Israelis & Palestinians to hold
A Grassroots Negotiations Congress
On the streets of Tel-Aviv
Thur. September 3, 2015, 10AM – 6PM
It will take place tomorrow, Thursday, September 3, 2015 – an Israeli delegation, a Palestinian delegation and as many members of the general public as want to participate, will hold street-level grassroots negotiations on a main Tel Aviv street. They will discuss and debate all contentious issues – even the most difficult and sensitive - and try to reach mutually satisfactory solutions. It will be held on the plaza at 48 King George St. opposite the Dizengoff Center Shopping Mall – a major Tel Aviv thoroughfare, frequented by people of varied ethnicities and walks of life at all hours of the day and for much of the night.
Each delegation will include 20 people, reflecting to a broad spectrum of backgrounds in both the Israeli and the Palestinian society: Israeli generals, Palestinian commanders, Israeli settlers, Palestinian ex-prisoners, academics, business people, and students. Members of the general public are most welcome to observe and also take an active part – both those who come especially and passers-by who happen on the grassroots negotiations completely by chance.
The grassroots congress is co-chaired by Dr. Sapir Handelman – an Israeli who received the Peter Becker Award in Peace & Conflict Studies; and Mr. Wisam Seder – a prominent Palestinian athlete and educator.
This event is part of an ongoing campaign aimed at establishing of a broad-based Israeli-Palestinian Grassroots Negotiating Congress, with enough public support in both societies to gain concrete political power which decision makers would be able to ignore . To that end, we are building international and domestic coalitions designed to involve the people in the peacemaking struggle and press leaderships to conclude agreements.
The Tel Aviv grassroots deliberations are to be divided into three forums:
Peacemaking – negotiating central issues, such as: borders, Jerusalem and refugees.
Peace building – trust building measures, education,economics, and so on.
Peace keeping – civilian, political and militaristic mechanisms to keep peace and stability.
Obviously, neither members of the Israeli delegation nor their Palestinian colleagues have any official standing or credentials, and any agreement they reach will not be binding. However, it is far from unimportant that, even under the present inauspicious conditions, Israelis and Palestinians can meet cordially in public, discuss even the most difficult issues troubling their two peoples – and reach agreement. The fact that this is possible could and should serve as an example and inspiration to the decision makers on both sides – who do have the power to make a binding agreement. Leaders on both sides should engage in official negotiations – not as a PR stunt or power game, but in order to genuinely reach a peace agreement and actually, fully implement it. Is it complicated? Is it difficult? Going on with the present situation is more complicated, more difficult and far more painful.
The Minds of Peace Organization has successfully led 27 small-scale Israeli-Palestinian grassroots negotiating congresses around the US and Canada, in the Middle East, and at open public places in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. In nearly all of the congresses, the respective Israeli and Palestinian delegations succeeded in reaching agreement – a remarkable result considering that these delegations were deliberately formed so as to include people with widely different political views and from all walks of life in both societies.
To view the agreements and videos of past grassroots negotiations sessions visit: www.mindsofpeace.org and facebook: ‘minds of peace’
Israeli - PalestinianPublic Negotiating Congress, Hamashbir Plaza, Jerusalem, August 22-23, 2013
For more information:
Dr. Alain Mordezki: 972-52-860-5272; “Minds of Peace”; peace.public @ gmail.com