This initiative proposes setting up a standing conference table which could be led by the Quartet or by an alternative credible institution that has the legitimacy to convene such a process. It would involve an advisory board of those with a deep knowledge of the conflict, including the wisdom and experience of former world leaders and senior diplomats. These advisors would help facilitate track one negotiations between the interested parties at the standing conference table.
Members would make a serious commitment to keep the peace process on track whatever the level of violence or provocation in the region. Over time the table could evolve into a semi-permanent forum for the wider region to facilitate cooperation on regional security issues such as water, the environment, the nuclear question and early warning in potential areas of conflict.
The parameters of the political endgame of the Palestine-Israel conflict are well known. What we do not know is how to get there. The international community has an important role to play as a third party in creating the opportunities in which a peace is to be established. The parties involved in the conflict, whilst knowing the political exits, are not in a frame of mind to create a durable peace that serves the interests of all.
The cause of peace has continually been derailed by a series of unilateral, reactionary measures that only serve to deepen cycles of mistrust, hatred and violence. These measures have perhaps often seemed unavoidable. One effective way of mitigating the damage they inflict on the wider narrative of peace-building would be to put in place a mechanism, such as a Semi-Permanent Conference Table, created by the international community that actively maintains a durable peace process involving all the stakeholders in the conflict.
Gabrielle Rifkind is the Director of the Middle East programme at Oxford Research Group (ORG). She is a group analyst and specialist in conflict resolution. Gabrielle combines in-depth political...