The Barenboim-Said Foundation organized a four-day symposium in Seville, Spain during the summer of 2004, attended by intellectuals and historians from Israel and Palestine. Also present was Felipe González, former Prime Minister of Spain and a leading player in the Middle East peace process for many years.
At the conclusion of the symposium, the participants issued a Declaration calling on the countries of Europe to seize the initiative in breaking the political deadlock in the Middle East:
DECLARATION: SYMPOSIUM 2004
Inspired by the cultural collaboration of Arabs and Jews in the Golden Age of Spain, by the remarkable collaboration of the late Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim, and by the outstanding achievements of the young Jewish and Arab musicians in the West-East Divan Orchestra during the last six years, we the undersigned, assembled in Sevilla, call upon the governments of Spain and Germany to act urgently to help Israelis and Palestinians break the political deadlock which has trapped both peoples in an inferno of mutual- and self-destruction. Israelis and Palestinians cannot resolve the conflict alone.
Europe’s engagement in this problem stems from a unique convergence of moral responsibility and vital strategic interests. It has a special moral responsibility to act, as a result of its historic contribution to creating the conflict. Moreover, Europe is a neighbour, not a bystander. It is already deeply affected by this conflict, which has generated waves of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism in many countries of Europe. Violence is spilling over into Europe from the Middle East. Europe must act vigorously and rapidly in the Middle East if the problems of the Middle East are not to engulf it.
Notwithstanding the fact that this is an asymmetrical situation, in which one side is the occupier, and the other is occupied, the tragedy is that historically both peoples are victims. Nevertheless, the destinies of the two peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, are inextricably linked in one land. Both peoples sense themselves to be profoundly threatened from without, and increasingly threatened from within. They are in fact both in grave, historic danger.
We believe that it is possible for the two peoples to live together in equality, and that security based only on power is an illusion. Real security can only be rooted in both justice and law. No security considerations can exempt Israel from the obligation to act morally and legally. There can be neither security without justice, nor justice without security.
Therefore, we urge Europe to use its considerable capacities to act forcefully and immediately to implement universal principles of justice rooted in Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions.