December 2003, a group of Israelis and Palestinians - led by former
Palestianian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo and former Israeli
justice minister Yossi Beilin - unveiled an unofficial Middle East
peace initiave in Geneva: The Geneva Accord.
both on the parameters set out by President Clinton and the internationally
endorsed 'Road Map', the Geneva Accord, or Geneva Initiative, offers
a detailed blueprint for a final status agreement between the
Israeli and Palestinian peoples. It provides solutions for all fundamental
issues, including Jerusalem, the refugee problem, and
negotiators of the Geneva Accord are not official representatives
of the Israeli or Palestinian governments, and the Initiative itself
is a model document rather than an official treaty. Nevertheless,
the Geneva Accord has yielded a number of positive results:
is a partner:
The Geneva Accord convincingly disproves the idea that "there
is no partner", a notion both governments have repeatedly asserted.The
fact that Israeli and Palestinian representatives have been able to
agree upon a solution to all the problems posed by the current conflict
shows that there is indeed a common ground for both sides to
meet. This is confirmed by the widespread support for the Accord's
main tenets among both Palestinians and Israelis.
need for a plan:
While not greeted with much enthusiasm by either the Israeli government
or the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Geneva Initiative has undoubtedly
increased pressure on both sides to present plans of
their own. Witness, for instance, the timing of Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's plan to unilaterally disengage from Gaza (see our Gaza
a period of conflict and violence, the Geneva Initiative serves as
a solid and realistic reminder that peace is possible.
Sponsored in part by the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it has
received broad support from a large variety of NGOs as well as former
and current heads of government.