From April 28-May 2, OneVoice Europe (OVE) hosted Dr. Gershon Baskin, a senior Israeli government advisor who secured the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas after five years of captivity (June 2006-October 2011). Baskin toured London, reaching 94 people at 18 events in the short time span, with OVE to share his perspective on the current breakdown of negotiations, the Palestinian reconciliation, and the future relations between Israel and Palestine.
Dr. Baskin argued that it won’t be pressure from the international community that changes the status quo – rather Israelis themselves must begin to feel that the occupation can no longer be morally justified, and this is when pressure will truly mount on their leadership.
"I love Israel very much and I am proud to be an Israeli," Baskin said. "The words I will say pain me very much: If Israel does not end its occupation over the Palestinian people, sooner, not later, Israel will become a new form of apartheid. No, not apartheid like South Africa was, but a new type of political discrimination, forced separation, with separate legal systems, separate roads and more…"
After hearing Dr. Baskin speak at number of events, many participants felt eager to alter the status quo in Israel and Palestine and advocate for a two-state solution.
“I found Gershon Baskin fascinating and I will do everything to encourage those that have the means and energy to help bridge the divide between Israelis and Palestinians,” said one participant. Another remarked, “The general despair that the two-state solution is dead as a prospect is so pervasive at the moment that it was uplifting to hear how OneVoice is working to make it a reality.”
For Yoni Amias, OVE’s Director of Development, this was the most pertinent point of the speaking engagement.
“As an advisor to three Israeli Prime Ministers, Dr. Baskin clearly outlined the rationale as to why the two-state solution is the only viable solution to this conflict. We must work harder to help the silent majority on both sides to make this their reality.”