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WEll done Lord Patten

November 24, 2016 22:54

Lord Patten of Barnes will be taking over from Baroness Helena Kennedy as MAP’s President in March. Lord Patten is a well-known and respected figure, whose experience, particularly working with the EU, will be invaluable.

I would like to extend our warmest thanks for the work Helena has done for MAP, she has been an inspirational President who has played a critically important role in our recent development. From her passionate speeches at MAP events to her fact finding visits to our projects in the region, Helena has placed the pursuit of justice and the rule of law at the centre of our efforts to advocate the Palestinians right to health. I am sure that she will continue to work closely with us in the future.

Steve James

MAP Chief Executive

Interview with Lord Patten

Lord Patten welcome to MAP and congratulations on becoming our new President, do you have any messages for our supporters?

“I think this is a tremendously important charity both because of the huge good that it does on the ground and its role as an advocate of better treatment of Palestinians.

It is almost unimaginable that MAP has been going on for twenty-five years and despite the work of MAP and others, the problems in the region haven’t been solved and the condition of many Palestinian families has continued to deteriorate.

I’m really keen to be involved in MAP I think it does wonderful work, several of my friends have been involved with the organisation, and I hope I can help MAP to get a better standard of life for people in Palestine.

What specific skills do you bring to the organisation?

I’ve had a bit of experience in Government as well as in the NGO sector way back in the 1970s when I was a young civil servant.

More recently I’ve had more experience with the politics around attempts to bring assistance to the region. I was a European Commissioner for External Relations and responsible for our development programmes in Palestinian, working with the Palestinian Authority. This was controversial as far as some were concerned, but it was hugely important work after the trashing of Palestine institutions by the Israeli Defence Forces.

I’ve also been involved in the policy making and advocacy in the region, as a co-chair for the International Crisis Group. We’ve done a huge amount of reporting on Palestine and Israel, and I am someone who occasionally writes in the papers about these issues. In particular I’ve been working with a group of Europeans to try to give support to Americans to press President Obama to deliver a new policy in the region and move us towards a two-state settlement which looks more and more difficult.

What do you think the EU can do to bring about sustainable peace in the region?

I think it has been a huge mistake by the member states of the EU to think that they can hang around and find out what the United States intends to do and then support it.

For some years it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that European Union policy was to have another meeting of the Quartet. The Secretary General of the Arab League satirised it as the ‘Quartet san trios’.

We shouldn’t be afraid in Europe to set out our own views on the way forward and, in a sense, the fact that we haven’t done that more vigorously has cut the ground from under the feet of many more moderate voices in the US who I think would otherwise be pointing to Europe’s initiatives as a reason for the Americans to get much more involved than they have been.

You were Governor of Hong Kong, a high-tech and developed city, now you are President of an organisation that has numerous projects in the Gaza Strip that has been blockaded for over two and a half years. Is there hope for the people of Gaza?

The great benefit that Hong Kong had was that it was an open market that enjoyed the rule of law and the entrepreneurial skills of Chinese people in the city. There is no reason why Palestinians with the right level of education shouldn’t be equally entrepreneurial, but if you choke off any attempt to establish economic activity apart from smuggling, if you constrain any effort at good governance based on the rule of law, then it is very difficult to see anything but continuing impoverishment and that’s something that it’s in everybody’s interest to prevent. If you give people no hope for their economic future you inevitably breed new generations of militancy and that’s profoundly stupid as well as immoral.

November 24, 2016 22:54

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