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, 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 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry succeeded in restarting direct Track I Negotiations. While Hamas and some right-wing Israeli factions expressed their displeasure at Kerry’s efforts, Kerry claimed 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 was the lead negotiator for the Palestinian side, and Tzipni Livni was the lead negotiator for the State of Israel. For more information about the issues on the table, read this.

 

Though this particular effort was unsuccessful in bringing about a comprehensive agreement, 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 of 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. In 2014, IPCRI published its major “Two States in One Space” report, which proposes a solution wherein Israel and Palestine can each have a sovereign state, side by side, but with a high degree of cooperation flexibility. 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 side. 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 of creating environmental infrastructure, as they don’t know where future borders will lie, or whether another war will hinder or destroy their efforts. 

IPCRI remains committed to environmental cooperation, recognizing that Israelis and Palestinians live in a shared environment. IPCRI created and hosted a joint Israeli-Palestinian Environmental Forum in which leading experts from both sides discussed 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.