The services that peacebuilding organisations provide for their communities are not just nice – they are necessary, a new report from the Alliance for Middle East Peace says this week. The study, A Resilient Israeli-Palestinian Peacebuilding Sector in the Face of the Coronavirus Pandemic, looks at the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on civic society groups which work in Israel and Palestine to further peace, coexistence and reconciliation. “Moving beyond dialogue and coexistence programming, during the pandemic, organisations have especially focused on providing critical support and direct community services while finding opportunities to advance dialogue towards peace,” the report finds. It was compiled from interviews with 10 of the 100 organisations which are members of ALLMEP’s coalition of groups which promote people-to-people peacebuilding.
The pandemic has coincided with a 25 percent drop in international aid to the Palestinians, one of the primary sources for civil society support. The UK government’s coexistence programme was wound-up this spring. The report finds that the topics of online dialogue have shifted from identity and conflict to mental health and other personal experiences that affect both Israelis and Palestinians under lockdown. The report suggests that many peacebuilding groups have innovated and expanded. Read full article