Nearly 70 years of dispossession
Almost 50 years of occupation
Over 20 years of a ‘peace process’
Peace and justice are as elusive as ever
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the spectacular modern examples of how negotiations fail to solve complex geopolitical issues. Since the first of the Oslo Accords was signed in 1993, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have held several rounds of negotiations for a final-status peace agreement. The basic premise of these negotiations – the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for a comprehensive regional peace between the Arab world and Israel, “land for peace” – has been compromised, most likely beyond repair.
During this period, hundreds of initiatives, supported by international civil society, aimed at advancing the peace process through dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians of various walks of life. Today, peace negotiations are structurally deadlocked but this so-called ‘peace industry’ continues unabated, with its mandate now refashioned as one of breaking the impasse. There is a growing realization, represented by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, that the real objective of the ‘peace industry’ is one of conflict management: maintaining the present equilibrium of limited Palestinian self-rule under overall Israeli control and a manageable level of resistance, for the benefit of the various stakeholders in that arrangement. In other words, that the ‘peace industry’ is an obstacle to a just solution to the conflict.
What are the reasons for this continuous failure? What changes would be required for meaningful negotiations? In the absence of such changes, what are the viable alternatives for pursuing justice and peace in Palestine and Israel? And what is the current state of those alternatives?
Come, listen, ask questions and flesh out some ideas together with other participants during this panel. Omar Shehabi will present a brief history of failed attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the role of international law in defining the conflict and its limitations as a basis for resolving it, and the emerging strategies for achieving justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians beyond the paradigm of the peace process.
What Omar brings to the conversation is his experience as a legal adviser with the Palestinian Negotiations Support Project, where he provided counsel to the Palestinian leadership on the international law aspects of final-status negotiations with Israel, and as a legal officer with the United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Jerusalem. Omar is the director of Palestine Works, a nonprofit organization promoting Palestinian human development by creating high-impact knowledge exchange opportunities.
The session will take 2 hours and will include a talk followed by an open discussion.
Date: 2016-02-26 14:30:00 - 2016-02-26 16:30:00, Europe/Brussels Time.