In December 1987, after 20 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian territories erupted in a mass popular revolt (the First Intifada) for freedom and for internal social and political reforms. It was in this political and social climate that the idea behind IPCRI, to build bridges of communication and cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian civil society, arose.
In March 1988, in the fourth month of the Intifada, Gershon Baskin, founder and former co-director of IPCRI, published advertisements in 3 Palestinian newspapers. The ads read:
"If you believe in the possibility of Palestinian-Israeli peace on the basis of a two state solution, if you believe that Palestinians and Israelis can work together on programs of active conflict resolution, if you're a person with initiative, a university graduate, and you're curious, call me"
The Intifada prompted a reassessment of the status quo and demonstrated the need to address the fundamental issue of how to bring about a peace process that would satisfy both the Palestinians' legitimate right of self-determination and Israel's legitimate security concerns. The advertisement prompted over 50 phone calls and numerous meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, producing the ideas, principles, and networks which would lead to the formation of IPCRI.
We believe in partnerships.
Despite decades of peacebuilding efforts in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still characterized by an extreme division between communities, where people live under oppression and in an unjust reality. We aspire towards a reality of peace that is based on the values of justice, equality, and freedom and that is formed by challenging the power dynamics resulting from the status quo.
Through facilitating new relations and trans-boundary partnerships between the different sides, we promote cross border solidarity that is essential to change the reality on the ground. In this approach, which combines community organizing and coalition building, we identify innovative ways to promote our values and reach a greater impact.
In practice, our unique "development for peacebuilding" approach combines action research with project implementation, directed towards advocacy. In this process, we generate crucial information from the ground up, harness local knowledge and participatory methods to bring stakeholders together in order to and design related policies that reflect and give voice to the visions of local communities. In this way, IPCRI develops innovative projects that enrich public discourse and influences policymakers.
With our thirty years of experience and excellent networks, we form coalitions necessary for achieving a sustainable policy change.
First ever Palestinian-Israeli working groups
Palestinian-Israeli working group on security credited by Yitzhak Rabin for opening the Oslo track
Development of the ‘two capitals in Jerusalem’ idea that is held until today
Engagement of hundreds Israeli and Palestinian environmentalists in a 3 year ‘our shared environment’ program
Law & Development program enlisted by the World Bank and IMF
10-year peace education program that developed curricula and trained hundreds of teachers
Training of Palestinian farmers as certified exporters to the EU
Widely used research on Palestinian and Israeli text books
International conference on regional water issues involving 200 experts
Back channel negotiations between the Israeli government and Hamas that ended with the release of Gilad Shalit and Palestinian prisoners
Involvement of over 350 Jewish and Arab/Palestinian youths in designing joint community projects within Israel.
Developing inclusive shared spaces in Jerusalem.
Over 200 people from all sides working together on challenges in the city of Jerusalem