ABOUT IPCRI 
What is IPCRI 
How Was IPCRI Born? 
IPCRI's History and Lessons 
Does All This Talk Really Make A Dent? 
Is IPCRI Still Needed? 
How Does IPCRI Work? 
Exploration and fact-finding 
Developing ideas 
Personalities and Supporters  
 

WHAT IS IPCRI?

IPCRI, founded in Jerusalem in 1988, is the only joint Palestinian-Israeli public policy think-tank in the world. It is devoted to developing practical solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
IPCRI deals with the cardinal issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict - issues where the two sides find themselves at loggerheads, and where cooperation is necessary.
We concern ourselves with all the major stumbling blocks that divide Israelis and Palestinians: 
   
What is the nature of the final status agreement that the two sides must reach - two states, confederal and power-sharing arrangements, links with Jordan etc. 
Where should the borders between the two entities be drawn?  
How to solve the intractable question of Jerusalem, the Holy City claimed by two nations and three monotheistic religions?  
What should happen to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip?  
How to guarantee the physical security of Israeli and Palestinian citizens against violence perpetrated by extremist opponents of the peace process on both sides?  
How to stimulate the economic development of the Palestinian territories in a way beneficial to both sides?  
How to solve the dearth of domestic, agricultural and industrial water for in our area?  
How to protect our vulnerable environment?  
How to educate two traumatized nations toward peaceful coexistence?  

IPCRI's approach is both head-on and hands-on:   
 
confront the issues 
propose a variety of alternative solutions 
forward these to the responsible quarters 
stimulate their discussion both among experts and among the public. 

We believe that the dilemmas must be agressively confronted and not postponed. IPCRI concentrates both on process and final outcome. IPCRI is not itself committed to any specific outcome; we do prefer solutions entailing equality between parties, cooperation, reciprocity of obligations and benefits - in a word, solutions that move the peace process as a whole forward.    
   

HOW WAS IPCRI BORN? 

The idea of IPCRI was born in 1988 at the onset of the intifada, the Palestinian uprising. Building bridges of communication between Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals became more urgent than ever. A need was felt for the creation of an organization that would squarely address the issue: how to bring about a peace process that will satisfy both the Palestinians' legitimate right of self-determination and Israel's equally legitimate security concerns. The cause of peace would be best served if some party could reach policy makers and decision makers on both sides ... and have concrete approaches ready. This is why IPCRI was established. 

  But Does All This Talk Really Make a Dent?

Starting with the discreet blessing of a number of Israeli and PLO leaders, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and specialists tested new ideas through IPCRI - and discovered new areas of agreement! Influence may be hard to measure, yet IPCRI is proud of its achievements. Security specialists convening under our auspices stimulated the opening of the Oslo channel. Informal "pre-negotiation" in IPCRI's economy roundtable contributed to liberalizing Israel's economic policy in the West Bank. IPCRI's water master plan is considered at the bilateral and multilateral negotiations. IPCRI helped develop new policies with regard to the liberalization of freedom of movement for Palestinian laborers and merchants. IPCRI conducted the first ever major study assessing the needs and desires of the Palestinian refugees in camps throughout the West Bank and Gaza. IPCRI conducted the first ever joint training course for Palestinian and Israeli police officers. IPCRI developed together with Palestinian and Israeli environmental official a "priority list" of important environment projects. There are many more - often intangible - areas where IPCRI has made its voice heard. IPCRI has the ear of those whose opinion counts.  

   
IS IPCRI STILL NEEDED?

Since 1993 Israel and the Palestinians are negotiating at an official level. Ultimately, solutions must be decided upon in a diplomatic process. But IPCRI's work is now more important than ever. The signature under official agreements is but the tip of the iceberg. It is preceded by much, often informal, preparation. Israeli-PLO talks continue to reveal fresh areas of disagreement. A host of practical problems await solution. Many sensitive topics - from the new Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to the received truths in history schoolbooks - have hardly yet been touched. IPCRI's contribution remains indispensable.

 

HOW DOES IPCRI WORK?

Peace with justice for all sides, economic prosperity together with respect for human rights, dialogue with tolerance of diversity - that is the vision that inspires IPCRI. But these ideals can only be turned into reality by perseverance, hard work, and sober thinking. Steadfastness of purpose must be met with a willingness for pragmatic compromise. IPCRI combines the heart with the head.  

Here's how :

Exploration and fact-finding

Whether to collect facts, compare situations, prepare activities, IPCRI staff or commissioned experts go out in the field to gather their data. Pollution measurements, unemployment figures, opinion polls ... all are grist to IPCRI's mill. We have had our staff compare different elections systems, sent a mission of prominent Jerusalemites to see how coexistence works in Brussels, and went to Jordan preparing for business cooperation. IPCRI has three departments working in a broad range of fields. 
 

1. The Strategic Analysis Unit - (SAU) deals with strategic issues such as: the future Israeli settlements, security, sovereignty, borders, the future of Jerusalem, and the refugees issue.   The main focus now is rebuilding a peace process and creating mechanisms for coordination and cooperation.

2. The Environment and Water Department (E&W) deals with issues such as environmental standards in agriculture, environment and public health.  water pollution,  the allocation of water, the development of new innovative models for joint management of natural resources..  

3. Peace Education - now focusing on developing text books in peace education for Israelis and Palestinian schools and on teacher training.

Developing ideas 

IPCRI's approach is practical and realistic. We generate - as much as we help others generate - alternative solutions. IPCRI produces ideas, and provides a safe forum for Israeli and Palestinian experts, policy advisers, etc. to engage in creative problem solving - exploring options and outlining solutions. Participants are encouraged to discover mutual interests. They are challenged to bring to fruition the living solutions that lie waiting underneath the old antagonisms. IPCRI works mostly in the following ways :

Roundtables: ongoing, periodic dialogues between Israeli and Palestinian experts in seven specialized fields: economic cooperation, water management, environment, the future of Jerusalem, civil society, collective identities, and business law.  

Conferences : IPCRI conferences have been held in Jerusalem, Taba, Cairo, London, Oxford, Turkey, Gaza, and elsewhere on topics like : water management, Jerusalem, regional tourism, industrialization, environment, civil society, business law, hospital waste management, agricultural trade, the future of the Israeli settlements, security and strategic planning, Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian Trade agreements, and more.  

Commissioned research has reached the interested public in a whole gamut of useful publications, ranging from labor migration in the Middle East to the strategic choices facing Palestinian negotiators, and from our regional water master plan to models for confederation.  

Library and database filled with publications, periodicals and news-clippings on the Palestinian territories, the Peace Process, economics and peace, Jerusalem, environment and water, settlements, refugees, security, tourism, and agriculture.  

Outreach Most often results are directly channeled to the appropriate authorities, and sometimes, where useful, to the general public. IPCRI has come out with detailed, pragmatic and implementable proposals about the future of Jerusalem, solving the dearth of water, coping with internal security challenges, trade arrangements, investment legislation, and much more. A host of material has found its way into our publications. IPCRI follows current events, and offers the leadership of both sides running comment, analysis and recommendations. IPCRI regularly participates in conferences and activities of other think-tanks. At other times, we ourselves initiate high-level meetings to foster agreement, and will do some quiet lobbying.


IPCRI is small, but influential. A cross-section of our participants shows a mix of high-level individuals with direct access to decision makers on both sides. IPCRI is also in permanent contact with the diplomatic community of all countries that deal with the Middle East peace process. While IPCRI's past work has been mainly low-profile, our public outreach is growing. Israelis and Palestinians have to live together and there will always be a role for an NGO which encourages creative cooperation between them.
 
 



 
"In the land of Israel the Jewish people was born, its spiritual, religious and national identity was formed...
The first sentence from the Israeli 
Declaration of Independence 
(1948).
"Palestine, the land of three monotheistic faiths, is where the Palestinian Arab people was born, on which it grew, developed and excelled...
The first sentence from the Palestinian Declaration of  Independence (1988).