The peoples of both Israel and Palestine want and deserve a just peace. We support and encourage parties from all sides who put aside divisive rhetoric to work for a lasting resolution to the conflict.
The long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been one of The Elders’ top priorities since the group was founded. Twenty-five years after the Oslo agreements and many rounds of negotiations, real progress towards a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis remains elusive.
Given the far-reaching impact of the unresolved conflict and the power imbalance between the parties, The Elders believe the international community has a vital role to play in helping Israelis and Palestinians reach a lasting solution. They fully support the Arab Peace Initiative, originally proposed in 2002. This calls for normal, peaceful and secure relations between Israel and the Arab world, in return for Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, and a just solution to the refugee problem.
The Elders are calling for a peaceful resolution that must:
Only a just and secure peace, based on international law and human rights principles, offers a genuine prospect of guaranteeing the right to all Palestinians and Israelis to live in equality, dignity and security.
The Elders during a visit to the West Bank village of Bil'in, August 2009
While the Elders actively support international efforts to achieve a comprehensive and final settlement of the conflict, they do not act as mediators. Working publicly and privately, the Elders aim to offer advice where helpful and build popular support for a just and secure peace for all. As an independent group, they hope that by meeting policy-makers, in the region and beyond, as well as ordinary people affected by the conflict, and by supporting those working for peace and reconciliation at the grassroots they can:
Peace-building needs the active, sustained involvement of all sectors of society – politicians, civil society, business, young people, women’s groups, academics – supported by international friends of peace and justice. That’s why the Elders reach out to those in Israel and Palestine who share their goals of finding and implementing peaceful ways to resolve the conflict.
Mary Robinson meets President of Israel, Shimon Peres, August 2009
The Elders visited Israel and the West Bank to meet youth representatives, non-violent activists, women’s organisations, human rights experts and UN agencies, as well as Israeli and Palestinian officials. From both Israelis and Palestinians, they heard a consistent message that peace is possible and achievable.
On the delegation: Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu.
Download The Elders' trip report, People and Peace in the Middle East. This report examines the impact of the conflict on ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.
Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi speak to young people at a UN-run school in Gaza, August 2010
The Elders visited Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. They called for a more comprehensive approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks following discussions with government officials, civil society, business leaders and young people. The Elders emphasised that ending the occupation of Palestinian land is the only way for Israel to achieve peace and enjoy normal relations with Palestinians and their Arab neighbours.
On the delegation: Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson.
Read their trip report, A Just and Secure Peace for All. This latest report calls for a greater sense of urgency to bring about a peace based on international law.
Jimmy Carter meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, October 2012
The Elders visited Israel, the West Bank and Egypt to draw attention to the imperilled two-state solution. After meeting Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, civil society, and humanitarian and human rights experts they warned that the situation was veering towards a disastrous one-state outcome, and called for a fresh approach to stimulate negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
On the delegation: Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson.
Read the live blog from the visit.
Gro Harlem Brundtland and Jimmy Carter visit a kibbutz, April 2015
The Elders visited Israel and Palestine to call, publicly and privately, for a complete shift in policy towards Gaza that would address the root causes of the 2014 war, end the humanitarian crisis in the enclave, and prevent renewed conflict.
In addition, they explored the dwindling prospects for the two-state solution with both Israeli and Palestinian officials and civil society representatives, and stressed the need for reconciliation among the Palestinian factions, and the importance of reconnection between the West Bank and Gaza.
On the delegation: Gro Harlem Brundtland and Jimmy Carter