Doron Tzur

I am an entrepreneur working on projects in the areas of clean-tech, medical devices, software, education, attention and "second order" thinking over the Internet. I live with my Spouse and our 4 sons and daughters in Herzliya, a northern suburb of Tel-Aviv. I have a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics from Tel-Aviv University and an MA in negotiation and conflict resolution from Bar-Ilan University. I am now working towards a Ph.D in the area.

Since 2002, I have been working on pioneering a unique and unconventional methodology for resolving very difficult inter-collective conflicts with a clear focus on the Israeli/Palestinian/Jewish/Arab conflict, which is naturally closest to my heart. A few papers and articles about this methodology can be found here.

In my thesis "Contribution of Participatory and Deliberative Reform to the Effectiveness of the Agreement Formation and Approval Mechanism in Intractable Ethnonational Conflicts" I empirically showed that 9 out of 10 Israelis want to be more personally involved and influential in determining the agreement with the Palestinians. They also believe that an agreement achieved via democratic means is much more viable and therefore are much more likely to support it.

I chose to accept the invitation of the Free Muslims Coalition to co-chair their Task Force on Israel/Palestine as I became convinced that they share my deep convictions that any viable solution needs to work well for everybody and requires well-considered and willing support by both Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately to us all, the ethos of conflict has penetrated into too many hearts and the mere mention of the words "Muslim" or "Arab" causes a knee-jerk reaction by many Israelis and Jews, as do the words "Jew", "Zionist" or "Israeli" to many Muslims and Arabs.

I am a Jewish Israeli and proud of it. Both my father and my mother came from Europe after barely surviving the holocaust. 44 close relatives of my parents were among the six million brutally murdered just because they were Jewish. This happened in the years 1939-1945 because despite the 1917 Balfour declaration and the 1922 League of Nations British mandate, there was yet no safe haven for Jews in Palestine. Iím a Zionist in that I see this small land as my home and I hold that Jews should have the power to prevent anything like the holocaust from ever happening again, but I also recognize that Palestinians see the same small land as their home.

The statement "this is my homeland" allows little room for mutually beneficial solutions.

The alternative "this is my homeland too", makes much more room for cooperation but people hesitate to irrevocably and unilaterally commit to it lest it would weaken them legally, morally and psychologically if the conflict becomes violent again.

The methodology I propose is a middle way: We assume "this is my homeland too", evolve plans that work well under this assumption, see how "we" and "they" respond to them and only then decide if we want to mutually make the assumption definitive and act upon it with courage, generosity and thoughtful management of risks or go back to the psychologically safe but realistically likely a dead end of "this is my homeland".

Here is how it would work in practice.

We solicit and evolve various concrete and rather detailed plans for resolving the conflict based on different principles (two-state, federation, one state or anything else). Each plan gets constructive feedback (questions, concerns, suggestions for improvement) and rating from Israeli and Palestinian representative "mini publics". The planís "architect" then improves it in presentation and substance accordingly.

The process repeats itself with growing audiences until both the creativity of the "architects" and the flexibility of Israelis and Palestinians to realize what is possible and what is important are exhausted. Each plan is now as good as it can be in terms of being preferred, in a stable and well-considered manner, over the current situation of "no agreement" by as many Israelis and Palestinians as possible.

All plans that have majorities on both sides preferring them over the status-quo are viable options for co self-determination of Israelis and Palestinians with the support of the Arab world and the international community at large. If we have none, we learned that both people are still too far apart. If we have several, we can choose among them by a mutual referendum. If there is just one, then even those who originally opposed it now know that this is indeed the only viable option.