Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel Tzipi Livni
Head of Palestinian Negotiating Team Ahmad Qurie
The announcement that the international donor community will be reconvening in May 2008 in London provides the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating team on fostering a culture of peace an opportunity to achieve its first success. The time has come for the Government of Israel and the PLO to agree to launch the International Fund for Palestinian-Israeli Peace. With support from governments around the world and major private sector contributors, such a fund will have a major impact on millions of Israelis and Palestinians and their public support for peace.
It can easily be assumed that if the two governments, as part of the negotiating process, were to present a joint request to the international donor community to support the creation of such a fund that the international community would respond positively and generously. We believe that the Fund should be launched with an initial international commitment of $250 million a year. Since the donor community expects to issue pledges for the next two years, a reasonable request would seek guaranteed support for the Fund the next two years.
You might be asking yourselves, how can we reach agreement on the International Fund when it is quite clear that fostering a culture of peace comes in parallel to resolving the core issues on the permanent status negotiations It should be clear to you that even prior to reaching full agreement on the core issues; it is necessary and even urgent to build support for peace amongst the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. We must have constituencies for peace in order to build support both now and after agreement is reached.
There are hundreds of small initiatives that have demonstrated the impact of bringing together tens of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians through all kinds of cooperative activities, programs, and projects in every sphere of life. The concept of these people-to-people grassroots initiatives is proven and is now ready for a dramatic expansion. The time is long overdue for the world to commit the resources necessary to truly realize the potential of these efforts.
One of the well known principles in negotiation theory is the need to build agreements and understandings. It is important in a difficult and complex process to create a history and a tradition of reaching agreements. Start small, and build up. The International Fund for Palestinian-Israeli Peace is (as the Americans say) as basic as âï¿½ï¿½apple pieâï¿½ï¿½ âï¿½ï¿½ how could one be against enemies meeting, talking and reaching understanding We remind you that according to the research, less than 5% of Israelis and Palestinians have ever even met someone from the âï¿½ï¿½other side.âï¿½ï¿½
Now is the time. With your leadership, the international community will respond positively. This initiative presents both parties the opportunity to announce a bold, jointly supported measure that sets a tone and lays a foundation for peace early on, even before reaching major agreements on the difficult political issues before you. We urge you to present this initiative to the international donor community at its next meeting in May.
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