At a meeting with PCFF at his central London office, Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister and Special Envoy on the Middle East, stressed the importance of grassroots reconciliation initiatives like the Bereaved Families Forum.

‘One of the things about conflicts like this one is that each side doesn’t always see the pain of the other side. It’s important for both sides to understand that it’s a shared experience, not a unique one, that you can begin to make sense of things,’ he said.

He was optimistic about the role of ‘real people’ as well as politicians from both sides working cooperatively together. He said he had found that in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations these voices became increasingly important as the negotiations progressed.

Speaking about his encounters with bereaved families in Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, he said: ‘You sit in a room with these people and think they really could have a future together. People need to know there are real people not simply politicians involved.’

Robi Damelin said after the meeting: ‘We are grateful to Tony Blair for meeting us and welcomed the opportunity to talk to him about the important role reconciliation should play as part of any future peace agreement in Israel/Palestine’.

‘Israelis and Palestinians have been killing each other for more than 100 years but the armed struggle doesn’t work,’ said Bassam Aramin. ‘It is important not to take sides in the conflict but to be pro-justice and pro-solution.’

Mr Blair said that although the peace talks were ‘tough’ he maintained hope. He praised US Secretary of State John Kerry for his tenacity in helping to keep the talks going. He said it was in the interest of both sides to have peace with their neighbours and that Israelis and Palestinians had shared aspirations to achieve.