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Dr. Gershon Baskin is the Israeli co-CEO of IPCRI (Israel/Palestine Centre for Research and Information), a veteran peace activist and played a crucial role in the release of Gilad Shalit though his direct contacts with Hamas.
In this roundtable discussion held in BICOM’s London office in March 2012, Baskin argued that there is no issue in the peace process to which solutions have not been found, and the challenge now is how to get the leaders to make the necessary decisions. He further made the case that the current leaderships were an ideal combination to deliver a deal, since no leader other than Benjamin Netanyahu could carry the support of 70 to 80 per cent of the Israeli public, and the Palestinians had never had a more moderate leadership than they do currently.
He stressed the political difficulties for both sides in negotiating publicly, and argued that secret back channels are the way to make progress, with international pressure required on both sets of leaders to engage. The discussion also addressed the need for a culture of peace, the exploitation of the conflict for political purposes by groups on the British left, as well as the reasons for the weakness of the Israeli peace camp in the wake of the Second Intifada.