On October 20th Forward Thinking convened a roundtable workshop with Dr Mustapha Barghouti to discuss the current challenges confronting the Palestinian Territories and the prospects for peace. A medical doctor by profession, Barghouti is President of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, an NGO which provides health and community services to more that 1 million people annually in the West Bank and Gaza. In 2002, Barghouti co-founded the Palestinian National Initiative and currently serves as its Secretary-General. Dr Barghouti was a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005’s elections, finishing second to Mahmoud Abbas, with 19.8% of the vote. Barghouti then was elected to a seat on the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006 and was Minister of Information in the short-lived Palestinian unity government of March–June 2007.
At the roundtable – held at the Oxford and Cambridge Club and attended by parliamentarians, representatives of the media, members of the international community and Ministries of Foreign Affairs – discussions covered a wide array of subjects, including the importance of planned municipal elections within Palestine, and the growing humanitarian challenges in both Gaza and the West Bank. The impediments to peace were also explored, with several participants warning that a two state solution may soon become impossible to realise, leaving Israelis, Palestinians and the international community to grapple with the challenges of a one state reality.