Welcome to my new blog!

This post is also available in: Arabic

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!

One Response

  1. Ingo-Steven Wais says:

    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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