On the 8th September 2015, Julie spoke up in the plenary chamber about the EU's role in the Middle East Peace Process, highlighting the role of civil society for peace.
"The peace process is taken to mean political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but the process of making peace, real, vibrant and viable peace, depends on real people, and real communities.
I would like to highlight the work of civil society organisations, artists, academics, and activists, who are striving to build co-existence and dialogue between communities. Organisations who seek to build tolerance, understanding and openness: the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, of parents who have lost a loved one in the war and work together for peace, or EcoPeace, Friends of the Earth Middle East, who connect Israelis and Palestinians in a fight for the environment, or Breaking the Silence, who are Israeli veterans who explain the wrongs of the occupations to Israeli society.
A viable peace depends on people to people contact and understanding, and the NGOs’ work is crucial to it. Their work makes Israeli and Palestinian societies stronger. The EU must take this into account, and seek to work with grassroots organisations.
These organisations also help expose human rights abuses on both sides, such as the demolitions of houses in the West Bank, some of which are structures funded by the EU and Member States. Having said this, the key question is: how can the EU institutions conduct a dialogue on the preservation of the two-state solution given settlement expansion and demolitions, and when will the Higher Representative report to the Parliament on this?"