Between 11 and 18 October 2014 the Youth Peace Initiative 2014 took place in the Hague, International City of Peace and Justice. The Youth Peace Initiative 2014 (YPI 2014) has been set up to get Israeli and Palestinian youth involved in the current peace negotiations between their nations. During the YPI 2014, seventeen young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, (five from Israel, five from Palestine, and seven from the rest of the world (Korea, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the United States and the Netherlands) assembled in the Hague and toured through the Netherlands to get to know the country and each other.
The YPI 2014 participants stayed together at the Institute of International Relations, Clingendael, (think tank and diplomatic academy) and worked on their own Roadmap for permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinian territories. These young people do have respect for their leaders Abbas, Netanyahu and Kerry, but their negotiations are based on experiences of the past. These young people want to be involved in the peace process because the decisions will have an impact on their future well-being. It is ‘about us, without us’. If things go wrong, these young people will be the ones who will have to pay the price. Simultaneously, if agreements are developed, these young people will also be responsible for insuring their success.
The whole week the participants discussed and deliberated to achieve consensus on ideas and solutions for the peace process. On Friday October 17th they presented their Roadmap "Our Common Future" to the ambassadors of Israel and Palestine. During the presentation at the International Press Centre Nieuwspoort in the Hague, two participants (from Israel en Palestine) concluded that the YPI 2014 was very successful. Throughout the process the belief has grown among the participants that peace between Israel and Palestinians is possible. Not only mutual respect was gained between each other during the discussions, but also the willingness was clear to come to common solutions and an agreement. The experience has learned that the participants definitely see opportunities for peace between the two parties. This agreement was achieved because of mutual trust.
On a lot of issues consensus was achieved between the parties on the basis of a two-state solution and the understanding that in any future agreement the right to live in freedom and dignity must be guaranteed without any discrimination. During the week the understanding arose about mutual issues, but unfortunately it stayed unresolved because of lack of time and has to be further discussed at a later stage. The participants have agreed on the continuation of the Youth Peace Initiative Foundation and expansion in the countries concerned. The suggestion is the creation of the Youth Peace Initiative of Palestinians and Israelis (YPIPI), a core group to continue with the fulfillment of the Roadmap. The Steering Committee in the Netherlands will continue to assist them.
The YPI participants all agree that a new round of peace negotiations must begin soon. These negotiations should focus on long-term solutions and these solutions should be based on mutual trust, respect and equality rather than earlier experience and history. In all future peace negotiations the young generation must be involved as negotiators or consultants. "Our Common Future" will also be presented to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and the Palestinian and the Israeli heads of the Peace Process negotiation teams.