SDLP MLA for Foyle, Pat Ramsey, has travelled as part of a delegation of MLAs, to Israel and Palestine to discuss the peace talks that have stalled there.
The delegation will meet with Palestinian representatives and Israeli opposition groups as well as academics and community activists in Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The hope is that lessons can be learned from the Irish peace process.
With the Assembly in recess, Mr. Ramsey was eager to do whatever he could to assist the peace process in the region. The delegation will return on Friday.
Speaking ahead of his departure on Sunday, Mr Ramsey said:“For the last number of years there has been a growing sense of frustration at the lack of progress in the Israeli and Palestinian peace talks. This has been a pressing issue for many of my constituents who are acutely aware of the harrowing situation in Palestine. It’s frustrating for me and I know it’s frustrating for my constituents watching countless tragic events without end on their televisions.
“However the tenor of the elections in Israel earlier this year and the recent speculation of a Third Intifada show that tensions have grown worse and a very volatile and dangerous station has emerged. A cohesive dialogue around a two state solution requires two willing partners to engage and it is important that we work with and support the moderate peace seeking centre ground in both Palestine and Israel.”
Mr. Ramsey added: “As such, our delegation will meet with a number of Israeli and Palestinian political representatives as well as academics and community activists in Ramallah and Jerusalem. We’ll hear from those affected by the occupation of the Palestinian territories and those suffering within Israel. It is important that they know the world is watching.”