April 06, 2022

UNSCO hosts landmark ALLMEP diplomatic roundtable discussing Israeli/Palestinian peacebuilding 

Since its foundation, ALLMEP has aimed to connect the work of peacebuilders with that of the diplomatic community, so that elite level diplomacy and Israeli/Palestinian civil society can work in tandem and that their collective efforts for conflict resolution can have a greater impact. 

Last Tuesday in Jerusalem saw a historic milestone in that mission. The United Nations Special Coordinators Office (UNSCO) hosted ALLMEP’s local and international team as well as over twenty diplomats drawn from across the international community. The goal was to discuss the current state of the peacebuilding field, share insights and analysis, explore ideas for greater international cooperation and coordination on investments, and to present brand new data and research on the attitudes of Israeli and Palestinian youth, as well as the impact of peacebuilding programs upon those same attitudes.

Opening up the session, the Deputy Head of UNSCO’s political team Gregory Raikes told the gathered diplomats that UNSCO “views these initiatives as essential, not only for the important relationships they build and tangible results they produce for Palestinian and Israeli communities.” 

He added that in recent years UNSCO had sought to “intensify our outreach to the peacebuilding field, including through close contact with ALLMEP, as well as to partners in the diplomatic community who support this work. Today’s event is a key part of that process, and we’re glad that ALLMEP has brought together so many missions that support the peacebuilding field, so that we can discuss our collective efforts to support and bring attention to work being done on the ground.”  

Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, diplomats from every major donor state participated in the discussion. One European diplomat in attendance even remarked that this was the “very first time” that key embassies and consulates had convened to hold such a discussion, thanking ALLMEP and UNSCO for establishing this important precedent, which will hopefully allow further such events and discussions to follow. 

ALLMEP’s Executive Director John Lyndon thanked those in attendance for their vital support for peacebuilders, while also making the case that greater coordination among governments could unlock further impact. “We know that these programs are highly effective at reversing some of the most troubling attitudes among Israeli and Palestinian youth, and building the sort of trust and prioritization of peace that is so clearly lacking right now. That in turn can unlock diplomatic opportunities that we can all see are closed to us right now. And it can all happen more quickly and efficiently if we work together, and if this work is integrated within a larger strategy to achieve a final status resolution of the conflict.” 

The event came in the same week as Secretary Blinken visited the region, championing the importance of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) and announcing a $3.3m grant to ALLMEP member EcoPeace.

With MEPPA’s unprecedented resources continuing to roll out in the coming months, and the growing international recognition of the need to coordinate civil society support in order to heighten its impact, the event served as an important milestone in ALLMEP’s continued efforts to ensure that the work of Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilders can reach the scale and potential necessary to help catalyze genuine conflict resolution.