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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Yesterday, members of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement were invited to meet members of the Likud Party in the Knesset in Israel and many religious leaders. They were very interested in the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to this country, in effect. I reminded them that the Anglo-Irish Agreement was the forerunner of the Good Friday Agreement. It did not lead to peace between the two parties, but it set up the institutions that gave the Republic of Ireland a role in Northern Ireland and helped to pave the way for the Good Friday Agreement. I mention this because the Israeli delegation was very interested in the peace process. I reminded them that the term "peace process" was coined by the United States in the context of the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations of the 1970s. We have come an awful long way on the island of Ireland. I think we have done extremely well. It is ironic that the term "peace process" is still being used in the Israeli context even though they are still so far away from peace. The security of the Israeli State was mentioned, as were the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Palestinian diaspora. I said that this country is very well placed to act as an independent arbiter in the attempt to help to resolve those issues. These issues are never black and white. There are many grey areas. Our job is not to stand and wave one flag or the other. We need to see that there are two sides to every story and try to come to some conclusion. I think this country is well placed to step up to the plate again by helping to negotiating peace settlements in Israel and many other countries.