A June 2012 paper discusses the history, role and future prospects of local charitable welfare institutions, known as zakat institutions, in the Palestinian territories. Written by Emanuel Schaeublin of the Graduate Institute in Geneva,Charity Under Threat? Zakat Institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territoryhighlights the evolving nature and challenges these organizations face due to increased political interference and “reforms” introduced since the 2006 elections.

Recent political developments, including moves towards a political reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, suggest a space may be opening up to address the challenges facing zakat institutions. The report identifies several ways this could be achieved:
  • Return to a decentralized model of governance for zakat institutions

  • Develop one unified legal framework for zakat institutions

  • Work towards depoliticizing zakat institutions by restoring the implicit agreement of non-interference that existed  before 2007

  • Engage international donors to understand their concerns and work with them to rebuild confidence in zakat institutions

This report is a summary of two research papers, The West Bank Zakat Committees (1977 – 2009) and Gaza Zakat Organizations (1973 – 2011), published by the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.