According to a December 16, 2007 Ha’aretz report, "an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, loads of time and countless attempts at intensive Spanish-brokered talks between Israelis and Palestinians went down the drain," when a "peace gathering" scheduled to take place December 14-16 in Madrid – The Forum for a Just Peace in the Middle East – "collapsed before it could even get started."
This Forum was originally organized by radical NGOs, lead by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) and Ittajah, working in conjunction with a number of Spanish and other European NGO groups, as well as ICAHD (funded by the EU) and the Alternative Information Centre (AIC). These NGOs are involved in anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns, and many were part of the catastrophic NGO Forum at the 2001 UN Durban Conference. According to the Forum’s website, “The [Spanish] Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports and gives impulse financially [to] the organisation of this Forum as a space for reflection on peace in the Middle East.”
The official pre-conference ‘Reference Document‘ outlining the principles and aims of the Forum is a radical document which states that, "The basic requirements for justice are only possible with an end to the Israeli occupation and colonization of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem…[and] the recognition and facilitation of the rights of Palestinian refugees, including their right to return to their lands…" It goes on to call for a "Mutual commitment to ending oppression ([Israeli’s] colonial and racist policies and their products)," proposing the Forum as a means to respond to the “massive Israeli attacks which destroyed Lebanon and the Gaza strip, intentionally violating the [sic] international and humanitarian law as well as the Geneva Convention…and the inability of the international community to put an end to these crimes…”
The Spanish government had agreed to host the conference, but decided, against the wishes of many of the organizing NGOs, to invite Israeli groups that favor a two-state solution to the conflict, including (according to the AIC) individuals from the Peres Center for Peace. When organizing NGOs learned of this, they decided to publicly "boycott" the conference. PNGO explained in a press release that, "The International Committee, which includes representatives of PNGO, the AIC, and other key Arab and international civil society networks, decided as far back as July that any group that wishes to take part in the Forum must first endorse the Reference Document as a necessary condition of participation…"that is: this was to be a "peace conference" only for those favoring the "right of return" and opposed to a two-state solution to the conflict.
Highlighting the centrality of political incitement to this framework, AIC issued an explanation of the decision taken with PNGO, Ittajah and ICAHD to "boycott" the conference (which resulted in its cancellation). The officials of these NGOs censured the Spanish government for establishing "a parallel Israeli delegation, bigger than the official one, aimed to change the agenda of the Madrid Social Forum from an Anti-Annapolis conference to an ‘all inclusive’ gathering.’" The rejectionist positions of these NGOs, clearly stated in the pre-conference ‘Reference Document‘, raises serious questions about the Spanish Government’s decision to fund and support this conference.