Gershon Baskin, Nizar Farsakh and David Newman share their ideas about how to determine the borders between the Jewish and Muslim Peoples in the Middle East.
Nizar Farsakh served for two years as the General Director of the General Delegation of the PLO to the U.S. Nizar has ten years of experience working in Palestine first as a research assistant in a Bethlehem-based NGO and then as the policy advisor to Palestinian negotiators on border-related issues from 2003 to 2008. In his last year in Ramallah, he was seconded to the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Nizar is also a leadership trainer focusing on public narrative, community organizing, and adaptive leadership and is affiliated to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Nizar holds a MA in International Boundary Studies from King’s College London and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He is fluent in Arabic, English, French, and Italian.
David Newman OBE is a British-Israeli scholar in political geography and geopolitics. He serves as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Department of Politics and Government and editor of the academic journal Geopolitics.
Newman is associated with a number of border and boundary related institutions, such as the International Boundaries Research Unit in the UK, the Association of Borderland Studies in the USA, the Border Regions in Transition (BRIT) network, and, until 2012, as the Secretary of the Commission on the World Political Map (WPM) of the International Geographical Union. He has facilitated and attended as keynote speaker at international gatherings dealing with geopolitical and border related issues. Newman has spent periods of time as visiting professor and research fellow at a number of universities and research institutions throughout Europe and North America. In 2006, Newman was the Leverhulme Professor in Geopolitics at the University of Bristol in the UK.
Newman has been involved in a series of research projects, peace-related activities and a variety of Track II discussions and negotiations. This includes joint Israeli-Palestinian projects looking at territorial and border issues, funded by the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (both with Ghazi Falah, the United States Institute of Peace in a project examining potential cross-border co-operation between Israel and a future Palestinian State, a European Union consortium project looking at the role of the EU in intervening in border conflicts, and a European Union Partnership in Peace programme, facilitating peace related workshops for religious teachers in Israel and Palestine. From 2012–2016, Newman is part of a 20 university pan-European consortium of the FP7 (EU) funded project on Borderscapes, headed up by the University of Joensuu in Finland. In 2013, Newman and Ben-Gurion University became part of the new borders project, Borders in Globalization, funded by the Canadian SSHRC and headed by Prof. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.