The German political foundations as institutions of foreign policy?
The case of Israel and the Palestinian Territories
The six German political foundations – the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), the Konrad- Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (HSS), the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung (FNSt), the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (HBS) and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) – are legally treated as Non-Governmental-Organizations, but they are almost entirely financed through tax money given to them by the German State. Thus, in terms of their domestic and foreign activities these foundations are unique institutions. While focusing on political education, scientific research and scholarship programmes domestically, the foundations are carrying out activities in the field of dialog and political consulting in more than 100 countries abroad.
This work at home and abroad makes the foundations an important part of the political culture of Germany. The foundations have political influence and are connected to the policy decision makers. They have significant influence on and access to political key actors. Through informing and advising them they also strengthen the relationships with partners in the project countries and enhance their influence on policy abroad.
What role do the German political foundations play in this field? What impact do they have on the German foreign policy? And how do they influence the political landscape in the countries, they are working in? To analyse these questions the work of the political foundations in Israel and the Palestinian Territories offer a suitable case study. All six German foundations have been active in this region for many years. This large amount of projects in a geographically small area offers a good opportunity to analyse the work of the foundation and their influence. The theoretical frame for this research is the foreign policy analysis (FPA), a sub-field of the study of international relations. The case study will prove that the impact of the German political foundations on German foreign policy, in a complex global world, is growing due to the wide network and the well-grounded information that the foundations provide through their sustainable work abroad.