After the completion of the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, 28
Israelis, Palestinians and internationals gathered at the
Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem on September 15th for a day-long
strategy session under the heading Bringing Peace Together. The
goal was to evaluate the significance of the disengagement, and to
propose strategies that can utilize the momentum created by the
Israeli withdrawal from Gaza to revive the peace process.
The participants were: Fadel Tahboub, peace activist; Benjamin
Pogrund: Yakar Center for Social Concern; Abed al-Fatah Darwish:
PMDI; Mona Duzdar, Search for Common Ground; Khalil Shikaki,
Palestine Center for Policy and Survey Research; Najah Monasra:
Women's Mental Health; Edy Kaufman: Center Research Cooperation;
James Sevitt: Independent; Illana Canetti: Machsom Watch; Gershon
Baskin: IPCRI; Dan Jacobson: Peace Now; Zvia Walden, Geneva
Initiative; Sam'an Khoury: Peace and Democracy Forum; Simone
Comtesse, German Embassy; Abigail Jacobson: Hands of Peace; John
Bell, Search for Common Ground; Ya'acov Manor, Israeli Committee
Against House Demolitions; Jannie Kuik, IKV; Nora Murad, Panorama
Center, Ramallah; Yair Inov, Peace Now; Izhak Schnell, Bringing
Peace Together; Walid Salem, Panorama Center, Jerusalem; Naomi
Chazan, Meretz; Yoav Gordin, Daphna Bassewitch and Maya Kahanoff,
Swiss Center for Conflict Research, Management and Resolution,
Two questions dominated the discussion: What will happen in the
near future, and what can we do about it.
What we are witnessing now can be called a coordinated unilateral
process: Israel makes a move, such as the disengagement, and the
Palestinians have a chance to further develop their national
Since we are entering a period of elections in both communities, it
will only be possible to evaluate the prospects for a second
withdrawal after the elections.
On the Israeli side, four options are on the table:
1) The Left - Negotiations with the Palestinians for a permanent
2) Ramon- Continue with a unilateral withdrawal on the West
3) Sharon - End unilateral withdrawals and continue with the Road
Map, the Palestinians have obligations to create law and order in
the Palestinian Authority (PA).
4) Right - No negotiations and no peace in the foreseeable
If negotiations will not be possible in the near future, a
continuation of unilateral moves is the next best option. Israeli
civil society has to put pressure on its government to continue the
Among the key issues on the table that are of particular importance
to the Palestinians are the separation barrier Jerusalem, freedom
of movement and the borders with Egypt.
1) Act to ensure the possibility for a solution in Jerusalem
2) Eliminate all restrictions and remnants of occupation connected
3) Monitoring mechanisms should be established to note the
establishment of obstacles to peace and to react to them.
4) A Joint Civil Society Rapid Response Committee should be
5) Simultaneous pro-peace demonstrations should be carried out in
Israel and Palestine.
6) Efforts should be made in the coming elections to promote
7) Positive signals have to be sent by Israelis to Palestinians,
and by Palestinians to Israelis.
Bringing Peace Together is a joint
Israeli-Palestinian-International group aiming to develop
unerstanding between the several Israeli-Palestinian and
International Peace movements, and contribute to the development of
peace actions, in the region and worldwide.