I just returned from London, where I participated in a seminar convened by Lord Stone of Blackheath on a two-year old grassroots peace initiative for Israel and Palestine called Two States, One Homeland (TSOH). You can find a longer report on this meeting HERE. In addition to the two founders of this initiative, Tel Aviv-based Israeli journalist Meron Rappoport and Bethlehem-based Palestinian activist Awni al-Mashni who joined via Skype, there were about forty people in the Archbishop’s room at Millbank House, which houses offices and meeting spaces serving the UK House of Lords. Participants included potential funders, facilitators, foundation directors, and specialists in a variety of aspects that the convener thought would be useful and ought to be drawn on in helping the initiative to move forward more robustly. I joined this session because I had met Meron, Awni and Avner Haramati, a social entrepreneur who facilitated the London meeting, before. (I wrote about this meeting HERE.)
At the London meeting, we were asked to work on particular themes that were deemed most pressing to chart a way forward for this initiative. I joined the table that discussed the question of religion, where we quickly zeroed in on the most difficult and seemingly intractable issue of Jerusalem and the holy places claimed by Jews and Muslims, especially the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. I thought that TSOH might really make a difference with respect to what others recommend leaving to last by putting it front and center. I am not sure I persuaded anyone of the wisdom of rushing in where angels fear to tread. In any case, you can find my thoughts on this matter HERE.