Issues in Focus

IPCRI is committed to researching trends in Israel and Palestine, in addition to the region at large, and advocating for peace and cooperation. Below is a quick timeline with major events in the conflict, followed by key issues affecting our work and IPCRI's official positions.

 

Restarting Negotiations

 

Since the Oslo Accords almost 20 years ago, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have faced international pressure to resolve the conflict within the framework of a two-state solution. However, since then,the situation on the ground is constantly changing, leaving less room for the path envisaged when this process was initially developed. In July US Secretary of State John Kerry succeeded in restarting direct Track I Negotiations. While Hamas and some right-wing Israeli factions have expressed their displeasure at Kerry’s efforts, Kerry claims the two factions have made enough progress to meet in Washington for initial peace talks. Negotiations officially started in August 2013 with Israel and Palestine aiming to commit to a peace deal within nine months. Saeb Erekat is the lead negotiator for the Palestinian side and Tzipni Livni for the State of Israel. For more information about the issues on the table, read this.

 

IPCRI supports restarting direct negotiations in order to find a just and sustainable solution to the conflict. We recognize the need for both peoples to have access to their holy sites, and the need to end the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade over Gaza. However, since the Oslo Accords in 1993, there has been no substantive progress in the peace process, which has left Israelis and Palestinians frustrated and discouraged. IPCRI seeks to provide new and innovative solutions to the conflict. For example, IPCRI’s proposed “Two States in One Space” project will research how Israel and Palestine can each have a sovereign state, side by side, but work together. IPCRI aims to set up 10 specialized workgroups to examine 10 topics of the conflict and develop the general roadmap for a new two-state solution. Then 10 topics are: governance; residence, citizenship and collective rights; borders; the Gaza Strip; economic union; security; Jerusalem; resources and environment; reconciliation; and the region. This is a pragmatic solution with potential for creating a new political paradigm for the Middle East and present an alternative to the “two-state solution” framework.


Environmental Degradation

The West Bank faces several grievous environmental issues. First, a chronic water shortage in the region causes friction between Palestinians and Israelis, as Israelis control and ration water to the West Bank. This issue, coupled with a lack of sewage and wastewater treatment plants, causes environmental degradation and the spread of diseases. Under the occupation, the Israeli army focuses on the security of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which pushes environmental issues to the wayside. For example, the IDF, citing security needs, has uprooted over a quarter million olive and fruit trees in the West Bank, which is a major source of livelihood in the region.  Israelis and Palestinians are wary to create environmental infrastructure, as they don’t know where future borders will lie, or whether another war will hinder or destroy their efforts. Want o learn more about Palestinian-Israeli environmental concerns? Read this article from the Palestine-Israel Journal.

IPCRI remains committed to environmental cooperation, recognizing that Israelis and Palestinians live in a shared environment. IPCRI created and hosts a joint Israeli-Palestinian Environmental Forum in which leading experts from both sides discuss environmental issues and possible solutions. IPCRI also supports the implementation of renewable energy in Gaza, as well as the introduction of sustainable farming methods in West Bank communities disproportionately affected by the conflict. To learn about IPCRI’s commitment to the environment, read more on our “Sustainable Peace Building” and “Research and Information” pages.