Rothschild Boulevard, opposite Habima Theater, Friday, July 22, 2016, 10 am – 4 pm. The largest in the series of grassroots negotiations organized by “Minds of Peace”:will take place on Friday, July 22, in downtown Tel Aviv. No less than 500 people – half of them Israelis, half Palestinians – will sit down for six hours on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, to discuss all issues of the prolonged conflict and try to reach a solution.
The format remains essentially the same as at several earlier such events: Each congress invites an Israeli delegation and a Palestinian delegation to negotiate solutions to the conflict. The negotiations are conducted in front of an audience which is invited to participate in the peacemaking process. This time, with 250 Israelis and 250 Palestinians involved, there will be 20 tables plus a plenary table.
Over the past month, organizers had made considerable efforts to get permits for the West Bank Palestinian participants to enter Israel and attend the Tel Aviv event. This was far from easy. Unfortunately, it proved virtually impossible to get permits for Gazans who wanted to take part, and their voice will be missing from this event.
Obviously, neither delegation is in any way empowered or authorized to actually negotiate and reach a binding agreement. Rather, the purpose of this event – as of previous ones – is to show that unofficial Israelis and unofficial Palestinians, representing a wide cross-section of the grassroots of their respective societies, can sit down in amity, tackle even the most difficult issues and reach agreement – even under the present highly inauspicious conditions of violence, bloodshed and deep mutual distrust.
This event is an important step towards the establishment of a major Israeli-Palestinian Grassroots Negotiating Congress with political power. It is the organizers’ hope that the success of such unofficial negotiations would help inspire – and push – the official leaderships on both sides eventually reach a binding agreement – and implement it!
The initiative is led by Dr. Sapir Handelman - an Israeli who received the Peter Becker Award in Peace & Conflict Studies. Dr. Handelman and his colleagues have successfully led 29 small and mid-scale Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congresses around the US and Canada, in the West Bank, and in open public places in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.
To view the agreements and videos visit: www.mindsofpeace.org and the ‘Minds of Peace’ Facebook page.
Israeli – Palestinian Public Grassroots Negotiating Congress, Hamashbir Plaza, Jerusalem, August 22-23, 2013
For more information: Rachel +972-54-4458020 Dr.Sapir Handelman: +972-50-307-6927
Below are two short videos. The first in English defining the initiative, the second
documenting segments of an earlier Tel Aviv congress