Gershon Baskin asks why did the P2P projects cease to work when they were needed the most? Why did the P2P projects fail to produce the desired goals? How could P2P projects have greater impact?
From the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in September 2000 to the eruption of Al Aqsa intifada in September 2000, the international community allocated an estimated $20–25 million for people-to-people (P2P) projects. Since September 2000, almost all P2P projects came to a halt. Many people have asked why this had to happen? Why did the P2P projects cease to work when they were needed the most? Why did the P2P projects fail to produce the desired goals? How could P2P projects have greater impact? Why are some activities continuing, while others have ceased? This article will attempt to deal with these questions. It is based on a research project that involved Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society institutions; Israeli, Palestinian, and international academics; and other expert conflict resolution and conflict prevention practitioners. A joint team of Israeli and Palestinian researchers was appointed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the P2P process; two workshops were held to conduct subjective analyses of the P2P process from its start until today. An interactive web site was also produced, and some 40 interviews were conducted with initiators and implementers of P2P projects. We present here the findings of this study.
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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.