Uri Savir's Passion for Peace

Posted on Tue, Sep 02, 2008 @ 02:42 PM

Savir speaks about a new approach to the Middle East conflict
Middle East Conflict

Like many others with classes to teach in the Fall, I have been away from blogging for the Summer. But I did manage to conduct a significant interview with the Israeli career diplomat and Oslo Accords negotiator, Uri Savir.

His new book, Peace First, has just been published. In it he calls for a new approach to diplomacy. He speaks of peace building rather than peacemaking and the creation of an ecology of peace. With contributions by Shimon Peres, Dennis Ross and Ahmad Qurei, Peace First builds on Savir's work since 1993. He presently heads up the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv and the Glocal Forum in Rome.

Tags: Middle East Peace, Uri Savir, Middle East Conflict

Jerusalem Continues to be Critical Issue in Mid-East Conflict

Posted on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 @ 04:14 PM
The future division of Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israelis stalls "core issues" negotiation
Image courtesy Jerusalem Shots

Israel's PM Ehud Olmert seemed to push Jerusalem off the table again today. He said that because the city's future is such a sensitive issue, other matters, such as borders, will be tackled first as this year proceeds toward George Bush's timetable for a Mid-East agreement before he leaves office in January 2009. Not without good reason have many observers noted that the city is really the heart of the century-long conflict.

In the opening chapter of Identity Ideology and the Future of Jerusalem (Palgrave 2006), I wrote:


"The problem of Jerusalem is one of the most emotional and explosive issues in the world," wrote Palestinian international jurist Henry Cattan in 1981. In the same year, prominent Israeli novelist and commentator "Aleph Bet" Yehoshua noted that "in a period of violent religious renaissance [Jerusalem] is a dangerous political explosive which could give rise to an uncontrollable conflagration." Fourteen years later, Palestinian scholar Ghada Karmi commented that "nothing in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been so contentious as the issue of Jerusalem." And in 1999 the Israeli negotiator of the Oslo Agreements, Uri Savir, admitted, "The issue of Jerusalem . . . can easily become a public explosion . . . not just between Palestinians and Israelis, but between the Arab world and Israel, between the Islamic world and the Jewish world."

Explosive, contentious, capable of drawing in much of the world community—this is the pervasive nature of the problem.

Tags: jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, Ghada Karmi, Uri Savir, Middle East Conflict, Palestine, Henry Cattan

Back to Blogging about the Middle East Conflict

Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 @ 03:01 PM
Several significant events occurred in the Middle East while I took a short break from blogging for a family vacation. I’ll comment on several items as I catch up in the next few days.

Shimon Peres BiographyShimon Peres became Israel’s President on July 15. I have hopes that his dovish stance on Palestinian relations will pay dividends during his tenure. Michael Bar-Zohar’s biography published in English in February shows all sides of the hawk turned dove. (see Peres’ own comments on the change in his views in my interview with him. The Peres Center for Peace, under the presidency of Oslo peace negotiator Uri Savir, has attracted wide support (former Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurie is an international board member). In June it held a conference in Tuscany which brought together delegates from more than 100 Palestinian and Israeli organizations and about 60 European agencies. 

Meanwhile Peres assumed another new role, as president of a new organization pan-Jewish organization to represent Israeli and Diaspora Jews around the world. Former US peace negotiator Dennis Ross publicly invited Peres to take up the role at a meeting in Jerusalem recently.  


Tags: Shimon Peres, israel, Uri Savir, Palestine, Ahmed Qurie, Dennis Ross, Michael Bar-Zohar, Peres Center for Peace