“Strategic thinking requires the ability to design a course of events, policies and decisions that create a different reality. Most people get stuck in the present and link onto the past, limiting their ability to imagine a different future. The reality that we have all known between Israel and the Arabs is debilitating, it stunts imagination and diminishes the ability to design policies that can change the conflictual basis of relations. . Those relations based on justified fear, influenced by lack of human contact and reinforced by continued violence solidify patterns of thinking and behavior that negatively influence public policies that end with sustaining conflict rather than breaking out of animosity and turning a new page. What the parties in conflict say and do are mutually influential and reinforcing in keeping the parties in conflict.”
- Advisor to both Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process
- Founder and Director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute (think tank)
- Initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit
- Involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics and culture.
- Active in the development affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.
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.