Palestinian, Israeli business leaders unite to lobby for peace

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A group of more than 200 Arab and Israeli business leaders has united to lobby for peace after decades of conflict.

Members of the Breaking the Impasse Initiative (BTI) said they would throw their support behind political leaders on both sides, in pushing for a two-state solution.


They made their announcement today at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

Watch the video of the event below

The initiative was launched jointly by Munib Masri, chairman of PADICO Holding, and Yossi Vardi, chairman of International Technologies Ventures.

“We were able to gather hundreds of business people... from the left, from the right, religious, secular,” said Vardi. “We would like to encourage the leaders [in] resolving this conflict.”

Masri said that the majority of Palestinians want to achieve a two-state solution.

“Palestinians yearn for freedom, dignity and independence from occupation and we see no good coming from the current impasse except the perils of future conflict,” he said.

Other panel members said that the group represents around 300 business people from both sides, although a statement released by the WEF put the number at closer to 200.

Palestinian members of the BTI include Riad Kamal, founder of Arabtec construction firm, and Zahi Khouri, chief executive of the Palestinian National Beverage Company.

Israeli members include Mooly Eden, the president of Intel Israel, and Yadin Kaufman, partner of the Middle East Venture Fund.

The business group acknowledged that a solution would not come easily, and that it can only come from political negotiations.

“All of us understand that the end of the conflict can be defined only by the leaders,” said Vardi.

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