The Words of the Marsh Family

MEPI, December 6, 2006 - Report

Robin Marsh
December 6, 2006

Today we began by introducing the Middle East Peace Initiative and the Universal Peace Federation to the participants. This was an easy task after the previous two days activities and the warmth of relationship that we received from the people we visited. They all had expressed appreciation for the work of MEPI and UPF through the appreciation of our visits and activities.

After the discussion we went to the Israeli Knesset to meet two Knesset members and show our MEPI group how politics works in Israel. Gen. (Ret.) Dany Yatom, the Deputy Leader of the Labour party met our group for the third time. He was extremely busy but gave us 30 minutes to explain the government’s policy on peace negotiations with Syria and Palestinians and the threat from Iran to the state of Israel. He supported the development of negotiations with Syria. He responded to some of the concerns that were raised the previous day by Palestinians in Bethlehem. He commented that if the money could be accounted for and not given to Hamas the tax money that Israel holds that belongs to Palestinians should be given to relieve the humanitarian suffering.

The majority of his time was explaining his concerns regarding the threat from Iran. He explained that the statements of the President of Iran that they would have passed the point of no return in three months (ie gained nuclear weapon technology) had brought forward all the expected timetables for having to deal with this threat.

Following this, Nadia Hillou MK joined our group. She is an Arab-Israeli who was the first to be elected on an Israeli list rather than for a special Arab-Israeli list. Her election represents a development in the integration of Arab-Israelis into Jewish society. She spoke to us about challenging discrimination in the budget that have not always treated Arab-Israelis fairly.

In the late afternoon the group went to see Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. On their return Professor Moshe Amirav spoke to the group. He is a friend of Priime Minister Ehud Olmert and someone who has been involved with Camp David negotiations and negotiations with Syria during Prime Minister Barak’s term of office. He explained the history of these negotiations and his thoughts about measures that could be undertaken to resolve the humiliation felt by Palestinians.

One participant from Holland expressed that the level of guest speakers during this MEPI had been outstanding and that he would encourage MPs from Holland to participate.

Robin Marsh

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