“Eight months after a devastating war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt”- Gro Harlem Brundtland and Jimmy Carter say the people of Gaza deserve peace and dignity
The Elders ended their visit to Israel and Palestine with a call for meaningful steps to stop the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and reconcile the different Palestinian factions. They are convinced that only a two-state solution can bring a just and lasting peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Deputy Chair of The Elders, and Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, visited Israel and Palestine from 29 April to 2 May 2015.
The Elders regretted that they were unable to go to Gaza on this visit but expect to have future opportunities to travel there, to witness the situation firsthand.
They held talks with President Mahmoud Abbas and senior political figures from both Israel and Palestine, civil society groups and ordinary citizens to hear their perspectives and convey The Elders’ commitment to a fair and enduring resolution to the conflict.
Jimmy Carter, former US President, said:
“What we have seen and heard only strengthens our determination to work for peace, the situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eight months after a devastating war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt and people cannot live with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, said:
“It is utterly unacceptable that people in Gaza and Israel live in constant fear of bombardments, incursions and rocket attacks. This causes long-term damage to their physical and psychological health as well as their homes and communities.”
The Elders said reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, and the full establishment of the Government of National Consensus in Gaza, is vital to end further suffering. President Carter said:
“This was the focus of our discussions with President Abbas. We are committed to continued engagement with the President and the Hamas leadership to advance Palestinian reconciliation.”
The Elders also expressed their steadfast support for the State of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security within internationally-recognised borders. Prime Minister Brundtland said:
“We were heartened to hear ordinary Israelis telling us how much they want peace so they can live side by side with their Palestinian neighbours in a spirit of mutual respect, this gives us hope for the future. As Elders we will continue to do all we can to work with the international community to deliver real peace and security to all people in the region.”