The Center for Global Peace & Conflict Studies Faculty Expert Series presents

"Re-Imagining Sovereignty and Identity in the Midst of Zero-Sum Conflict: The Parallel States Concept as Means Out of the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse"
with Mark LeVine, Department of History, University of California, Irvine

May 27, 2010
12:00-1:30 p.m.
Social Science Tower, Room  777

For 100 years the Zionist/Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been centered on a zero-sum conflict over territory between two competing national movements. One of the failures of the Oslo process was that it put off rather than engaging head-on the centrality of the conflict's territorial dimension. This allowed the number of Israeli settlements, and settlers, to expand greatly during the years of the so-called "peace process," making that process untenable on the ground even as successive agreements were signed.  Today, a decade into the al-Aqsa intifada, the linkage between citizenship and territory remains perhaps the biggest stumbling block to resolving the conflict. A new idea has emerged to address this problem in the last few years, called the "parallel states solution." It effectively removes the link between national identity and specific territory, substituting for it a bond between the individual citizen and Israeli or Palestinian states that share sovereignty over the whole of Mandate Palestine. This identity allows Israelis and Palestinians to live freely anywhere within the territory of the other state without disturbing the demographic balance of that state; allowing Jews to remain in the settlements while also enabling large number of Palestinians to return to  Israel proper without challenging the Jewish charter of the state.  Mark LeVine has just returned from a major ”track 2" meeting in Jerusalem and Ramallah, bringing together leading Palestinian scholars, activists, and policy makers across the political spectrum in both communities who have all signed on to the parallel states/shared sovereignty concept as a potential solution to the conflict. He reports on the foundations of the idea, its benefits and the challenges it faces, both in its implementation and in terms of spreading throughout the two societies as a viable political alternative to the status quo.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP to Sandy Cushman at or 949-824-3344.

Funding provided by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) of the University of California, and the Vice Chancellor for Office of Research (OR) at UCI.

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