This week, during their party conference, the Liberal Democratic Party in the UK passed a new motion addressing the party’s approach toward building lasting peace in Israel and Palestine. The motion was proposed by Layla Moran, party spokesperson for foreign affairs and the UK’s first MP of Palestinian heritage, and saw remarkable support from both Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI) and Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine. At the core of this unusual compromise between party factions was a policy that we have already seen create similar consensus in the United States and in Europe: the idea of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
The motion, coming in the wake of the passage of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act in the United States, calls for the UK government to support the “creation of an international fund for peace, such as the fund proposed by the Alliance for Middle East Peace whose purpose is to create a climate for peace in which the existing status quo, incitement and the language of hatred are seen as unacceptable.” Sharing this important policy aspiration, ALLMEP was graciously invited to present at a fringe at the conference this past Sunday. ALLMEP Executive Director, John Lyndon, Regional Director, Huda Abuarqoub, and Regional Operations Manager, Doubi Schwartz, attended and shared valuable insights regarding the field of practice, the needs of peacebuilding organizations in the region, and a vision for the way forward.
This follows important roundtables arranged by the Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel to help bring the Fund to the attention of Members of Parliament, and the support of Lord Alderdice, who saw for himself the impact that such an approach had in Northern Ireland, calling for a similar strategy in the Middle East.
Political negotiations and track one peace efforts ultimately depend on the consent, energies and ideas of each society. The Lowey Fund, and the wider ambition of an International Fund has the capacity to finally scale grassroots peacebuilding efforts to a level that can create those conditions, reshaping the diplomatic environment as a result.