“The prevailing belief in Israel that the status quo is sustainable, and the conflict can be ‘managed’ at low intensity and not addressed and resolved, is a self-destructive illusion,” ALLMEP Europe President and Board member, Giorgio Gomel, cautioned in his opening remarks at the informal hearing at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies on July 6th, 2021.
The hearing was meant to investigate resolutions and interventions to the aftermath and crisis in Gaza, new national unity government in Israel, and political developments for Palestinians living in the territories. Gomel, alongside other experts, warned the committee that the conflict remains incredibly fragile and urged for increased support for grassroots peacebuilding.
“On the one hand there is the current political-diplomatic context…” Gomel said, as he explained that the political reality on the ground is tainted by chaos and instability. Gomel indicated some hope in acknowledging the declarative commitment of the Biden administration for peacebuilding and prioritizing Palestinian human rights in the West-Bank and Gaza. However, “on the other hand, there is the ongoing, underground, often ignored work of civil society movements” Gomel contrasted the political gridlock in Israel-Palestine with ALLMEP member organizations’ work towards peaceful solutions. He named a few ALLMEP members committed to long-term peacebuilding including Parents’ Circle, Combatants for Peace, The Peres Center for Peace, Givat Haviva, Hand in Hand, Kids4peace, Ecopeace Middle East, and more.
Gomel applauded their work and remarked “These movements and associations focus on so-called people-to-people programs, which aim at overcoming psychological obstacles to reconciliation and peace that lie in the dehumanizing perception of the other, depicted and experienced as an ungrateful and irreducible enemy”
Gomel finds promise, though, in political support for peacebuilding from other nations. His recommendations include expanding the transformative potential of MEPPA into an international fund. “ALLMEP is working to transform the mechanism introduced by the law into a genuine International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace, with the financial contribution and active participation of other countries.” Gomel explained. “Great Britain, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Italy and other countries in Asia and the Middle East have expressed varying degrees of interest and willingness to endorse the project in order to create a fully multilateral mechanism.” ALLMEP’s work towards an International Fund is critical for sustainable peace.