A: In addition to its daily policy work, ATFP has played a major role at all stages of its existence in advocating and helping to secure both public and private American aid to the Palestinian people, and American investment and charitable donations to Palestinian causes. ATFP on several occasions played a significant role in insuring that American aid to the Palestinian Authority, most of which is used to meet Palestinian public employee payroll for the largest employer in the occupied territories, was either continued or increased.

When the PA announced its state and institution-building program, ATFP took the leading role in Washington in successfully advocating that the program be viewed not as a development or economic project but as a political and strategic intervention designed to help end the occupation and create a state of Palestine alongside Israel. ATFP was the key voice in reshaping the initial perception of the program in Washington and ensuring that, for several years, the program and the PA budget were appropriately funded. That funding hit a peak of just under $1 billion in 2010. This is an example of the kind of low-key, high-impact work ATFP specializes in, that typically must be pursued with discretion.

ATFP has built solid working relations with a huge range of relevant players on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and above all with the executive branch of the United States government. True to its non-partisan status, ATFP built strong relations with the Republican White House of former President George W. Bush. ATFP has subsequently maintained these strong relationships with the executive branch and the White House during both terms of our current Democratic President, Barack Obama. During the first decade of ATFP's existence, there have been both Republican and Democratic administrations, both of which have recognized the important value-addition ATFP has provided to the Washington policy conversation. Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton represented these administrations as keynote speakers at ATFP galas.

In addition to its consistent and focused interactions with Congress, staffers and other key Hill entities -- and as a direct and tangible consequence of those carefully-crafted strategic relations -- ATFP has also provided important congressional testimony on numerous occasions. In 2003, ATFP President Ziad Asali testified at a Senate committee hearing on Palestinian education. In 2009, he testified at a hearing of the full U.S. House Committee on International Relations on the topic of “The Way Forward in the Middle East Peace Process."  Later in 2009, he testified at a Senate committee hearing on the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

In December 2007, Dr. Asali was designated by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be one of the four co-chairs of the US-Palestinian Public-Private Partnership (UPP), which sought to build the private sector and civil society in Palestine by attracting investment. The partnership focused on giving medium-sized loans to businesses in the Palestinian territories and providing loans and other funding to Palestinian small businesses. The project attracted financial and technology help from major corporations such as Intel, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, and other companies, and generated significant investments in Palestinian businesses.

Dr. Asali served on the US Presidential Delegations to both of the Palestine Investment Conferences in Bethlehem in 2008 and 2010. He played a major role in facilitated both events, and engaged the necessary contacts for the UPP with both Palestinians and Israelis to coordinate the conferences. One major subject of the first Conference was the planned city of Rawabi, which is now nearing completion. The second focused on, and generated a great deal of support for, small and medium-sized Palestinian businesses. At least $650 million was slated at the conference in support for such Palestinian businesses.

Dr. Asali served as a member of the official United States delegation to the funeral of the late President Yasser Arafat and as a member of the United States official delegation to observe the Palestinian presidential elections in January 2005. He also was a delegate with the National Democratic Institute to monitor the Palestinian legislative election in January 2006.

ATFP was deeply involved in the first definitive, scientific study of Israeli and Palestinian schoolbooks, which was coordinated by the group "A Different Future" and headed by Yale University Professor Bruce Wexler. Dr. Asali served on the board of "A Different Future" during the three-year process of researching and preparing the study, which was funded by the State Department. This research, which was the work of a team of Palestinian and Israeli specialists, debunked many common myths about textbooks, while highlighting significant and mutual problems in the curricula it examined. In February 2013, ATFP hosted a briefing presenting the findings of study at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

ATFP has hosted numerous other relevant conferences, briefings and public events highlighting Palestinian issues and the urgent need to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state.

ATFP staff and board members -- including Executive Director Ghaith Al-Omari and Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish -- have published scores of articles in major publications, longer studies and several books arguing strongly in favor of ending the occupation and creating a state of Palestine. ATFP staff have also argued this case at UN conferences, other major international events, colleges and universities around the country and the world, at meetings of major Christian, Muslim and Jewish American groups covering a wide spectrum, and in countless major media appearances. ATFP has also moved beyond simply serving as a source for major media stories, to one in which it helps shape the background and framing of these stories. The Task Force is widely considered an indispensable resource by the most relevant media organizations and news outlets that cover Palestine-related issues.

In 2010, ATFP issued a groundbreaking and unprecedented joint public statement endorsing negotiations aimed at securing a two-state solution with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an umbrella group supported by 15 national and 145 local Jewish American groups.

ATFP established and maintains a joint internship program with Americans for Peace Now (APN), in which ATFP hosts an Israeli intern and APN hosts a Palestinian intern each summer.

At many different stages in its history, ATFP has been involved in securing travel permission for Palestinian Fulbright scholars and other students, and raised the issue of Israel's denial of entry to Palestinian-Americans with the State Department.

In addition to such activities, of which the above is only a small set of examples, ATFP has been deeply involved in providing direct humanitarian support to the Palestinian people.

Even though it did not have any experience or infrastructure for charitable work at that time, during the financial and aid crisis of 2006, ATFP established a Palestine Humanitarian Fund to address the most immediate and dire needs of the Palestinian people. Thanks to the generous donations of countless individuals, ATFP was able to directly disburse a total amount of $40,000 to two Palestinian hospitals, Al-Makassed in Jerusalem, and St. Luke’s in Nablus, to purchase urgently needed medical equipment. $5,000 also went to the United Palestinian Appeal for the purchase of medical supplies for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. In 2006, ATFP also transferred $10,000 to the Palestine Red Crescent Hospital in Jerusalem.

In 2007, ATFP, through the Palestine Humanitarian Fund, donated $100,000 to Dar El-Tifl (Home of Children) in Jerusalem, a Palestinian charity established in 1948 to care for orphaned Palestinian children.

In 2008, ATFP and its sister organization, American Charities for Palestine (ACP), took the lead in extending the one-laptop-per-child program to Palestine, which delivered a thousand laptop computers, worth $200,000, to Palestinian schools in the Occupied Territories.

Along with several partners, ATFP initiated and completed over several years a $400,000 development project in the West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Tahta. In cooperation with CHF International, and with funding from the Sheikh Mohammed Shami Foundation (which contributed $150,000 of the funds) and USAID, the project installed street lights and other infrastructure development in the village. Also in 2009, ACP made a $5,000 donation to the Spafford Children's Center in Jerusalem.

In 2011, ACP facilitated a donation of $10,000 to The Four Homes of Mercy in Jerusalem to provide permanent residency and clinical care in the occupied Palestinian territories to 78 patients, including 25 children and 53 adult men and women. In the same year, ACP coordinated with Craig Newmark, of Craigslist and CraigConnect, as well as the Aspen Institute, to deliver $50,000 to build networks and capacities among Palestinian youth using new technologies. This effort was conducted in partnership with a local organization in the West Bank, Palestine Vision, to support a specific project called the Mediterranean Youth Technology Club (MYTecC) as part of ACP's broader effort to improve the education sector of the West Bank.

In 2011 ACP raised $27,000 to provide essential preventive and curative eye care to Jerusalem's St. John's Eye Hospital's most vulnerable patients. In 2012 ACP raised another $10,000 for the Hospital.

During its period of existence, ACP helped secure close to $1 million in development aid for Palestine in the health and education sectors. In 2008, ACP established the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) entered into by USAID with any NGO. Under the terms of the arrangement, ACP would select the projects and the designated recipients, and work with USAID to insure donor confidence. This MOU was the work of years of labor, as well being as unprecedented and groundbreaking.


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