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Bisharat, George E., Maximizing Rights: The One State Solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Global Jurist, Volume 8, Issue 2, 2008)

Kelman, Herbert C., A One-Country/Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Middle East Policy, Vol. XVII, No. 1, Spring 2011)

Shikaki, Khakik, Willing to Compromise: Palestinian Public Opinion and the Peace Process (U.S. Institute of Peace, SR 158, January 2006)

Introduction

On September 23, 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, submitted the necessary paperwork to the United Nations in an effort to seek international recognition for Palestine as the sovereign territory of the Palestinian People. This move was met with both applause and condemnation at home and abroad. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu called it “a foolish move,” stating that “peace cannot not be achieved through unilateral moves”; rather, that “peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel.” With UN member states lining up on either side of the aisle in support or against such an attempt by the PLO, the debate over Palestinian state sovereignty reemerged back into the international spotlight as a major piece of the effort toward Middle East peace.

With this historic moment sparking debates across the globe as to the best way forward for Israel-Palestine, the obvious question that arises is what a final status will look like. In considering alternative futures, the debate can be thought of as coming down to one of two main options: a one-state solution, or a two-state solution. And while it is no secret that much of the world is strongly in favor of a two-state solution, it is certainly still worth exploring all ways forward, and arguments for and against each solution. As such, I will discuss three different articles on the road to final-status, examining not only the given arguments for their recommended end-state, but also how they recommend achieving their goals. ...continue reading "One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State – A Journal Review of Potential Pathways to Peace in Israel-Palestine"

For me, and probably many of us, the 4th of July means fireworks, barbecues, cold beer, and good times with friends. It is a day when the Washington, DC metro is flooded with people from around the country as they try to make their way to the national mall to watch fireworks rain trails of sparkling light down on the Washington Monument, smoke billowing across the ellipse, while bands play nationalistic songs of our past that symbolize the US gaining its independence from Britain. As a kid, I remember the journey down to the mall quite well, watching the events from the top of my parent’s office buildings in Rosslyn, and playing with sparklers in front of my house in Mt. Pleasant, Washington, DC. Cities and towns across America hold these celebrations every year. For some, it truly is a day of celebration for our independence. For others, it’s probably just a good excuse to drink beer and eat watermelon.

This year was my first spent outside of the country on the 4th of July. Yet despite being far from home, this year proved to be the single most meaningful Independence Day of my life, as I spent the day in a refugee camp in Bethlehem with some of the most incredible young guys I have ever met – the artists from the hip-hop group Palestine Street. Because the organization that I work with focuses on community based organizations, and hip-hop has quickly become the voice of the youth in the neighborhoods of Palestine, this was our first step at working toward such collaboration. ...continue reading "A 4th of July to Remember"

The male soldier’s glasses were so black that all I could see in them was the reflection of the scene behind me. Outlines of women’s heads covered in Hijabs lined the rows leading toward the back of the bus. Upwards of seven to ten children were fidgeting in their seats. Some were accompanied by their mothers, others not, as they made their way to school. A female soldier walked up and down the aisle, checking bags and asking for identification. The male soldier stood at the front of the bus in silence - his hardened 23-year-old face showing no expression as he clutched his automatic machine gun. The bus driver, who I had been talking to only moments prior, waited patiently to proceed through the checkpoint we were stopped at. My coworker and I had gotten onto the wrong bus, and found ourselves heading deeper into the Shuffat refugee camp. We were on our way to a meeting that was being held only a couple of miles to our west. After realizing that we had gotten onto the wrong bus, the Palestinian driver quickly made arrangements for us to make it to our destination on another bus traveling on its way out of the camp. And as I sat in the small seat, trying to figure out whether I was awake or still asleep from the night before, the women and children sitting in the rows next to me waited patiently. For them, this was just daily life. ...continue reading "The Human Experience"

News broke today that Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-MN) has filed an amendment to the FY 2012 defense authorization bill to repeal the charter of the U.S. Institute of Peace. This proposal comes after what has already been months of battle to keep the organization alive. The vote is set to hit the House floor very soon – possibly even today. This being said, the vote would have to pass on the Senate side for such a change to take affect. Passing of this vote would eliminate USIP entirely. Time is now  to start making phone calls to our representatives.

I wrote a short op-ed and call to action earlier this year that outlined some basic talking points, and examined some of the issues surrounding the work of the institute and its effectiveness relative to the amount of money costing US taxpayers. More to come as things develop.

Click here for an Op-Ed from Rep Mike Honda (D-CA) defending USIP.

The academic year is winding down for me here in Denver. 30 total weeks of class, 3 rounds of midterms and finals, and more reading than I’ve ever tackled before. All good things. Very exhausting nonetheless. Life in here has been nothing short of a major change from life in Washington, DC. Maybe it’s the mountains, or the dearth of policy wonks, or the fact that I often spend Friday night reading books as opposed to playing shows somewhere on the east coast…. Whatever it is, it’s different.

Anyway – thanks for taking the time to come and check out my new blog. I don’t get the chance to catch up with friends and family as often as I’d like, so this is my attempt at staying in touch as I keep moving forward. And, this being my first post, I’ll cut to the chase, as I really got this up and running because of a new adventure that I’m about to embark on which many of you may know about by now.

In the coming months I will be heading to Israel to work on a health assessment project with an organization called Grassroots Jerusalem. Their work, among other things, aims to connect the efforts of peacebuilding organizations in Israel-Palestine. I’ll have more to say about their efforts once I hit the ground, but the projects we will be working on this summer have to do with assessing the conflict<->health nexus. From community organizing, to web portal and multimedia development, it sounds as though there will be no shortage of work to do. And, with the country feeling the effects of power shifts across the Middle East, George Mitchell recently stepping down as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and social unrest leading to increased violence in the region, the experience should be nothing short of… well, eye opening I suppose.

This being said, I also plan to meet up with some good friends along the way. And, no trip to a new country (or countries, if you will) would be complete without learning about local music, food & culture. I’ll do my best to document my travels on this website. So check back for photos, videos, and general musings on day-to-day experiences. Thanks for stopping by!

-Greg