PolicyHub July Update
ALLMEP is collecting key updates each month from the Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding field and discussing how they are impacting the wider policy environment. Monitoring the work of the 160+ organizations composing our membership, we witness the transformative power of people-to-people peacebuilding every day.
However, news of these incredible grassroots efforts does not always reach policy circles, where the vital importance of this work toward laying the infrastructure for an eventual diplomatic solution and a sustainable peace is not always appreciated. Without serious, properly funded efforts to build trust between Palestinian and Israeli societies, political leaders simply cannot make the difficult compromises needed for a conflict ending agreement.
This month’s update also includes some news on how ALLMEP members responded to the terrible escalation last weekend in Gaza/Southern Israel, with a ceasefire thankfully now holding at the time of writing.
Check out our list of July 2022 policy highlights below:
Physicians for Human Rights sent the first load of medical supplies to Gaza, worth over NIS 250,000. Donations included 30 different kinds of equipment and medicine. This comes at a time when Gaza is facing an unusual shortage in medical supplies.
Standing Together held demonstrations this past weekend in Rahat, Haifa, Umm El Fahm, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Jerusalem calling for ceasefire and de-escalation of tensions in Gaza and Southern Israel, writing “We all need to understand that the escalation must be stopped immediately. The price is paid and will be paid by Palestinians and Israelis alike.”
Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun published a joint front page ad in both the English and Hebrew editions of Ha’aretz on Monday, welcoming the ceasefire and calling for diplomacy to ensure that such escalations are impossible in the future. Writing: “Since the last military operation in Gaza, 18 months ago, no true attempt was made to implement sincere diplomatic talks, and we find ourselves in yet another round of violence. The Israeli movement Women Wage Peace and the 12-month-old Palestinian movement Women of the Sun are working tirelessly together to end the conflict. This collaboration between our movements is the alternative we should all strive for. All of us, Palestinians as well as Israelis, deserve a better life – a life of peace, security, and liberty. Both women’s movements call upon their respective leaders to act with courage and responsibility, to open an immediate channel for negotiating a solution to this severe conflict.” Their efforts to bring 150 Israeli and Palestinian mothers and children to the beach in Tel Aviv– many swimming in the sea for the very first time– are also mentioned in this op-ed by Ittay Flescher, contrasting it with the dehumanisation on display over the weekend.
Prior to this weekend’s escalation, Ecopeace helped orchestrate an effort to reactivate a water treatment facility plant that made Gaza beaches swimmable again. There are now three sewage treatment facilities, which, according to Gaza’s Environment Quality and Water Authority, make 65% of Gaza’s beach water suitable for bathing. Ecopeace has also been working to promote its Green Blue Deal which includes plans to address the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip. It proposes establishing a solar field in Area C of the West Bank and transmitting the created energy through the Israeli electric grid to the Gaza Strip. These solar fields will supply electricity for Gaza wastewater treatment, desalination, and water supply, among other humanitarian needs. The plan already has support from relevant parties from Israel and the Palestinian authority, and the project is currently garnering funders.
Project Rozana is launching their women’s health initiative Women4Women in partnership with Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Center to address the critical lack of healthcare for women and children in the West Bank. Through this initiative, a group of local female Palestinian healthcare professionals were trained at the Sheba Medical Center and provide healthcare in the West Bank, with additional virtual healthcare support Sheba as well as two Hebron-based hospitals.
The Israeli team of the Trilateral Working Group on Coexistence and Interfaith Tolerance, established under the Abrahamic Accords by Israel, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, held their first meeting on July 19. The team discussed issues including increasing religious tolerance, promoting religious freedom, and innovations to advance coexistence and cooperation between the member states of the Trilateral Group. The guest of honor at the meeting was former minister Rabbi Michael Melchior.
ALLMEP’s Jerusalem Conference “Unite the Field” was featured in UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s report to the UN Security Council, representing the first time that Israeli/Palestinian civil society peacebuilders were included as part of the report’s “affirmative steps” section.
President Biden announced two new MEPPA grants during his visit to Israel and the West Bank. The first grant provides more than $2 million over three years to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation to establish a Medical Cooperation Consortium that will create sustainable, formalized cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians in the healthcare field. The second grant provides $5 million over three years to Appleseeds to bring together Israeli and Palestinian youth and young professionals in the technology sector to develop career enhancing skills.
During President Biden’s visit, hundreds of women from ALLMEP members Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun marched together, and demonstrated on overpasses along the motorcade’s route to urge the President and the Israeli government to “put peace with the Palestinians on the agenda.”
The Knesset’s Subcommittee for Foreign Policy and Public Diplomacy and Committee for Constitution, Law and Justice hosted ALLMEP members the Peres Center and Hand in Hand for a committee meeting focused on civilian peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians through education.
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