Since last year, Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D, professor of political science, has been working with a very small group of Palestinian and Israeli researchers, Middle East policy analysts, and former peace negotiators in discussions about advancing peace between Israel and Palestine. According to Sarsar, consensus has emerged for a confederal framework, dubbed the Holy Land Confederation (HLC), which may enable both Palestinians and Israelis to break through the current deadlock in the peace process.
Sarsar believes the HLC can have a consequential impact on the culture of peace and on closer cooperation in Israel/Palestine for the good of both peoples. One outcome of the discussions is a new plan for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, detailed in a 100-page document, “The Holy Land Confederation as a Facilitator for the Two-State Solution.” Sarsar contributed to various chapters and edited the document.
On February 8-11, six members of the confederal team, including Sarsar, veteran Israeli peace negotiator Yossi Beilin, Palestinian attorney Hiba Husseini, presented the proposal to key Biden administration officials, several members of Congress, the United States Institute of Peace, and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
Sarsar said that while the meetings were productive and the response was positive, much work remains to develop the plan further and to inform Israeli and Palestinian officials and publics about it. “The hope is that the impasse in Palestinian-Israeli relations is resolved, and negotiations are resumed toward security, peace, and prosperity for both Palestinians and Israelis,” he said.