On Monday during the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual business lunch, the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak restated the UK Government’s support for the concept of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. As he came toward the close of a wide-ranging speech, Prime Minister Sunak spoke about the Abraham Accords, how the UK could leverage its “strong ties” to expand them, and the possibility of this momentum being deployed toward the Israeli-Palestinian track, saying: “Of course, the expansion of Arab-Israeli peace in the region also provides a valuable route to Israeli-Palestinian peace. It is why this Government will explore with our U.S. allies joining the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.”
The International Fund concept—which he described as “an exciting new way” that the UK and others could “empower peaceful coexistence projects”— has now been endorsed by the UK Government as well as the two primary parties in opposition in England and Wales, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.
Prime Minister Sunak was joined at the CFI lunch by the UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who spoke at ALLMEP’s 2021 Light the Way Gala and told the House of Commons last year 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 Prime Minister’s remarks come a week after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken championed the importance of the $250m Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) in his speech to J Street, and the way in which it was allowing Israeli and Palestinian communities to “tackle their shared challenges.”
With support for an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace now growing on both sides of the Atlantic, and the funds provided via MEPPA beginning to flow to the region, there is hope that the work of peacebuilders will finally be resourced at a level where they can challenge the troubling events on the ground. As ALLMEP’s Executive Director John Lyndon recently wrote in Ha’aretz, an International Fund could “open new political pathways for Israeli and Palestinian youth to engage each other in meaningful numbers, counteracting the echo chambers that have allowed the worst prejudices to fester and extremists to gain ground” and “create the foundations that we know true conflict resolution requires.”