Israel-Palestine: Taking Peace into their Own Hands

The Israel-Palestinian conflict has been raging for 70 years. Numerous peace attempts have been made at a state level, but a different approach is emerging.

The Minds of Peace experiment tried something new in peace negotiations.

"One of the missing components in almost all of the peace processes so far is the participation of the people in the struggle to end the conflict,” said Dr Sapir Handelman, Minds of Peace founder.

“Without public involvement, it is impossible to build an effective peace process and to end the conflict," he said.

Minds for Peace host public meetings where rival group representatives can negotiate solutions.

"The idea is very simple: You take an Israeli delegation, and a Palestinian delegation, in front of an audience, and the most important thing within the delegation is to seek people from within all the political spectrum and from all walks of life,” Dr Handelman said.

They have conducted 26 public negotiations in the past 3 years, about difficult issues like borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Almost all ended with agreements.

"Our mission is to translate this result to a mass movement that will lead to the establishment of a major Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress with political power," Dr Handelman said.

“We have two choices…killing each other or living together,” said a congress attendee, Maze. “And the whole Israeli [delegation} and the whole Palestinian [delegation] – all of them said to me ‘we want to live together’.”