Dr. Ron Pundak is the director of the Peres Center for Peace. He was one of the two Israelis who initiated the Oslo peace process by meeting the Palestinian delegation in an unofficial capacity. This informal process ended up taking over from the official peace process which was happening in Washington D.C. He worked with Yossi Beilin, the Israeli deputy minister of foreign affairs.
Ron Pundak talks about his personal role in the creation of the Oslo negotiations and explains how in his opinion it was an historical shift in positions resulting in mutual recognition. He examines how both sides have contributed to the failure of Oslo, but highlights the failure of consecutive Israeli governments. Pundak blames the U.S and Israel for the failure of Camp David, highlighting that the main spoiler of the summit was Ehud Barak. He suggest that the two state solution is the only option and emphasizes the importance of a strong third party in reaching an agreement.
Dr. Afif Safieh has been the PLO Ambassador to Holland, the UK, Russia and the United States. A scholar and diplomat he is one of the most enlightening voices in the Arab World. Dr. Safieh has recently published a book entitled ‘The Peace Process; from breakthrough to breakdown.
Dr. Safieh notes how the asymmetrical nature of negotiations meant they were flawed from the beginning. He talks about the negative effect of Israeli public opinion and the refusal of Israel to recognise the initiatives proposed by the Arab League and the Palestinians. Safieh covers the themes of Palestinian terrorism, IDF executions and Hamas. He notes how the peace process has always been held hostage to Israeli domestic politics and that international law has never been respected by Israel. Dr. Safieh notes how the occupation is democratically sanctioned by the Israeli public and calls upon Israel to end the occupation.