the right to equality and social justice in matters of planning, development, and the allocation of land resources.” Its October 2006 study entitled “Between the fences: the enclaves that the separation barrier created” [translation], was funded by the British Embassy and the New Israel Fund.

Bimkom's report focuses on the hardships of livelihood and freedom of movement created by the security fence on Palestinian villages in the West Bank. Although it states that “Israel’s stated aim is to create a partition between the Israelis and the Palestinians and to prevent suicide bombers entering Israel”, it also accuses Israel of constructing the fence as a “land-grab” in order to annex settlements. The study uses the loaded Hebrew term for “obstacle” to describe the fence, rather than the neutral word for “fence.” The effect is to detract from security rationale for building the barrier, and focus exclusively on the impact on the Palestinians.  The report accuses the fence’s planners of paying little, if any, attention to the needs of the Palestinians, and states that “despite the fence’s dominance, both in the physical expanse and in the public consciousness, the security fence [obstacle], is only one layer in a whole system of measures that reduce the Palestinians’ freedom of movement” [translation].

The Israeli Foreign Ministry criticized the British Embassy’s financial support for Bimkom's agenda, stating that “it is interference by Britain in an internal Israeli matter. How would they react in London if our embassy was to fund research on a British organization that is trying to promote an agenda that is critical of [the government]? This is not acceptable in international relations.” 

See "British Embassy funding Israeli NGO study on impact of separation fence," Aluf Benn, Haaretz, February 6, 2007 and "Manipulating 'civil society,'" Gerald Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, February 21, 2007. Click here for more information on the UK's support for Palestinian and Israeli NGOs.

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