This week has seen a wave of momentum in Britain around participation in an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. Britain had already officially endorsed the concept of an International Fund in 2018, and in a Westminster debate just weeks before passage of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA), every Member of Parliament (MP) who spoke championed the initiative, encouraging the U.K. to take a board seat and play a leading role in the project. This momentum grew further, following a joint oped in The Times in March by Conservative MP Stephen Crabb and Labour MP Steve McCabe, writing that “an international fund for Israel-Palestinian Peace could not come at a better time. Britain should seize this moment to be part of it.”
The unusual bipartisan support that MEPPA enjoys in Washington has now carried over to Westminster. On Tuesday in Parliament, Labour MP Rosie Cooper asked Middle East Minister James Cleverly: “In November our Ministers promised to examine the feasibility of the U.K. taking up one of the international seats on the Fund’s board. Can the Secretary of State tell us the results of that assessment? And can he confirm that the U.K. will use the G7 summit to step up and help this exciting new project with the United States?”
Sheryll Murray, a Conservative MP for Cornwall– where the G7 will be hosted in June– asked the Minister if the U.K. would use the summit to “underline our commitment to international institutions and multilateral cooperation… Does the Minister agree with me that it’s now time to take a seat on the International Fund?”
Minister Cleverly told the House of Commons that “we support the objectives of the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, and we will continue to engage with the Alliance for Middle East Peace and President Biden’s Administration to identify further opportunities for collaboration.”
The following afternoon, ALLMEP’s Executive Director, John Lyndon, was hosted by All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group for a meeting with a cross-party coalition of MPs and Lords to discuss the Fund, and the U.K.’s participation on its board. The group’s Chairman Bob Blackman, the MP for Harrow East, wrote that “The Britain-Israel APPG was pleased to host ALLMEP today to discuss U.K. support for peacebuilding and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. There is long-standing, cross-party support for the U.K. to join the U.S. in establishing an international fund for peace. This consensus is grounded in the view that a durable, permanent peace needs buy-in from the Israeli and Palestinian people no matter what form it takes. The U.K.’s commitment to a stable, international platform supporting grassroots peacebuilding will be an important step toward encouraging dialogue from the ground up.”
ALLMEP will continue to work with parliamentarians, officials and diplomats in the U.K., Europe and right around the world to leverage the multilateral potential of MEPPA and the unprecedented investment in peacebuilding that can follow, when the U.S. and its allies cooperate on this project to equip Israelis and Palestinians with the tools required for genuine conflict resolution.