Western Donors Cut Funding to Human Rights Organizations Over Gaza Support: Le Monde Featured

By Gamal Khattab December 28, 2023 3770

 

 

Human Rights

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, civil society organizations in the Middle East are facing a loss of European funding after condemning the Israeli attack on Gaza. This has caused anger among these organizations, who feel punished for their support for Gaza.

Azza Soliman

The newspaper highlighted the case of Egyptian lawyer Azza Soliman, who had been receiving support from Germany for a project to help women victims of human trafficking. However, Germany decided to withdraw the funds after Soliman signed a text condemning the Israeli attack and calling for sanctions against Israel.

Anger and Censorship

This decision has sparked intense anger within Egyptian civil society, with many denouncing it as censorship. Soliman questioned whether the German authorities wanted to control what they could say and called it a scandal. The German Foreign Ministry justified its decision by stating that Soliman's public statements contradicted their position on Israel.

Re-evaluation of Projects

Le Monde reported that Germany's decision was part of a broader re-evaluation of projects funded in the region following an attack by Hamas on Israel. The German Foreign Ministry stated that they were reviewing the political positions of their partners in light of these events.

European Partnerships at Risk

The newspaper also highlighted that other European governments are considering re-evaluating their partnerships with civil society organizations in the Middle East, particularly Palestinian NGOs. The European Union has introduced a clause against incitement to hatred and violence in new contracts with Palestinian actors, which could be used to silence criticism of the Israeli occupation.

Sweden and Switzerland's Actions

Sweden plans to ask its Palestinian partners to condemn Hamas, while Switzerland has already ended its cooperation with three Palestinian non-governmental organizations. These actions have been seen as politically motivated and have been criticized by Amnesty International and other organizations.

Threat to Civil Societies

Le Monde warned that the conditions imposed on non-governmental organizations by Western donors could weaken civil societies in the Middle East. The silence of these organizations in the face of the Gaza massacre risks damaging their credibility in the region.

Challenges for Activists

Activists in the Middle East face criticism for being seen as working for the West, while in Europe, their positions are scrutinized. Remaining silent or condemning the bombing of Gaza is often interpreted as support for Hamas or anti-Semitism.

The loss of funding for human rights organizations due to their support for Gaza is a concerning issue. It not only threatens the credibility of these organizations but also raises questions about the nature of their partnerships with Western donors.

Source: Le Monde