U.K. Min­ister of State Bill Ram­mell MP struck an opti­mistic note during a talk last night on peace prospects between Pales­tinians and Israelis. The talk took place atNortheastern’sAlumni Cen­terat Columbus Place and was attended by about 60 people.

Citing the change in lead­er­ship at the White House and a new polit­ical land­scape in the Middle East, Ram­mell said the times are right to foster a com­pro­mise between the two sides. He sug­gested a two-​​state com­pro­mise in the Gaza Strip that could help forge a peaceful coex­is­tence between Israelis and Palestinians.

We need to get this process started,” Ram­mell said. “We need to give the mod­er­ates some­thing to vote for in upcoming Pales­tinian elec­tions. I can’t tell you how impor­tant it is to grasp for that chance at peace now.”

Ram­mell warned that the con­flict would con­tinue to poison global pol­i­tics if a com­pro­mise with the Gaza Strip cannot be found. He noted, “Israel can’t wait until the offer is per­fect. That day will never come.”

Acknowl­edging those who say peaceful coex­is­tence is unlikely, Ram­mell cited the suc­cesses of peace accords in Northern Ire­land, and other “sea changes,” such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

People didn’t think those things were pos­sible either. We need to hang onto those suc­cesses,” Ram­mell said, adding that com­pro­mise comes when those holding extreme views meet in the middle on solutions.

One of the lessons I learned with Northern Ire­land is that really big com­pro­mises come once you are in nego­ti­a­tions,” he said. “You won’t get the trans­for­ma­tive changes up front.”

With Pales­tinian elec­tions expected before the end of the year, the issue of state­hood needs to be placed on the table, he said. “The risk, oth­er­wise, is that they will vote for resistance.”

Ram­mell was elected to Par­lia­ment in 1997. As min­ister of state, he serves on behalf of the British gov­ern­ment on issues including the Middle East, Iran, counter-​​terrorism, counter-​​proliferation, and counter-​​narcotics. He is also engaged with rela­tions in the United States.

Ram­mell was the guest of Northeastern’s Inter­na­tional Affairs Pro­gram and its Middle East Center for Peace, Cul­ture, and Devel­op­ment. He com­mended Pres­i­dent Aoun for “putting North­eastern squarely on the inter­na­tional map,” and for facil­i­tating dis­cus­sions about world issues that extend far beyond Columbus Place.

I know in my bones that to get the peace we’re looking for, it will require a role for your country,” he said.