The Palestine Exploration Fund engages in research and studies concerning the Levant and Cyprus. This work includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (including the Gaza Strip), the Sinai Peninsula, and parts of Syria.

The PEF’s policies regarding membership, research grants, publications, and lectures all seek to maintain the principles of neutrality and legality in accordance with the rulings of recognised international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. PEF neither supports any political agenda nor conducts any politically-motivated activities.

With respect to archaeological artefacts and excavations, PEF follows: the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property; the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects; the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, along with its two Protocols, which refer to the removal of cultural property by an occupying power; and PEF respects the illegality of conducting excavations in occupied territory.


Accordingly, the PEF does not support, encourage, fund, or publish research into items that have been transported or appropriated, or may be reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully handled, in contravention of these conventions. PEF also withholds support or endorsement from any individuals or institution we believe to be involved in such activity.

With regards to the general membership of the PEF, those serving on its Board of Trustees, its employed staff and consultants the PEF exercises no discrimination regarding ethnic, political or religious affiliation. PEF requires that such persons do not engage in any discriminatory activity in the name of the PEF. Any member who has engaged in activity that contravenes the PEF’s ethical policy as stated above will not be eligible for election to its Board of Trustees, to be employed as a member of its staff, or to be paid as a consultant.

The PEF’s aim to remain neutral extends to non-cooperation with institutions that employ academic research for overt political ends, including conferences, publications, or exhibitions.

Revised: March 2020