High votes against Israeli-Palestinian peace possibility

An audience this week voted overwhelmingly against the possibility of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the next five years.

The debate in Westminster on "Paths to Peace: Proposals to Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" was sponsored by the Weidenfeld Institute for Strategic Dialogue and The Spectator magazine.

Speakers included former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy; Israel's former ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman; Palestinian MPs Hanan Ashrawi and Mustafa Barghouti; Tel Aviv's deputy mayor, Yael Dayan; and the former Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Despite five of the speakers agreeing that there was hope of a peace agreement within five years (with the exception of Mr Halevy, who said that there was no chance of a permanent solution in the near future and that therefore the sides should strive for an interim agreement), the audience was not convinced.

At the end of the debate, 75 per cent voted against the motion.

    Last updated: 3:16pm, September 18 2008