On Wednesday 23rd July 100 people gathered in Hampstead Town Hall for a live link up to Israelis and Palestinians in the region. You can listen here to a recording of Dr Gershon Baskin is 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 Gilad Schalit. Over a thousand members of the British-Jewish community, including many Rabbis have signed the Yachad (UK Jewish community’s pro-Israel, pro-peace voice) ‘We Believe’ campaign statement which includes the words ‘in the absence of a peace agreement this war will be repeated again and again’ and ‘there are partners for peace on both sides and…we must reach out and strengthen their voices’.
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.