NEW YORK – In response to reports that the Peace Now movement has asked the government of Finland for a grant to monitor Jewish construction activity in Judea-Samaria, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) will be asking the government of Finland for a grant to monitor Palestinian Arab construction in those territories.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: It would represent an unconscionable, racist double standard if Finland funds monitoring of Jews but not of Arabs. Therefore we are presenting the Finnish government with an opportunity to prove that it is not biased, by asking it to provide the ZOA with the same level of funding to monitor the widespread Palestinian Arab construction in the territories.
The Israeli government has previously estimated that Arabs are building at ten times the rate of Jews in Judea-Samaria.
According to a report in the Israeli weekly Makor Rishon by the Israel Resource News Agency (Jan. 23, 2004), Peace Now requests funds for regular bi-monthly ground surveys of Jewish construction, using volunteers, and renting a light plane twice a month to engage in aerial photography of the territories.
The ZOA likewise proposes to recruit volunteers to engage in regular bi-monthly ground surveys of Palestinian Arab areas, and to rent a light plane twice each month to undertake aerial photography.
Peace Nows grant request defines its goals as: To monitor settlement developments on the ground, accurately and reliably; To make this information available to the Israeli and international public; To advance the fulfillment of the Road Map.
The ZOAs grant request will likewise monitor Arab settlement developments; make the information available to the Israeli and international public; and advance analysis of the Palestinian Authoritys failure to fulfill the Road Map.
Peace Nows grant requests states that it will engage in Contacts with diplomats, leaders and press in order to convey reliable information on all aspect of settlement issues. The ZOAs grant request will say the same thing.
Peace Nows request states that funding is necessary to support the staff and rent the vehicles for aerial photography. It is requesting $17,000 to hire a coordinator; $13,000 to rent a jeep; and $20,000 to conduct aerial surveys. The ZOAs request will ask for exactly the same thing.
Peace Now states in its grant request that it also receives $100,000 from Americans for Peace Now and 150,000 Euros from European Foundations for its settlement watch project. The ZOA will state in its grant request that it does not receive such funding, thus making the Finnish governments support all the more necessary.