Doctoral Student atUToronto wins 2011CFPN Peace Fellowship
Dov (Dubi) Kanengisser,a doctoral stu-dent in political science at the Universityof Toronto,is the 2011 winner of CFPN’sPeace Fellowship,receiving the award inthe amount of $4,000.Dubi was selected by an adjudicationpanel comprising Derek Penslar,Professor of History at University of Toronto;Mira Sucharov,AssociateProfessor of Political Science at CarletonUniversity,and Fred Zemans,ProfessorEmeritus of Law at York University.CFPN offers the fellowship annually to a deserving graduate student ataCanadian university (or a Canadian graduate student studyingabroad) whose research is consistent with the mission,goals and valuesof Peace Now.Dubi’s doctoral dissertation,which he expects to complete by the fallof 2012,is entitled “Democracy in Motion:Israel as a ContinuouslyDemocratizing State.”His research focuses on how the Israeli political system has shifted itsapproach to the Arab minority,what effects these shifts have had onprocesses of democratization within Israel,and what factors have beenthe most significant in driving these shifts.Dubi examines three historical junctures in majority-minority relationsthat represent these shifts most clearly.These are the lifting of Israelimilitary rule over the Arab population in 1966,the inclusion of Arabpolitical parties in former P.M.Yitzhak Rabin’s ruling coalition in 1992,and the post-2000 series of decisions affecting the political freedom of the Arab minority.He considers the role of security concerns and com-peting ideas (democracy vs.nationalism) in causing these fluctuations.Dubi,32,was born in Herzlia,Israel.He earned his B.A.and M.A.(Magna Cum Laude) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.He plansto become a professor of political science,either in Canada or in Israel.
Will the UN recognizePalestinian sovereignty?
Aviv Toren, a volunteer with CFPN Toronto,interviews Yariv Oppenheimer,Director Generalof Peace Now in Israel.Toren:
Since the emergence of Mr.Netanyahu’scoalition government following the last elections,itappears that the peace process has stagnated;is thisbecause Mr.Netanyahu is more dedicated to keep-ing his coalition together than he is to promoting atwo-state solution?
Prime Minister Netanyahu straightafter the elections made a strategic decision to buildacoalition composed of right-wing factions in theKnesset,leaning on the settlers and their supporters.Netanyahu has since been trying to walk betweenthe lines and not disrupt the current status quo,keeping the stability of the coalition.Netanyahu willnot promote any significant diplomatic move as heis satisfied every so often declaring hollow phrasesabout the need to set up in the future a Palestinianstate alongside Israel.
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Some believe the Arab spring rose from thePalestinian villages near the separation fence,which have beenholding non-violent popular protests without the use of weapons for years.The Palestinians have experienced severalinsurgencies in their lives and so far paid a heavy price forthem,so it’s not easy to see them rushing back to the streets.The leadership in Ramallah can also control and prevent a pop-ular uprising in public.But as I mentioned before,it is quitepossible that patience on the Palestinian street,particularlyamong the younger generation,will expire in September inRamallah and Gaza alike.
Should Israel have attempted to align itself with thepro-democracy forces in the Egyptian Revolution rather thanwith former President Mubarak?
As long as Israel occupies the West Bank,voic-es of criticism will continue and multiply in Egypt,not only frompro-Islamic forces but also among the Egyptian academic eliteswho criticize the peace with Israel because Israel did not keepits part of the Camp David agreement by resolving the conflictwith Palestinians.As Israel continues with the occupation,itbecomes apparent that it is difficult to maintain any kind of peace with the Arab world,and with Egypt in particular.
How would less authoritarian rule in Syria,even if President Assad remains in office,likely affect the opportunityfor Israel to negotiate a peace treaty with the Syrians? Withthe Palestinian track stalled,why has the current Israeli gov-ernment not explored the Syrian track?
As long the situation in Syria worsens andPresident Assad becomes an unwanted personality in theworld,it is difficult to talk about a peace settlement with Syria.The burning issue is the Palestinian issue,where there is a part-ner ready and able.
There has been much speculation in recent months thatIsrael might launch a preventive strike against Hezbollah inLebanon or another military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.How likely is either of these scenarios in your view?
In my opinion,there is no likelihood that Israelwill launch a preemptive strike.In general,following the Arabspring,any clashes between Israel and the Arab world willprobably begin as a struggle between Israeli soldiers andPalestinian protesters.These demonstrations may start outnon-violent but there is a chance they could lead to bloodshed.Israel must do all that it can to advance peace with thePalestinians to prevent any such catastrophe.
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Do you think an interim peace plan could be moreacceptable to the Palestinian Authority now than previously?
Ithink the current situation shows that thePalestinians want to know what will be the final borders of aPalestinian state and not be satisfied with leaving the questionopen.An interim solution for them may actually turn out to bethe end of the conflict and therefore they are afraid to staywith only half the West Bank.The first stage must be to resolvethe question of borders and only after that resolve theJerusalem issue and the refugees’ status.This could be a suc-cessful formula that addresses the important issues,but alsotaking it in stages.This is also somewhat what US PresidentObama presented in his recent speech.
Do you expect that pressure from the U.S.and Europemay deter the P.A from seeking recognition of a sovereignPalestinian state at the UN General Assembly this autumn?
In our opinion,the train has already left thestation and the Palestinian people expect the announcement,even if only a symbolic declaration from the UN GeneralAssembly.It does not seem possible to stop the initiative andnow we must plan how Israel should move forward in thenegotiations and reach an agreed text of a statement.
With respect to the previous question,if the Palestiniansdo win UN recognition as a sovereign state,what would be theconsequences for Israel? How would the Netanyahu govern-ment respond?
It is likely that the Palestinians will not be abletogain a UN Security Council decision to establish a state andtherefore the vote will only be a declaration at the GeneralAssembly.This is not a legally significant change,but we willsee a rise in international support towards the Palestinians.Countries will upgrade their representative office in Ramallah,to Embassies - we can expect condemnations across the boardagainst Israel.Calls for boycotts in the West Bank and Gazamaycreate a “Palestinian Spring”with the masses taking tothe streets and storming checkpoints and settlements.
How do you explain the fact that,while the Arab springhas been occurring in the Middle East and North Africa,Palestinians are one of the few Arab populations who were notprotesting against harsh rule,neither in the West Bank norGaza Strip?
Canadian Friends of Peace Nowis always looking for volunteers.
...the Palestinians want to know what will be the final borders of a Palestinian state
Calls for boycotts in the West Bank and Gaza may create a “Palestinian Spring”