The PEF engages in archaeological research and studies in the Levant and Cyprus. The Levant comprises Israel, the occupied territories of Palestine (including the Gaza Strip), Jordan, Lebanon, the Sinai Peninsula and parts of Syria.
The PEF’s policies regarding membership, grants, publications and lectures all seek to maintain the principles of neutrality and legality recognised by international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. The PEF neither supports any political agenda nor conducts any politically motivated activities. 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.
With respect to archaeological artefacts and excavations, the PEF adheres to the following international conventions:
- 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 referring to the removal of cultural property by an occupying power
The PEF does not associate itself with excavations conducted illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories or in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
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. The PEF also withholds support or endorsement from any individual or institution it believes to be involved in such activity.
With regard to its ordinary membership, its Board of Trustees, staff and consultants, the PEF exercises no discrimination regarding ethnic, political, or religious affiliation. Such persons may 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 will not be eligible for election to its Board of Trustees and may not be an employee or consultant of the PEF.