Israeli-Palestinian co-existence funding bill introduced to parliament

Tabled in the House of Commons today, the bill enjoys cross-party support.


A bill introduced to Parliament today, calling for Britain to promote a fund to support co-existence projects between Israelis and Palestinians, has achieved cross-party support.

Joan Ryan, parliamentary chair for Labour Friends of Israel, tabled a 10-minute rule bill, which allows backbench MPs to introduce legislation. With the title of Promotion of Israeli Palestinian Peace, the Bill’s supporters include Sir Eric Pickles, parliamentary chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, as well as other MPs from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties,

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Ryan stressed the importance of “co-existence projects that bring together Israelis and Palestinians to advance the cause of mutual understanding, reconciliation and trust.”

However, she said, the world has invested “only around £37m a year in people-to-people projects for Israel and Palestine: less than £4 for each Israeli and Palestinian person each year.

“Britain exemplifies this problem. From spending a pitiful £150,000 on coexistence projects in 2015-16, the government – despite repeated warm words to the contrary – appears to have cut this funding altogether in the current financial year.”

The Bill, Ms Ryan said, “requires the government to promote the establishment of the proposed International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace”, aiming “to leverage and increase public and private contributions worldwide.

“It is envisaged that the $200m per-year-fund – four times the current level of international support for people-to-people work in Israel-Palestine – would receive contributions of approximately 25 percent each from the US; Europe; the rest of the international community (including the Arab world); and the private sector”, she said.


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