Is Peace Still Possible Between Palestinians and Israelis?
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2009
One of the most important issues of our time is the question of what will be the fate of the Palestinian people? With the elections in Israel, the Israeli invasion of Gaza and a new president in the White House, 2009 promises to be a pivotal year in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. For Sari Nusseibeh, however, he has heard this all before and nothing has changed.
In 1987 Nusseibeh became noteworthy for his meeting with representatives of Israelís Likud Party, one of the first meetings between prominent Palestinians and the right-wing Likud Party. During the First Infitada, Nusseibeh worked to author the Palestinian declaration of independence and created the inner workings of a future Palestinian government. During the first Gulf War, Nusseibeh collaborated in Tel Aviv with Israeli Peace Now, a group that worked to prevent civilian deaths during the Gulf War. Nusseibeh was arrested by the Israeli government and accused of being an Iraqi spy. He was released from custody 90 days later, and was never formally charged with any crime. From 2001-2002, Nusseibeh served as the Palestinian Liberation Organizationís (PLO) chief representative in Jerusalem. While serving as the PLOís representative in Jerusalem, Nusseibeh championed the idea of a two-state solution, suggesting that Palestinians give up their right to the pre-partition land in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2002, Nusseibeh and Shin Bet director, Ami Ayalon created The Peopleís Voice, an Israeli-Palestinian publication that encourages peace between the two parties. Mr. Nusseibehís memoir, Once Upon A Country: A Palestinian Life (2007) has won critical acclaim from local and international critics.
Sari Nusseibeh was born to a distinguished Palestinian statesman, attended Christ Church at Oxford, and received his Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy from Harvard University. After leaving Harvard, Nusseibeh became a professor of philosophy at Birzeit University in the West Bank and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. While at Birzeit, Nusseibeh founded the Federation of Employees in the Education Sector for the West Bank. Later Nusseibeh taught philosophy at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, the only Arab University in Jerusalem. Nusseibeh became president of Al-Quds University. He also serves on the advisory board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University.