25 October, 2016

Campaigns

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Please support our campaign – ‘For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace’.

LFI’s campaign – ‘For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace’ – aims to persuade the British government to support the creation of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace; a fund designed by the Alliance for Middle East Peace to boost spending on coexistence work.

Already, we have persuaded the government to increase its support for coexistence projects from £0 in 2016/17 to £3m over the next three years. This is a huge step forward in LFI’s five-year campaign to secure more investment in this vital work.

But this new funding must act as a catalyst for the creation of an International Fund to ensure support for co-existence projects is both long-term and sustained.  The fund would aim to leverage and invest $200m in people-to-people work split roughly equally between the US, Europe, other international partners including the Arab world, and the private sector.

The fund is not intended to replace support that would otherwise be provided directly either to the Palestinian Authority or to Israel.

As Britain found in Northern Ireland, broad popular support is an essential underpinning for any successful peace process.

Over the two decades since the signing of the Oslo Accords, an extensive and growing network of NGOs has worked at a grassroots level to foster the values of coexistence, peace and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples which will be required if any future settlement is to be sustainable.

Such people-to-people work is already evident in all kinds of fields. From sports clubs for children and young people to environmental, cultural, economic and interfaith projects, the job of building positive relationships across conflict lines has already commenced.

However, despite the huge investments made by the international community in the peace process, coexistence work has not been viewed as an essential part of this investment.

Crucially, the intent behind the International Fund is to bring additional resources to solving this conflict by highlighting a critical need to support civil society projects and by unlocking large-scale project opportunities not possible with current resources. The fund is not intended to receive support that otherwise would be provided directly to either the Palestinian Authority or to Israel.

We at LFI feel now is the time to start prioritising coexistence work to lay the foundations for a lasting peace.

To find out more about the campaign, please see our campaign pack.

Read an interview with Joel Braunold from Alliance for Middle East Peace and John Lyndon from OneVoice about the fund here.

LFI Chair, Joan Ryan MP, has tabled a Ten Minute Rule Bill in Parliament in support of the fund. You can read about the bill here and watch the video below:

 

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Take Action – What You Can Do

Please email the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel on this email address: [email protected] and using the below suggested text:

Dear Secretary of State

We write to ask you to support the creation of the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

Modelled on the highly successful International Fund for Ireland, the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace has been designed by the Alliance for Middle East Peace – a coalition of over 90 organisations building people-to-people cooperation and coexistence – to leverage and increase public and private contributions worldwide, funding joint economic development and civil society projects that promote coexistence, peace and reconciliation.

Despite the huge investments made by the international community in the peace process, coexistence work has not been viewed as an essential part of this investment.

Britain’s spending in Israel-Palestine exemplifies the problem. As you will be aware, less than 13 percent of the £1.14m spent by the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund in Israel-Palestine is on people-to-people projects.

Without sufficient funding – either from governments or private philanthropy – coexistence projects are currently only able to have a limited impact. Operating at scale and properly funded, they could, however, help to build powerful constituencies for peace in Israel and Palestine, forcing leaders in both countries to return to meaningful negotiations.

We urge you to both support the creation of the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, and to show Britain’s commitment to this vital cause by increasing spending on coexistence work.

Yours sincerely

 

Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow

To show the impact co-existence projects can have, here are two quotes, one from an Israeli and one from a Palestinian, who participated in MEET (Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow). MEET connects, educates and empowers the next generation of young Israelis and Palestinians to become a network of leaders for positive change through technology and entrepreneurship.

A Palestinian student:

“Ever since I joined MEET as a high school student, I’ve been influenced by the motivating and inspiring atmosphere created jointly by every member of the MEET family: students, instructors, and staff. Even though at times I have not been fully certain of my potential, doubting my abilities to achieve one goal or another, I have learnt in time to adopt the can-do attitude reinforced at every step of the MEET journey. Upon finishing BA and MA in mathematics, I was eager to explore different interesting yet challenging territories. So I joined the venture lab as part of the alumni program. Having had zero experience in the world of entrepreneurship, I did not have a clue where to start or how to go about developing an idea. However, with every stage of the project, MEET has supported me and my team members with all the right ingredients of success, ranging from qualified mentors to the much-needed moral support. After this challenging experience, I felt skilled and confident to build my own idea and bring it to life. Two months ago, I joined the multinational pharmaceutical company, Teva, and I have since been working as a social entrepreneur on developing a mobile app that serves Palestinian pregnant women in East Jerusalem and Ramallah. I now feel confident that my project will flourish in this community, and will make the women’s experience much easier and smoother, for I have all the right skills and attitude to accomplish anything I set my mind to.”

An Israeli student:

“Before I was introduced to MEET, I was an average “geek” interested in Physics and Math who had no interest in politics and comfortable in my own “bubble”. One day a guy from MEET called Mustafa came to my school and explained about a program called “MEET” where MIT instructors teach you Computer Science and business and help you design your own projects. Given the geek that I was (and still am), I immediately signed up because of the MIT instructors. The Palestinian-Israeli part of the program didn’t catch my interest at that stage. 3 years after joining the program, I am proud to say that the program changed the way I view the regional conflict and made me want to make an actual change. I am currently working with a Palestinian I met in MEET and an Israeli (from an orthodox family) on a CMS project – and together we are showing people in the region that Palestinians and Israelis can co-exist and work together.”