- Published: Monday, 03 December 2012
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Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI), is a nonprofit think tank that was established almost 30 years ago for combining research with peace-building and advocacy initiatives across Israel and Palestine. Our mission is to engage policymakers and the public at large in ending the occupation and promoting a just and sustainable solution to the conflict. Through our activities, we aim to develop impact-oriented partnerships that empower local communities and apply participatory approaches and public diplomacy in engaging with policy makers.
IPCRI has two departments: Research and Information, and Sustainable Partnerships. Through its “Research and Information” projects, IPCRI aims to develop and advocate for practical political solutions to decision-makers and officials concerning the most divisive issues of the conflict such as Jerusalem, borders, economic relations, environmental concerns, and security.
IPCRI’s “Sustainable Partnerships” aim to transform the conflict into neighborly relations built upon mutual recognition and interests. We believe that impact-oriented partnerships between Palestinians and Israelis in a variety of fields can strengthen regional tolerance and foster a climate of peace, preparing the way for a safe and sustainable resolution to the conflict. We invest in economic, academic, professional, political, and personal relationships that further two central goals: mainstreaming Israeli-Palestinian interactions to fight racism and segregation, and developing trans-boundary capacity for long-term Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.
IPCRI was launched in 1988 to promote dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian civil society. 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. The Intifada emerged from the most dispossessed part of Palestinian society, the refugee camps. 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.
Research and Information:
Through our “Research and Information” projects, IPCRI aims to develop and advocate practical political solutions to decision-makers and officials concerning the most divisive issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict such as Jerusalem, borders, settlements, and security. We also aim to strengthen the support base for peace through our innovative ideas and Track II diplomacy efforts, which bring together prominent Israelis and Palestinians for joint cooperation. Our activities stimulate debate and inform the public about the possibilities for peace. They include research projects, roundtable discussions, conferences, and public forums, which encourage creative problem solving and promote mutual interests.
This branch of IPCRI is responsible for informing the public about all events and research undertaken by IPCRI. By providing video, audio, and textual information to the public, this department is fundamental in raising awareness about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and promoting a mutually acceptable peace agreement. IPCRI also provides a large database of information about IPCRI's past and present projects, provides updates and newsletters about recent events, and publicizes upcoming workshops, conferences, and meetings between Israelis and Palestinians.
IPCRI’s “Sustainable Partnerships” initiatives aim to develop and strengthen the public support for peace and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, as we believe that a just and sustainable resolution will only come about when there is public support. These initiatives have two main objectives: transforming the conflict and creating a shared environment. Our activities include both peace education and people-to-people conflict reconciliation programs, which help lay the foundation for post-conflict peace-building.
A large part of our peace-building work focuses on the environment. IPCRI’s Environment Department was founded in 1994 and aims to facilitate joint Israeli-Palestinian work on pressing environmental concerns as well as encourage sustainable development and understanding between the two peoples. This department focuses primarily on researching the effects of environmental degradation on Israel and Palestine, on the development of environmentally conscious infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza, and on promoting the environmental benefits of cooperation between Israel and Palestine. The Center for Environment's projects help Palestinians build the sustainable and independent infrastructure that is a pre-requisite for a future state. IPCRI has most recently been involved in projects focused on climate change research in the Jordan Valley, agriculture in Gaza, water and sanitation in the northern West Bank, and solar energy in villages south of Hebron, improving Palestinian agricultural export abilities and increasing domestic food production through aquaponics.
Since its inception, the Environment Department has secured the active involvement of Israeli and Palestinian ministries and agencies, academics from all the major universities in Israel and Palestine, NGO representatives, and private businesspeople. Please contact us directly if you would like to learn more about our work or partnership opportunities.