In a joint article for The Times Red Box this week, CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Commons) Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP and Labour Friends of Israel Chair Steve McCabe MP have urged the UK to join the board of the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
“A ready-made multilateral programme is waiting for the UK to engage and lead alongside the US and our international partners”, they write.
They explain that the enactment by the US Congress in December 2020 of the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act will deliver $250 million over the next five years to projects that support peace-building and economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians; “the largest investment ever in the region’s peacebuilders”.
The Parliamentarians state that they are “proud of the fact that in 2018 Britain became the first country in the world to endorse the concept of an international fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace”.
The US legislation “provides the chance for the UK to turn that commitment into concrete action”.
They note that “as originally conceptualised by the Alliance for Middle East Peace, the fund is not supposed to be a US-dominated or solely US-funded institution, and the new US legislation envisions international partners both contributing to it, and participating in its governance”.
The legislation “specifically creates seats on its board that are reserved for foreign governments or other international actors”, which Mr Crabb and Mr McCabe “strongly urge” the UK to join.
The multilateral dimension “chimes well” with President Biden’s commitment to international institutions and cooperation, which the UK will “rightly wish” to support.
Both MPs have “seen first-hand some of the remarkable peace-building projects operating in the region — which range from sport and summer clubs to tech training and environmental programmes”. They add that “after years of reduced contact between the two peoples due to violence and distrust, the positive impact of these coexistence programmes cannot be overstated”.
“As the winds of change pick up following the Abraham Accords peace deals between Israel and her Gulf neighbours, there is an opportunity to be seized here for a region-wide peace”, they write.