Baker Institute fellows representing Israeli and Palestinian perspectives come together for a candid discussion of the Middle East peace process and the work that remains in negotiating a solution.
Samih Al-Abed, Ph.D., Diana Tamari Sabbagh Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies, heads the Palestinian Housing Council, a nonprofit institution that provides development plans, loans and other forms of support to help meet Palestinian housing needs in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. Previously, as head of the Committee for Borders and Territory, Al-Abed was integrally involved in negotiations between Palestine and Israel. In addition, he was a key participant in negotiations during the Camp David, Bowling, Taba and Annapolis processes in pursuit of peace and stability in the region. Al-Abed also was minister of public works during the Palestinian Authority national unity government in 2007.
Yair Hirschfeld, Ph.D., Isaac and Mildred Brochstein Fellow in Middle East Peace and Security in Honor of Yitzhak Rabin, teaches at the University of Haifa in the Department for Middle Eastern History. He also is the director general of the Tel Aviv-based Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF). In 1992, Hirschfeld created the Oslo Channel and headed its Israeli team. With bridging concepts and support from the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the unofficial track became official on May 20, 1993. From 1994 to 1995, Hirschfeld was a member of the Israeli team that prepared the first Israeli-Palestinian blueprint for the Permanent Status Agreement, which has become known as the "Beilin-Abu Mazen Understanding."