Building on our engagement with Knesset Members and senior party leaders from the right of Israeli politics, Forward Thinking facilitated a visit to Belfast and Dublin for an Israeli political delegation including ministerial chiefs of staff, political advisors, leaders, and academics. The group met with a range of British and Irish, unionist and nationalist figures with varied experiences of the conflict and peace process. It provided them with an understanding of the complexities of the conflict and the subsequent challenges involved in the pursuit of peace.
Issues such as political legacy, the importance of no preconditions for talks in the Irish context, the significance of maintaining a space for dialogue, and the changing attitudes of young people, were all explored. Meetings in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Belfast City Hall and the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade provided opportunity for the delegates to discuss the current challenges in Northern Ireland. This was particularly useful in light of the absence of a functioning executive in Stormont, as well as the uncertainties posed by Brexit, and served to highlight the continuous efforts required to sustain the peace settlement. In addition, the experience allowed the group to draw insights from Ireland that are valuable and useful to their own contexts.