“Negotiating the Road Map to Israeli-Palestinian Peace”
Two-week Seminar – August 14-21, 2005 – Jason Reifer
Jason Reifer – Can you imagine yourself sitting in a room with Israeli, Arab, U.S., and UN diplomats negotiating a solution to the 57-year-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. That is precisely what Jason did for two weeks during the summer of 2005. Jason was a Political Science major and was the only student from West Virginia that participated. This seminar followed in the footsteps of Camp David I which produced the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace accord, and the failed Camp David II summit of 2000 between Israel and the Palestinians. During this seminar, Jason learned why national and ethnic conflicts arise and the strategies used to resolve them.
During the first week, the students visited the Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi embassies and met with two Palestinian representatives. They interacted directly with top U.S. diplomats such as Ambassador Dennis Ross, chief negotiator at Israeli-Palestinian peace talks for the Clinton Administration, and with David Greene, the State Department’s Deputy Director in the Office of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. During the second week, they participated in a simulated peace conference, where they negotiated an updated version of the “Road Map” proposed by President Bush in April 2003 and endorsed by the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. Students were divided into six delegations representing Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab states (Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia), the U.S., the EU and Russia, and the International Community.
Jason did an outstanding job representing King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, negotiating contentious issues such as disarming Hamas and other Palestinian armed factions and stopping Israel from building settlements in the West Bank.
“This seminar provided me with not only the opportunity to meet other college students from across the United States, but also the opportunity to gain a better understanding of cultures that are very different than ours and the reasons behind some of the conflicts that are still in the news headlines today.”