On Wednesday 16 September, YPI organised a lecture about the Israeli election outcomes and their influences on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice Dr. Williams, started off the evening in a sold-out institute. Recalling his experiences from working in the field of conflict management and for the United Nations, Dr. Williams stated that “parties in conflict, should always keep talking. Only then will they be able to address the disagreements and find solutions.” Distinguished member of the YPI Advisory Council and moderator of the evening Prof. De Hoop Scheffer added: “This event is a great a hopeful example of how Dr. Williams’ thoughts could turn into practice. Both sides should treat each other with respect with a capital R.”
Prof. De Hoop Scheffer then introduced the speakers and opened the floor to the first speaker of the night: the Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr. Divon. He closed his rather hopeful speech on the future of the peace process by stating that: “We should not be enemies, but cooperate instead.” Dr. Abuznaid, Head of the Palestinian Mission to the Netherlands, remained concerned during the first part of is statement, as he referred to the duration of this conflict and the many efforts to solve this conflict had failed. However, he ended his remarks cautiously optimistic by asking for patience, to “stay with us” and to “not give up hope for a better future. Everyone knows that it is better to be friends, than bad neighbours. We should help each other out. Cooperation is important since it is such a small region.”
After a small break, the representative of CIDI Youth, Mr. Van der Bas, gave an excellent explanation of the political landscape of Israel. Prof. Krouwel, Director of the Election Compass took over to explain the voting behaviour of the Israeli people. Referring to his Election Compass results from 2009, 2013 and 2015, he said: “The Israeli voters are differently divided than in other countries. These voters are not just divided by the usual two dimensions of religion and economics, but also by a dovisch/hawkisch dimension.”
Right after the last speaker, it was time for a more interactive form of debate. Through a Q/A session, the guests had the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers. In answering one of the questions, Mr. Divon urged that the new generation should never stop dreaming. Dr. Abuznaid commented on this by telling that his dream is that in the future, the Israeli and Palestinians could play football together, whether this would be in Ramallah, Hebron, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
We look back on a successful evening and want to thank the Hague Institute for Global Justice and our wonderful moderator and speakers.