A World without Walls 2013

“ICD Delegation to Israel and Palestine: Strengthen Bridges and Cooperation between Israel and Palestine”

(Jerusalem, Ramallah; November 19th - 20th, 2013)

Introduction

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy is dedicated to promoting global peace and stability through cultural diplomacy with particular interest in conflict zones around the world. Given the significance and impact of the conflict between Israel and Palestine for the region and for the world, the relations between Israel and Palestine are of high interest to the ICD.

As part of the ICD's effort to strengthen the relations and the bridges between Israel and Palestine, ICD sent a second peace delegation to Israel and Palestine from November 19th-22nd, 2013 to meet with key leaders, decision-makers, and stakeholders from both the governmental sector and civil society in the Israeli-Palestinian relations. The ICD Delegation included:  President Emil Constantinescu (President of the ICD Academy for Cultural Diplomacy; Former President of Romania; and Former Rector of the University of Bucharest), Dr. Solomon Passy (ICD Advisory Board Member; President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria; Former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria) and Mark Donfried (Director General of the ICD).

Agenda

In the morning of November 20th, the ICD Delegation visited the settlement of Samaria in Israel, where they met with both Israelis and Palestinians to discuss the peace process in the region. A private meeting was held with the Governor of Samaria and members of the local government where strong support for the ICD Levant Initiative for global peace was expressed and the request made for cultural diplomacy activity in the region. The delegation also visited an appliance making company (Lipski) who's 6000 staff members consist of 3000 Israelis and 3000 Palestinians. The CEO of the company is Israeli and the Manager of the entire plant is Palestinian. This company serves as a prime example of the potential for excellent cooperation possible between people of both countries and serves as a sign of progress in the relations.

In the afternoon of November 20th, the ICD Delegation then went on to an official visit of the Knesset in Jerusalem, where the ICD co-hosted a conference with the Knesset and the Inter Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics with the aim of promote the ICD Levant Initiative for global peace and to gain support for the peace process, and the development of further cooperation between the Israel and Palestine.  The ICD conference included many members of the Knesset as well as representatives from academia, diplomacy, and religious and civil society leaders. The highlight of the event was a private meeting with the ICD Delegation and with the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein to discuss the development of further cooperation with the Knesset and the support of the Knesset of the ICD Levant Initiative for global peace. At the conclusion of the event in the Knesset the ICD delegation then was given a private VIP tour of the Knesset.

In the evening of November 20th, the ICD co-hosted a working-dinner event with the Israel Council on Foreign Relations focused on the contributions that cultural diplomacy can make within the framework of Foreign Relations to contribute to the peace process. The event included senior diplomats and politicians, academic experts and researchers in the field of foreign policy and international relations.

On the 22nd November, the ICD travelled to Ramallah, Palestine and met with senior Palestinian authorities at the Ministry of Planning and Administration. The highlight of these meetings was a private meeting with the Hon. Ahmad Abbas, Director General of Ministry of Planning and Administration of the Palestinian Authority who passionately confirmed the interest and support of the Palestinian Authority of the ICD Levant Initiative for Global Peace and developing further cooperation with Israel in the framework of cultural diplomacy. After the governmental meetings the ICD Delegation had a historical tour of the city of Ramallah, including an important visit to the grave of the Hon. Yassar Arafat's grave to pay their respects and tribute to the contributions that Arafat made towards the peace process.

In conclusion, the ICD Delegation to Israel and Palestine was quite successful and the delegation was grateful to have acquired strong support from both the Israeli and Palestinian governments and civil societies for the ICD efforts in strengthening the Israeli-Palestinian relations. As a follow up to this visit, the ICD will develop specific cultural diplomacy activities and initiatives in Palestine and Israel in 2014.

Timetable

Wednesday, November 20th
9:15 Historical Tour of Samaria
10:00 Visit to Lipski Company including Meeting with Management and Factory Site Visit
12:00 Working-Lunch hosted by Governor of Samaria, Attorney Gershon Mesika
14:30 Arrival to Knesset
15:00 Meeting with Speaker of the Knesset, H.E. Yuli Edelstein
15:30 Conference in Knesset
17:30 VIP Tour of Knesset
19:00 Dinner & Discussion at the Israel Council on Foreign Relations
Thursday, November 21st
10:00 Historical Tour of Ramallah
11:00 Visit to Ministry of Planning and Administration of the Palestinian Authority
11:30 Meeting with Hon. Ahmad Abbas, Director General of Ministry of Planning and Administration of the Palestinian Authority
13:00 Lunch Hosted by Hon. Ahmad Abbas
14:30 Visit to Mukataa and the grave of the Hon. Yassar Arafat

Participant List

  • Hon. Ahmad Abbas
    Director General of Ministry of Planning and Administration of the Palestinian Authority
  • Amb. Alan Baker
    Director, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Prof. Dr. Alfred Tovias
    Walter Rathenau Professor in European Economics; Chairman of the Department of International Relations; Jean Monnet Chair, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • H. E. Amb. Andreea Pastarnac
    Ambassador of Romania to Israel
  • MK Dalia Itzik
    Member of the Israeli Knesset
  • H. E. Amb. Dr. Dimitar Mihaylov
    Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Israel
  • MK Eli Yishai
    Member of the Israeli Knesset; Former Deputy Prime Minister
  • Governor Gershon Mesika
    Governor of Samaria Council
  • Dr. Joel Peters
    Professor, Government and International Affairs, School of Public and International Affairs, VirginiaTech University
  • Amb. Dr. Jonathan Spyer
    Senior Research Fellow, Global Research in International Affairs Center; Former Israeli Ambassador
  • Dr. Laurence Weinbaum
    Chief Editor, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs
  • Masalha Azmi
    Palestinian Advocate & Notary
  • Amb. Mordechai Arbell
    Former Israeli Ambassador
  • Amb. Moshe Arad
    Former Israeli Ambassador
  • MK Nissim Zeev
    Member of the Israeli Knesset
  • Amb. Oded Ben-Hur
    Senior Diplomatic Advisor to the Knesset
    Mr. Shay Attias
    Chief Executive Officer, Council for Public Diplomacy
  • ShemTov Menachem
    Program Facilitaror, United Nations Development Program Israel
  • MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon
    Member of the Israeli Knesset
  • Prof. Dr. Shlomo Avineri
    Professor, Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Yehuda Cohen
    CEO, Lipski Installation & Sanitation Products
  • Yvette Schumacher
    Associate, Israel Council on Foreign Relations
  • Amb. Dr. Yosef Govrin
    Former Ambassador of Israel
  • The Hon. Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
    Speaker of the Israeli Knesset