We were deeply troubled to learn recently that the U.S. Administration intends to eliminate all USAID funding for Palestinian civilians, specifically funding for cross-border and co-existence programs. This decision is the latest in a series of steps by the administration taking a hardline toward the Palestinian leadership. The US strategy centers on punitive measures designed to coerce the Palestinian leadership to accept a US-backed peace agreement. This plan of action is as problematic strategically as it is morally. Nonetheless, we will persist, and we encourage you to stand up for your values as members of our community and continue to support our peacebuilding organizations.
At Boston Partners for Peace, we believe that grassroots efforts bringing together Israelis and Palestinians provide the best chance for a peaceful future for both peoples. The individuals engaged in the projects we highlight are the most vocal and active supporters of reconciliation and are working to break the cycle of fear and violence. Instead of hindering their efforts, the US and the international community should be investing resources in these individuals and using their influence to amplify the voices championing tolerance and mutual recognition.
An additional concern affects both the strategic and moral aspects of our support for Palestinian civil society. Undermining support for Israelis and Palestinians working together does not hurt the Palestinian leadership so much as the Palestinian people. Even before this decision, the Palestinian Authority had clearly stated their opposition to engage with the current administration, and this decision will not lessen that stance. However, these funding cuts will harm many Palestinians who are already living in poor conditions. These are largely people who, like us, only want to create a better world for themselves and future generation.
In its rejection of co-existence funding, the US government is asserting that this is not a value that it stands for. We disagree. We believe that now more than ever we need to be investing in grassroots peacebuilders. We sincerely hope that the administration will reverse this short-sighted and harmful decision. Yet we must be prepared to take action on our own, and to use our individual influence to promote our core values of justice, dignity, and peace. Please consider making a donation to one of our peacebuilders to help fill the gap left by these funding cuts. Contact your Representative and tell them to support the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. When those in a position of influence let us down, we have to remember that we have the power to take matters into our own hands.