Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA) organised a seminar here for in Brussels for journalists to help journalists report objectively on the question “Does Israel really want peace?”
In the wake of renewed activity on the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the Europe Israel Press Association organised a seminar here in Brussels for journalists to enable and to report more objectively on the issue and in particular on the question “Does Israel really want peace in the Middle East?”
The session of information and discussion highlighted the facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not the myths, slogans or clichés normally used by both sides. Moderated by Yoshi Lempkowicz of the European Jewish Parliament, the guest speakers were Israeli journalist and researcher Ben Dror Yemini and the Ambassador of Israel to the European Union Mr David Walzer.
What was the purpose of the event?
Yoshi Lempkowicz, European Jewish Parliament :
“This is the first seminar organised, I would call it better a briefing, organised by the Europe Israel Press Association, for journalists, the first meeting here in Brussels at the Press Club Europe. Europe Israel Press Association was created one year ago to create a dialogue with journalists on the topic of Israel, to bring them, to provide them with information about this topic, and also to provide – to make them understand better the complexities of the issue of the Middle East conflict, Israel, but also other aspects of Israeli life.”
Guest speaker Ben Dror Yemini had very firm views about the peace process.
Ben Dror Yemini, journalist and researcher :
“We don’t need the peace process. I think a peace process is kind of a waste of time. It will be again a lot of travel, a lot of conferences, a lot of dinners; nothing will come out of it. I guess we know what we want, we want peace. And I think most people know what are the guidelines of the peace. Now if we know it, why don’t we put it on the table? When I am saying we I am speaking about the international community. Nobody is going to invent something new.”
I asked the ambassador, is security for Israel more important than a peace agreement?
His Excellency Mr David Walzer, Ambassador of Israel to the European Union :
“This is a very good question of course, but I think you cannot isolate the two. Security is a vital chapter, or a vital component of a comprehensive peace. A peace agreement which will deprive Israel of the ability and capabilities to defend itself would be worthless. A peace agreement which will provide Israel with the security it needs will allow us both to be more generous in the negotiations leading to that peace agreement, and living more safely and more happily if you so wish, with our neighbours after signing this agreement. But security is a vital piece and component of such an agreement and cannot be isolated and say “either you have this, or you have that”.
The hope is that after this conference journalists in Brussels will have a better understanding of Israel’s desire for peace, that is – peace but not at any price.
Colin Stevens, JN1, Brussels