Alastair McPhail

Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

12th June 2014 Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine Territories

Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to my new blog!  Some of you will remember me from my time as Ambassador in South Sudan. Others will be meeting me for the first time.  I have been in Jerusalem for five months and would like to start a conversation with you about this fascinating part of the world.

My first five months have been a whirlwind. From a British point of view, there have been plenty of high-level official visitors. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, came in March. We also hosted the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, in April. The British Parliament’s International Development Committee came to look at our development programme. And we have had British artists and musicians here.

Work in Jerusalem is usually dominated by the Middle East Peace Process. While I have been here we have seen the unravelling of the talks and the reconciliation agreement between the PLO and Hamas. Wherever I go, Palestinians of all ages and backgrounds tell me that they want peace but are pessimistic about the possibility of achieving it. We can only hope that the leaders of the two sides can change the cycle of action and reaction and finally deliver a peace deal for the people they represent.

Alastair Meets Mahmoud Abbas 1
My first meeting with President Abbas

My next blog will reflect on my impressions of a recent visit to Hebron. Future blogs will cover a wide range of topics.  But they won’t all be about politics. I would like to talk about other things, such as the local cuisine and the differences between the different parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. And I look forward to hearing from you too. So watch this space!

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One comment on “Welcome to my new blog!

  1. Dear Dr. Alastair Mc Phail ,
    well it looks to me that yr. last months have been not only a “whirlwind” but also some kind of a desert storm – if someone is thinking ´bout the area in which you´re working. Nevertheless : I ´m convienced that ´s quite a good sign if you ´ve hosted already such high ranking British politicians as Prime Minister David Cameron or former Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Esp. if you do know that both gentlemen do have very different point of views in re. of politics. But this fact must be very warm welcomed by yourself for it must be useful to have (& to share!) different opinions for starting a “conversation (with all of yr. readers ) about this fascinating part…”. Nevertheless : most notable to me is yr. chapter ´bout the current relationship (someday maybe a friendship ? ) between PLO and Hamas. For I do believe , that as long as the ordinary Palestinians only want peace – the day of getting their political leaders together again around a peace – negotiations table can ´t be so far. For they just can ´t ignore this increasing peace wish of their own people ´till the end of times. So
    I´m really looking forward to read & see (thank ´s for the flickr-pics. ! ) more from you.
    Best wishes & take care , Ingo-Steven , Stuttgart

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About Alastair McPhail

Dr Alastair McPhail CMG OBE was appointed Her Majesty’s British
Consul General to Jerusalem in January 2014. Dr McPhail has worked in
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for 19 years. He was HM Ambassador
to South Sudan from independence on 9 July 2011 until his departure in
March 2013. Prior to becoming Ambassador to South Sudan he was HM Consul
General in Juba from March 2011 until South Sudan became independent
and the Consulate General was upgraded to a sovereign Embassy.
From 1996-2000 he worked on the northern Iraqi Kurdish peace process.
He worked on Sudan from 2000-2005, first as Head of the Egypt, Libya
and Sudan Section in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, then as Head
of the Sudan Unit – the UK’s international team charged with supporting
the Sudan peace process – and finally as the UK Special Representative
for Sudan. Dr McPhail attended every round of the negotiations on the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement from the first session at Machakos to the
final session at Naivasha. After that he took up overseas roles such as
Minister and Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Rome,
Italy and as the UK Special Envoy to Mali during a hostage crisis.

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