Since the failure of the Oslo accords and the outbreak of the second Intifada, peace has ceased to be within reach for two generations of young Israelis and Palestinians, who have become irrevocably overwhelmed with a conflict state-of-mind.
In spite of this dire situation, the International Forum for Peace insists on pursuing cross-border cooperation. To instigate positive change, the two societies should should create favourable conditions in the realms of education, economics and culture, which will lay the foundations for a culture of peace. Within the span of several years, I witnessed a remarkable rapprochement after 1993, and its destructive undoing with the outbreak of the second Intifada.
With a firm knowledge of the obstacles which exist on the ground, and no illusions, I am convinced that it is possible to revive hope. Our task is to encourage cooperation and mutual respect for the national aspirations of each society, in a context of humility and generosity.
(President and co-founder of the Forum)
An Israeli-Palestinian Initiative in Europe
The International Forum for Peace was co-founded in 2002 by the French-Israeli Ofer Brochtein, former official in the administration of the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Anis El Qaq, the delegate of the Palestinian Authority to Switzerland.
Ofer Bronchtein has always been an ardent peace activist. His first steps in the field were as a special envoy to Tunisia under Itzhak Rabin, in charge of preparing and following up on the Oslo accords. His commitment to this remains high, as president of the International Center for Peace and the International Institute of the Histadruth.
Anis el Qaq, a Jerusalem native, was the coordinator of several Palestinian NGOs before becoming the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, in charge of the relations between the Palestinian Authority and international organisations. Co-founder of the Israeli/Palestinian Parliamentary Forum with Ofer Brochtein, he is today the Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority to Bern, Switzerland
The two men, who became close friends in the wake of the Oslo agreements in 1993, have resolutely collaborated over the years to promote positive interaction and reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians.
The establishment of the Forum signifies their refusal to succumb to fatalism. They are committed to support all concrete measures aimed at preparing the ground for a sustainable collaboration between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples in the future.