Palestinian article describes German government payments to NGOs to
influence public opinion
Friedrich Naumann Foundation .
by Mel Frykberg Jerusalem Times [Palestinian publication] 26 February 2002
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is the German Foundation for liberal
policy, working world-wide for the principles of individual liberty, free
market economy, the rule of law and human rights.
Supported by funds from the German Federal Ministry of Economic
Co-operation and Development, the foundation has had offices in the Middle
East since 1964, in Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Tunisia and
Morocco. It has worked in Israel since 1983 and in Palestine since 1994 for
the advancement of democracy, liberal principles, dialogue and the peace
Itís main objectives are the strengthening of organised
liberalism and advancement of liberal forces in Israel and the advancement
of understanding between the Jewish majority and the Arab minorities in
Israel. Building up and consolidating democratic structures in preparation
of a Palestinian state is another objective.
The foundation wants to advance civil society and its
organizations in Palestine in order to develop pluralistic structures and
strengthen civil participation. The identification and promotion of
economic forces in Palestine in order to help build up structures of a free
market economy, and the advancement of regional dialogue between Israelis
and Palestinians with their Arab neighbors with the aim of regional economic
and cultural co-operation and integration are other main objectives.
Last but not least the strengthening of German-Palestinian
co-operation and the advancement of German-Jewish/Israeli understanding are
key aims too.
Their work in Israel runs basically on two tracks: one
involving partner organizations, mostly NGOs dealing with political
education, and the second involving individuals from liberal parties or
groups with a liberal disposition.
Their long term partners in Israel are educational institutions
who organize lectures, seminars, conferences and workshops for different
target groups such as members and supporters of the liberally oriented
parties Shinui and Meretz, students and young political activists, new
immigrants minorities/fringe groups, local politicians, and also the
politically interested public in general.
The subjects cover a wide variety of issues, politically
relevant and sometimes rather provocative topics (the peace process,
Israelís nuclear policy, religion and state, pluralistic Judaism,
integration of new immigrants etc.)
Some of their main partners in Israel include the Liberal
Institute for Research and Education; Mahshevet - an educational institution
for students and young people who work for the advancement of peace, civil
rights and social justice; Teena - a cultural forum for education and the
advancement of humanist and liberal initiatives with new immigrants from the
former Soviet Union.
Other partners include the Galilee Center for Social Research
which helps Israelís Palestinian community to understand and address many of
its social, political and economic problems; and the Institute for Israel
Arab Studies - which supports and promotes Israeli-Arab students at Israeli
Their main partners in Palestine include the Center for
Palestine Research and Studies, the most renowned political and economic
research institute in Palestine; the Palestinian Council on Foreign
Relations in Gaza, involved in a better understanding of political, economic
and strategic issues, regionally and globally.
The Palestinian Federation of Industries in Ramallah, an
umbrella organization of Palestinian industrialists working independently
from the Palestinian Authority, uniting 600 industrialialists and producers
in Palestine; and the Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy in
Jerusalem which promotes the concepts of peace, democracy, social justice
and civil participation in Palestine are also supported by the foundation.
Their work is carried out by means of lectures, seminars,
workshps, conferences, research and publications on the relevant topics.
The foundationís partners attempt to reach the political and economic elites
as well as the general public in order to arouse interest and awareness of
the problems and needs of the Palestinian nation and state-building process.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation also supports Palestinian
liberal economic forces in order to help build up a free market economy in
Palestine by means of research, training and the promotion of organizations
such as the Palestinian Federation of Industries. The foundation believes
that economic conditions have a direct bearing on the well being of
individuals and their contribution to nation building.
By supporting economic research, the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation helps to instruct investors and policy makers about options to
enhance economic development in Palestine.
The foundation believes Palestinian civil society has to play an
active and responsible role in the process of development and the building
of democratic institutions at a very early stage. In contrast to many other
Arab countries, civil society in Palestine has a rather long history of
activism and activity, of experiment and experience and of contribution to
the political process leading to nation building.