Last March 23, 2016, the IAI hosted a talk by Mark LeVine, a Professor of Middle Eastern History at UC Irvine and a distinguished Visiting Professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. He is the author of several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and most recently edited a book entitled One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States (University of California Press, 2014).
While presenting the main finding of his “parallel states” vision, Mark LeVine prompted the audience to focus the attention on individuals rather than the territory and to look beyond the “1967 paradigm” focused on borders, refugees and the issue of Jerusalem. According to LeVine, the two-states solution was born out of a twentieth century notion of sovereignty that, at least in the case of Israel/Palestine is neither viable nor particularly desirable in the “New Middle East”. Oslo's architects imagined their peace process heralded. Almost two decades later, the region has finally moved towards a new era, but led by ordinary people rather than leaders who more often than not have frustrated rather than helped to realise the legitimate political, economic and cultural aspirations of their peoples.
LeVine pointed that the most useful example of how various levels of jurisdiction can be shared is the European Union, where the rapid integration of the member states has transferred traditionally national legislative and judicial powers to supranational bodies, diminishing the importance of national boundaries and territorial sovereignty for the benefit of the exercise of transnational freedoms and rights for citizens within the Union.
Mark LeVine’s ideas and attempts to reframe established concepts were discussed and challenged by Paola Caridi, Lorenzo Kamel and a wide number of informed guests.