Gershon Baskin, Ph.D., was the initiator and the person responsible for the secret back channel between Israel and the Hamas that successfully negotiated the release of Israeli abducted soldier Gilead Schalit.
Dr. Baskin was the Israeli Co-Director and founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) – a joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy think and “do”-tank located in Jerusalem. Since January 2012 he is the Co-Chairman of IPCRI’s Board of Directors. He initiated the founding of IPCRI in 1988 following ten years of work in the field of Jewish-Arab relations within Israel, in Interns for Peace where he lived for two years in the Israeli-Palestinian village of Kufr Qara, the Ministry of Education and as Executive Director of the Institute for Education for Jewish-Arab Coexistence (established by the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Prime Minister’s Office at Baskin’s initiative).
During the Premiership of the late Yitzhak Rabin, he served as an advisor on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to a secret team of intelligence officers established by Mr. Rabin. Dr. Baskin was a member of the Jerusalem Experts Committee established by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office during the Final Status Negotiations in 2000-2001.
Dr. Baskin holds a Ph.D. in International Affairs from University of Greenwich. His dissertation was on Sovereignty and Territory in the Future of Jerusalem, parts of which were published as a book Jerusalem of Peace.
He is a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum, a member of the Board of ALLMEP – the Alliance for Middle East Peace, a member of the Editorial Board of the Palestinian Israeli Journal, and a member of the Board of One Voice. Dr. Baskin is also a member of the Israeli Council for Peace and Security. He was a founding chairman of the progressive Synagogue Kehilat Kol Haneshama in Jerusalem where he served as Chairman for three years.
He has a regular column in the Jerusalem Post Newspaper and was a radio host on All for Peace Radio. Dr. Baskin has been awarded the Histadrut Prize for Peace in 1996, the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute Peace Prize in 2004, the Tribute of Honor and Courage from the World Movement for Democracy in 2004 and the Search for Common Ground Journalist Award for Middle East Journalism in 2005 and 2007 as well as the Ordine Della Stella Della Solidarieta Italiana. Dr. Baskin speaks Hebrew, English and Arabic.
Since January 2012 Dr. Baskin is working to develop renewable energy projects around the Middle East.
In 2013 his book Freeing Gilad: The Secret Back Channel was released in Hebrew by Kinneret Zmora Bitan. In October 2013 The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas was released in English by Toby Press. He is currently working on a new book on thirty years of stories from behind the scenes work for peace.