Jordan Morgan, Middle East Programme Director, facilitated the visit of Roelf Meyer and Mohammed Bhabha to meet with diverse Palestinian leaders in:
- Nazareth (6th October),
- Nablus (6th October),
- Gaza (7th-10th October),
- Hebron (10th October)
- and Jerusalem (11th October).
As Chief Negotiator for the National Party Government, Roelf was intimately involved in the settlement of the South African conflict. Together with his counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, Chief Negotiator for the African National Congress (ANC), Roelf negotiated the end of apartheid and helped pave the way to the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. After the elections, Meyer continued in his post of Minister of Constitutional Affairs in the Cabinet of President Nelson Mandela.
Mohammed is a former Member of Parliament, qualified attorney, and experienced negotiator. He was part of the ANC team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), and later as part of the agreements on the final South African Constitution.
The aim of the visit was to share the South African experience of conflict resolution, democracy building and to understand the process which ended apartheid. Discussions focussed how to build unity, overcoming differences to reach consensus despite differences, the role of the international community, the importance of an inclusive process, and the need for bold political leadership.
Over the course of the week, meetings were held with over 230 Palestinian cross-factional leaders, diplomats, Knesset Members, Forward Thinking’s Palestinian Womens network, Palestinian academics, activists, in addition to, leaders from the High Follow Up Committee, which is a coordinating and representative body for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The visit provided an important opportunity for Forward Thinking to reconnect with its network and to listen to the current challenges and opportunities facing Palestinians. We will now work with those we met, Roelf and Mohammed to develop a strategic process that can enable leaders to address the challenges they identified.