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Dear Friends and Supporters,

IPCRI would like to thank you for your continued support. Without you, the success we have had in April and May 2014 would not have been possible. Your commitment to IPCRI and our vision encourages us to do our best and exceed our expected goals.

 

 

Since our last newsletter the peace negotiations have, to no great surprise, ended without success. The last few weeks have made it clear that the Israeli government, and particularly Prime Minister Netanyahu, are mainly to blame for this failure. In the past, Ehud Barak would claim to have “unmasked” Yasser Arafat and the fact that he did not want peace (many pundits now claim this was a fallacy). What has become clear this time around is that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has succeeded in unmasking Netanyahu for what he is (and, by contrast, isn't). He is not a man of peace; he does not support a two state solution; and he is leading Israel to a one-state reality that will maintain an apartheid-like regime in the West Bank.

 

Last week, by contrast, around 200 Israeli peace activists and I (Dan) accepted President Abbas’s invitation to come to the Muqataa. President Abbas continues to adamantly claim that he is a partner for peace, and that he wants to reach a true solution based on the 1967 borders with a capital in East Jerusalem and a just solution to the refugee issue. He told us that even following the breakdown in talks, instigated by Netanyahu’s refusal to honor his and his government’s commitment to release the 4th round of Palestinian prisoners, security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is sacred. He reiterated this several times, stating that he fully understands the Israeli need for security. He also spoke of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. He said that the new government will be comprised of technocrats, rather than Fatah or Hamas members, and that it will accept the three Quartet principles: recognizing Israel; abiding by previous diplomatic agreements; and renouncing violence as a means for achieving political goals.

 

President Abbas stressed the benefits that Israel will gain by accepting the Arab Peace Initiative (which he supports), and also spoke of his support for business, cultural and administrative cooperation with Israel, along with his desire to establish neighborly relations overall. His commitment is unquestionable and, over the past several months, he has delivered his message to scores of Israelis. Prime Minister Netanyahu, however, barely gives interviews in Hebrew to Israeli media, does not speak to the Israeli public and has refused the opportunity to host 200 Palestinian students. These are not signs of a brave leader. These are signs of a leader that needs to be replaced for the cause of peace.

 

The current state of affairs has, however, raised interest in IPCRI’s 'Two States in One Space' project. All 5 of the project's working groups are meeting and making progress. The overreaching question we have put to the research groups is how to establish and reconcile two sovereign nation states, side by side, with full freedom of movement between them. This is a paradigm shift from separation to sharing. It will require Israel to want to become part of the region, with Jewish children learning Arabic and Palestinian children learning Hebrew. It will require sacrifices from both sides but the benefits will be immense.

 

With the heightened interest in our project we hope to be able to raise additional funds to deepen and expand the project. We urgently need to establish an economic working group and are looking to raise $25,000 for that purpose. Please do consider helping us with this.

 

In any event, IPCRI's policy today remains what it always has been – that giving up is not an option. This is a wonderful, historic, beautiful region, with a unique culture, remarkable people, and huge potential. The alternative, as we have seen around us, is too terrible to contemplate. We must succeed and we will.

 

Thank you for your attention.

 

Dan and Riman 

 

 

 

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