Labour continues to champion the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
On November 28th, 2023, Labour Friends of Israel hosted their annual luncheon against the backdrop of the Israel-Gaza war. At the event, prominent Labour party leaders— Rt Hon Keir Starmer MP, Rt Hon David Lammy MP, and Steve McCabe MP— steadfastly voiced their endorsement for the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
In the face of the ongoing crisis, these distinguished Labour party figures underscored the critical importance of expeditiously establishing the International Fund – ALLMEP’s flagship advocacy campaign. While the concept has previously been endorsed by the UK government, supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the urgency of its implementation has taken centre stage, as articulated by the leaders during the luncheon. Their collective stance reflects a decisive push toward this multilateral strategy, which the UK can be a key architect in shaping.
In his opening written statement, Rt Hon Keir Starmer, Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras and the Leader of HM Official Opposition, reiterated Labour’s longstanding endorsement of the establishment of an International Fund: “Labour has long supported LFI’s campaign for the establishment of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. I reiterate that support today. Investment in civic society peacebuilding in Israel and Palestine – laying the vital foundations for a renewed political process – could not be more urgent”
The Rt Hon Mr David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, endorsed the fund during his keynote speech: “I want to thank you for the work you have done for championing the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace. As my colleague Rachel Reeves said last year, this fund has Labour’s full support. And if I become Foreign Secretary, I will work with our partners around the world to help turn it into a concrete reality”. During his speech, he reiterated the need to have a new multilateral institution that would allow the international community to drive the Two State Solution forward. His remarks also highlighted the work of Vivian Silver, one of the very earliest leaders within ALLMEP who was murdered by Hamas on October 7th, stating that only a diplomatic solution – not a military one – would bring Israel security.
Steve McCabe MP, chair of LFI and Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak in his opening remarks, stated: “There has never been a better time to establish an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace”. In his written remarks, he elaborates: “In these dark days, LFI will continue to campaign to win the peace for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Our support for an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, modelled on the International Fund for Ireland and aimed at laying the civic society foundations for a future settlement, has never felt more relevant. We are heartened that Labour has endorsed this concept and we will work with our friends in the Alliance for Middle East Peace to ensure its realisation”
This year marked the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a remarkable achievement that brought an end to 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland. ALLMEP has long held up the Northern Ireland model as a blueprint for supporting people-to-people peacebuilding when looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More than a decade before the Good Friday Agreement, and thanks to leadership from the UK, EU and US, the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) began to support people-to-people peacebuilding activities in the region. The IFI invested at a scale never seen before, what the UK Chief Negotiator Jonathan Powell called “the great unsung hero” of the peace process.
Support continues to grow across G7 states for an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, with significant progress since the passage of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) in 2020 by U.S. Congress. ALLMEP continues to engage policymakers around the world so that a coordinated and multilateral approach can be agreed, radically scaling the work of peacebuilders and their efforts to disrupt the status quo.