Gershon Baskin

Putting the end forward


Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

When I established Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI) in March 1988 I proposed two very radical ideas. I put forward the endgame and said: the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is two states for two peoples.

Let’s start from the end and then figure out how to make it happen. If, as I believe, the conflict is a territorial-identity conflict – each side is willing to fight, kill and die for a territorial expression of their identity – and the territory in question is the same piece of land, then the only solution is partition. That partition must be based on mutual recognition of the legitimate demand for self-determination of both peoples. The second radical idea I proposed was that both sides should work together in a joint institution in joint working groups of professionals to figure out how to make this solution work and materialize.

The failure of the Oslo process has not changed the fundamental realities of the conflict. The issues in conflict remain the same and the solutions are still very similar to what they were even 20 years ago.

The most obvious change in the past 20 years is the total lack of trust that exists today across the conflict lines; it is a lot more difficult to get the officials on both sides to sit at the same table.

What made the establishment of IPCRI successful in 1988 is what will enable a renewal of a genuine peace process with much higher chances of success – because we actually have the ability to learn from the mistakes of the past. The essential ingredient is what has been absent from the peace process from its beginning – agreeing on the endgame up front.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he accepts the two-state solution, yet he is not ready implement policies that will bring it to fruition.

Enough empty words. It is time to translate the twostate solution into parameters that have some real meaning. It is time to declare that the two-state solution will be based on the armistice borders of 1949 with agreed-upon territorial swaps that recognize the strategic and defensive needs of Israel and the reality on the ground.

It is time to agree, as stated in the Declaration of Principles from September 1993, that both sides will negotiate, in good faith, the future of Jerusalem and the future of the Palestinian refugees. Netanyahu came close to saying this in the United Nations in September this year: “Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative” were his exact words. The Arab Peace Initiative calls on Israel to withdraw from all of the territories it captured in June 1967, “attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194; accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.” These are the parameters for Israeli Palestinian peace. This was clear back in 1988 when I founded IPCRI and it is even clearer today. And even Netanyahu knows it.

It would be virtually unimaginable for Netanyahu to admit out loud that he recognizes that the end of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that would end the conflict and all claims will be based on this formula.

His government would disintegrate before he would finish uttering the words. That is why Netanyahu and Israel needs the UN Security Council to pass a resolution during the 70 days that will remain after US elections on November 8 and before January 20 when President Barack Obama will leave the Oval Office. There is no chance that a new US president will enable such a resolution to pass without a US veto, and that is why this is a window of opportunity to save Israel and the Palestinians and increase the chances of a negotiated agreement between them.

Neither the UN nor the US can impose an agreement on the Israelis and Palestinians. Any agreement must be negotiated between the parties. But no genuine negotiations are likely to take place without an agreement on the endgame up front.

The negotiations are about the details, the maps, the mechanisms for security, the way in which Jerusalem will be shared as an open city, the capital for two states, on compensation and possible symbolic repatriation of refugees, and all other issues that the parties need to agree on. The UN Security Council resolution should unequivocally state that Israel is the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people in which all of its citizens enjoy full and equal rights and that Palestine is the democratic nation-state of the Palestinian people in which all of its citizens enjoy full and equal rights. And it should also definitely state that with this resolution the parties will immediately commence with direct negotiations to end the conflict and all claims and to establish genuine peace.

Since we all know that this is the only solution to this conflict and that until now the parties have not been able to agree to even renew negotiations for many reasons, the international community can be most helpful by offering endgame parameters that will enable both sides to return to the table. President Obama began his eight years with a statement of intent to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace. So far he has not succeeded. Now he has one last chance to make a lasting mark and to give the warring parties another real chance to make it work.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier

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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin

Putting the end forward

Speaking peace out loud and all over

Secret back channels

Left, Right, Zionist, anti-Zionist

Clear and measurable steps


Palestine-Jordan confederation and peace

The waiting game

The apology, democracy and peace

Sisi, the peace broker


The republic of Israel-Palestine?

My enemy's leader

De-risking peace - Part 5

De-risking peace - Part 4

De-risking peace - Part 3

De-risking peace - Part 2

De-risking peace - Part 1

The Left is right

The French connection

The United Nations and Israel’s legitimacy

A moment of opportunity

The darkness of our times

Addressing the core

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian turmoil and Israeli interests

This one is for you - the Palestinians

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

Sooner or later

There is no partner

There is no partner


Yes, it is difficult to make peace

What does he really want?

To those who oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace

Israel – my sad home

Have I got news for you

It is still not too late for peace

Netanyahu, tell us what you really think!

The partnership challenge

The binational reality that we are experiencing

Abbas is still the leader who can make peace

A new intifada?

After Abbas

The distance between here and peace and security

Doing the wrong thing at that wrong time

The one and only solution!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right!

The disengagement – 10 years on: What we choose to forget

Needed - a new approach to Gaza

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Obviously no peace now, so what then?

Ramadan Kareem!

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

Anti-normalization hypocrites

FIFA, soccer and the Palestinians

Both sides now

It’s time for Palestine

The citizens’ challenge – from despair to hope

We have the chance to do the right thing in Yarmouks

The world is not against us

This is what you voted for, and this is what you will get

The no decision elections

A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless

For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home

Going ballistic even prior to an agreement

To the new IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot

The Peace Bridge

The choices we must make

Israeli elections – It’s not about the economy

Threats and security


Returning to negotiations

Our most important elections

The missed opportunities

We want peace, but they don't

Our future is in our hands

Defining who we are

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

Today and tomorrow

If we had a real leader

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

No tango going on at all

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

The end of the ceasefire, the renewal of war and the end game

The aftermath

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people

Mutual and reciprocal recognition

Our Palestinians, their Jews

A very personal statement on peace


Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen


Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

Es gibt einen Ausweg

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?