FBA in Palestine

The protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to deep mistrust between the two populations. The greatest obstacle to development in Palestine is the Israeli occupation, but Palestine is also troubled by weak state institutions and internal strife. FBA aims to strengthen the capacity of Palestinian authorities to contribute to a peaceful development.

Sweden officially recognized the state of Palestine in 2015, with the aim of facilitating a future two-state solution and peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. At the same time, the Swedish government adopted a new aid strategy for Palestine, with increased support to Palestinian state-building.

The Palestinian state is weak and divided. The conflict between Fatah, the party ruling the West Bank, and Hamas, the party ruling the Gaza Strip, has led to political paralysis. The last national elections were held in 2006. The judicial system is complicated and in need of reform, but in the absence of a functioning parliament the Palestinians have no way to bring forward new legislation or demand political responsibility.

Within the framework of Sweden’s development cooperation with Palestine, FBA is focused on the following areas:

Leadership and cooperation
For several years, FBA has offered training for Palestinian diplomats and other officials on practical aspects of diplomatic affairs. FBA is also supporting the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the construction of their own training programme for future diplomats. The aim is to strengthen the capacity of Palestinian leaders to negotiate with Israel about a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Women, peace and security
According to Palestine’s temporary constitution from 2005, women and men have equal rights. However, only a minority of senior politicians as well as senior government officials are women, and very few women have been involved in the efforts for peace. FBA offers training on gender mainstreaming for Palestinian diplomats. FBA also runs a capacity-building programme for Palestinian women working within the sphere of diplomacy, international affairs and peacebuilding.

Dialogue and peace mediation
FBA offers negotiation skills training for Palestinian diplomats. The training programme is sponsored by Harvard and includes exchanges with diplomats from other countries. For example, peace negotiators from Colombia have shared their experiences of using dialogue and mediation as a tool for peaceful conflict resolution.

Click here to read the entire strategy for Sweden’s development cooperation with Palestine 2015–2019. According to a supplementary decision by the Swedish government, the strategy has been extended to also include the year 2020.

Photo: RNW Media

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Saba Nowzari

Saba Nowzari is expert on Mali, the Middle East and women, peace and security

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