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US Offering $1 Million to Report Human Rights Abuses in Israel, Palestinian Territories


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JERUSALEM, Israel – The US State Department is offering up to nearly $1 million in funding “for projects that strengthen accountability and human rights” in Israel and the Palestinian territories. 

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announced the initiative last month and encouraged foreign and domestic NGOs, private sector organizations, and educational institutions to compete for the funding.

The bureau said projects “should focus on enabling independent civil society” in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank – biblical Judea and Samaria. 

These activities include collecting human rights documentation such as “legal or security sector violations and housing, land and property rights.”

The organizations must also “understand and access the forums and processes available to take meaningful action in pursuing truth, accountability, and memorialization; and/or provide psychosocial support to survivors of atrocities,” the DRL said. 

Applicants can focus their projects on both Israel and the Palestinian territories, “or propose activities specific to each area.”

Critics of the initiative claim the competition will attract organizations that support campaigns to boycott Israel or label it an apartheid state, even though the Biden administration has repeatedly condemned these anti-Israel efforts. 

NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that examines NGO funding from a pro-Israel perspective, wrote a letter to the State Department expressing its concerns. 

“The language and requirements of the DRL proposal, as well as the specific context of eligible recipients, suggest that these funds will be used to advance anti-Israel initiatives that are inconsistent with US foreign policy,” NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg wrote. 

“In light of the Biden Administration’s repeated rejection of such campaigns, we call on the State Department to reconsider this program. If however the [competition] proceeds, the application of clear and rigorous safeguards will be necessary to ensure that taxpayer funds are not provided to organizations advancing a discriminatory, anti-Israel agenda under the façade of accountability and human rights,” said Steinberg.

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Steinberg noted the Biden administration’s condemnation of the International Criminal Court’s investigation into “the situation in Palestine,” which critics say unfairly target Israel. When the investigation was announced last March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was “deeply disappointed by the decision” and will “continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”

The administration also denounced the UN’s open-ended probe against Israel, saying it “perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN.”

Similarly, the State Department also rejected Amnesty International’s recent report labeling Israel an “apartheid” state.

When asked to address concerns about the funding being exploited by anti-Israel campaigns, an unnamed State Department official defended the competition, telling the Washington Free Beacon: "The State Department seeks grant applications from and funds programs with a wide range of non-government partners around the world. These programs are intended to foster respect for human rights and the rule of law and support democracy globally."

The State Department says it “will not consider applications that reflect any type of support for any member, affiliate, or representative of a designated terrorist organization.”

Projects that directly benefit foreign militaries or paramilitary groups or individuals will also not receive funding. 

The award is also conditioned upon the applicant’s successful passing of vetting to “evaluate the risk that funds may benefit terrorists or their supporters."

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About The Author


Emily Jones is a multi-media journalist for CBN News in Jerusalem. Before she moved to the Middle East in 2019, she spent years regularly traveling to the region to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, meet with government officials, and raise awareness about Christian persecution. During her college years, she served as president of Regent University's Christians United for Israel chapter and spoke alongside world leaders at numerous conferences and events. She is an active member of the Philos Project, an organization which seeks to promote positive Christian engagement with the Middle