Reflections on “Visions for Conflict Resolution: Israel at 74”
We were delighted to be back together with Yachad for the first time in-person since recent years’ restrictions.
Our joint event ‘Visions for conflict resolution: Israel at 74’ demonstrated the complementary roles of our two organisations. Yachad mobilises British Jews in support of a political resolution to the conflict, working to ensure the British Jewish community and the political discourse in the UK better represents the views of its supporters. The New Israel Fund offers people the opportunity to support Israelis and Palestinians working to remedy and ultimately overcome those challenges.
There is no Status QuoOne thing that our speakers agree on is that there is no “status quo” in Israel-Palestine. New settlements are built, new laws are passed, and new governments form all the time. As Professor Oren Yiftachel said “nothing is static, the crisis is gradually deepening.”
“We don’t even dream of taking a train from Tel Aviv to Cairo”
Both Oren and Bissan discussed the possibility of a wider connections between Israel, Palestine, and the wider Middle East. Whether through stronger economic and political cooperation, more freedom of movement between Israel & Palestine, or one day the possibility of an EU-style Middle Eastern Union, Oren and Bissan are looking beyond the current situation to a future full of potential for all peoples in the region.
“To stop the disaster on the ground, that’s the most important thing”
Professor Oren Yiftachel is the former chair of B’tselem, an NIF grantee who provide cameras to Palestinians to document human rights violations carried out by Israeli settlers. Through his work he has helped document hundreds of human rights violations, which all of our panellists agree need to be stopped immediately.
“When we talk about peace, people always imagine comfortable things”
Bissan Salman is a VP of the Regional Organization for Peace, Economics & Security (ROPES) – an NGO that works to expand the coalition for a conflict-ending Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by connecting forward-thinking Israeli and Palestinian emerging leaders with like-minded peers from across the Arab world.
Bissan emphasised that peace will not be comfortable for everyone, and will require compromises on all sides.
There are other places to learn from
Our speakers have found inspiration from Northern Ireland to Bosnia to Brussels. As Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt said “the politics of Norther Ireland has moved on, it has not resolved, but there is a significant difference because people put away bombs and bullets.”
Whilst each situation and conflict have distinct characteristics, navigating issues of identity, borders, territorial disputes, shared capital cities, sovereignty and spectrums of integrated governing authorities are not unique to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Achieving an end to this conflict requires the ability to imagine an alternative future and drawing on the experience of other albeit not fully resolved conflicts can make that better future more attainable.