A delegation of six Elders, from the independent group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, will visit Israel, the West Bank and Gaza at the end of August.
Former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso will lead the group of fellow Elders, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, Ela Bhatt and Gro Brundtland. Two business leaders supportive of the Elders, Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Skoll, also plan to attend.
This will be the first Elders visit to the region, although they have been following events in the Middle East closely since the formation of the group in 2007 – and a number of them have visited in their individual capacity.
Though The Elders are supportive of current efforts to reopen peace negotiations, they will not be involved in the talks.
Their aim will be to meet ordinary people, especially young people, and to listen to their hopes and concerns. They would like to lend their support to those who are working hard for peace – despite the barriers that increasingly separate Palestinians and Israelis.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most intractable in the world – with global consequences. Yet opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are in favour of a peace settlement. (TheElders.org)