Inside track to peace – Gershon Baskin
- Speaking at Meretz UK
- Hashomer House, 37a Broadhurst Gardens, London NW6 3QT
- Thursday, 1 May, from 7.30 pm
- Refreshments served; contributions
- £6.5. con' £4.5, members £2.5
“If you wish it, it is no fairytale” Theodor Herzl once said. To many Israelis and Palestinians the dream of peace, or just normal coexistence, has sadly remained just that – a fairytale. Yet seasoned negotiator and academic Gershon Baskin believes peace is possible. That is, as he recently argued in a Jewish Chronicle op-ed, if Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas truly got to know each other and developed the trust without which peace will never blossom.
So it is with great pleasure that Meretz UK invites you to hear from the man himself.
In Baskin’s words “The goal is to reach the really hard work of making peace, which begins the day after the agreement is reached.” last October he stated in another JC essay that “peace is closer than you think” even if there are pitfalls. And he speaks from personal experience. As the chief intermediary between Hamas and the Israeli government, Baskin played a key role in achieving the release of Gilad Schalit in late 2011, after years during which the young soldier languished in a Gaza prison. Last year Baskin published his book “The Negotiator”, about the hidden story of the Schalit and Palestinian prisoners swap. Likewise he advised successive Israeli administrations on peace negotiations, officially and unofficially, from Rabin to Barak and now to Netanyahu.
Born in the USA and deeply involved in the civil rights movement as a young student, Gershon immigrated to Israel in 1978 as an “Intern for Peace” and was soon working in an Israeli Arab village. The winner of numerous awards, a regular Jerusalem Post columnist and holder of a PhD, in 1988 he founded the Israel/Palestine Centre for Research and served as its co-director until 2012. Baskin is a compelling speaker who loves engaging with his audience. He presents a rare peek into the necessarily secret world of top level diplomacy, with all its high hopes and frequent disappointments. On Thursday he will focus on the breaking news of the day – the Hamas/Fatah unity pact, the arduous task of John Kerry, and the intricacies of cabinet debates and coalition politics in Jerusalem... perhaps even the effect of the Syrian crisis ‘next door’. Not to be missed!