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ECF is an Israeli Policy Think-Tank - Working Towards Peace, Security and Prosperity

Conflict Resolution

ECF pioneered efforts to design a Palestinian-Israeli Permanent Status Agreement (PSA). This included the ground-breaking Beilin-Abu Mazen Understanding of 1995, which, although not-binding, was the first demonstration that even on cost contested issues, an agreement can be reached. 

Between 1995 and 1999, ECF prepared detailed working concepts on each component of an envisaged Permanent Status agreement as well as a strategic and tactical approach to how to get there. When the Peace Administration was established under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the work of ECF was fully integrated into the planning activities of the Israeli negotiation delegation. 

In 1998, ECF commissioned the former head of the Israeli negotiation delegation for the 1994 Paris Protocol on Economic Relations, David Brodet, and the most prominent Israeli economists, together with Palestinian economist, Dr. Samir Hazboun, to draft detailed Economic understandings for Permanent Status (EPS). The EPS is still regarded as a reference for a detailed PSA on economic issues.      

In the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David, ECF provided the Israeli negotiation team (whose secretary and coordinator was a former ECF's staff member) with a negotiating file on Jerusalem, given that PM Ehud Barak's team had been expressly instructed not to deal with the issue. 

After the outbreak of Intifada Al-aqsa, ECF conducted intensive dialogue with US policy makers and with German Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoschke Fischer, in an effort to overcome the impasse created by the failure of permanent status negotiations and promote a three-stage approach to the resumption of negotiations. This work contributed to the Mitchell Recommendations and laid the groundwork for what would later become the Benchmarked Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East.  

In parallel, several ECF staff members have been involved in launching the detailed PSA known as the Geneva Initiative, which was further developed out of ECF in a separate organization called H.L. Education for Peace (The Geneva Initiative).

During Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Disengagement Plan, out of the conviction that unilateral action would produce counter-productive effects, ECF worked closely with the Israeli authorities and served as a channel for unofficial coordination on security and economic issues between officials on both sides. These efforts contributed to the orderly and undisturbed withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip. 

During the Annapolis negotiations process, ECF was called upon to lead backchannel negotiations to pave the way for more intimate direct dialogue between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Abu Mazen. 

Continuing these efforts, ECF is currently involved in two parallel policy planning efforts in support of Palestinian state-building and headway to overcome the present impasse on Permanent Status negotiations.

Related projects under development include:
  • Developing an Israeli-US-Palestinian policy concept for renewing the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
  • Developing an operational work plan for the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative
  • Promoting regional security understandings in support of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement
  • Preparing the Israeli file for future negotiations between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon