David Fernández Puyana
Ambassador and Permanent Observer of UPEACE

A Call for Peace in the Middle East

Credits: Getty Image
Credits: Getty Image

Each year the International Day of Peace (IDP) is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. Never has our world needed peace more.

This year’s theme is Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals. It is a call to action that recognizes our individual and collective responsibility to foster peace. Fostering peace contributes to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will create a culture of peace for all.

In this important day, we should recall that on 2nd August we marked 100 years since the Shimon Peres’ birth, a founding parent of Israel whose lifelong dedication to his country and peace. The new regional context can help to implement the Shimon Peres’ vision of a “New Middle East” that is based on cooperation rather the animosity. Peres voiced that everyone should “Let’s dream in BIG! Let’s dream on PEACE!

Despite the ruthless wars in the Middle East, there has been also important peace landmarks, such as the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979) signed by the Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat or the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty (1994) signed by Isaac Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat.

In August 2020 it was announced the Abraham Accords, which normalized diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel. The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres applauded this initiative as an opportunity for advancing in the peace agenda. This historic accord put another stone in the endless aspiration of peace in the Middle East since the birth of Israel.

We cannot change the past, but we can reshape the future. Young people and new generations have the opportunity to create a happier, better and vibrant future in the Middle East, in which all the countries, in particular Israel and Palestine, can exercise its fundamental right to live in peace and security. This brings me to the David Ben-Gurion’s reflection when he said “We wanted to create a new life, not the life that exists”.

About the Author
Dr. David Fernández Puyana was born in Spain and is a practitioner and international lawyer specialized in international human rights law, international relations, peace studies, United Nations and civil society movements. He earned a Phd with European Mention and he has also a Degree on Law & Philosophy, as well as, some Masters on Human Rights (Essex, Alcala de Henares and Barcelona Universities). He served as adviser at the UNESCO Liaison Office and the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva. As a legal assistant of the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on the right to peace, he was one of the architects of the Declaration on the Right to Peace adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2016. He advises Paz sin Fronteras and is Professor of Public International Law at Abat Oliba University CEU. Since June 2018, he serves as Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the University for Peace established by the UN General Assembly to the UN and UNESCO. He is also nominated Gender Champion.