In Focus

Conference on Gaza

The Geneva Initiative is the only Palestinian-Israeli peace organization with a two-state solution agenda that has an operational office in Gaza. In Mach, the Palestinian Peace Coalition-Geneva Initiative held a public conference on the current political situation and future scenarios for Gaza.
The conference was attended by over 100 political figures, legal experts, university students, representatives of youth groups and activists from various political parties. It provided the participants with the opportunity to discuss various issues related to the current political and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the latest development in the reconciliation file, reconstruction efforts, the aftermath of Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, the repercussions of the attempt to assassinate the Palestinian Prime Minister and the possible outcome of the Egyptian elections.

Seminar for Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

In late March, the Geneva Initiative, in partnership with the SHARE Foundation, held a two-day seminar for a group of 14 Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs and business leaders.
The group met with experts in the fields of economic development, regional cooperation and peacebuilding, and learned about how economic relations can help mitigate the conflict and ensure the sustainability of peace in the long-term. They also met with Palestinian entrepreneur Ala Alaeddin, who discussed the potential for cooperation between high-tech companies in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. “There is a huge potential for cooperation that can benefit both sides”, he told the participants, “but if you want real investment and economic progress, you have to have political stability”.
After the seminar, the participants identified several opportunities for cooperation. In the upcoming months, we will work with them on seizing these opportunities, with an eye to concrete steps that can help build bridges between the two societies.

Israeli, Palestinian and international youth learning about the Geneva Initiative

In February, Geneva Initiative Directors Nidal foqaha and Gadi Baltiansky gave a talk to a group of 100 high-school students from the Eastern Mediterranean International School. The group included 17-year old students from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, plus international students from 40 different countries.
The talk was part of a Leon Charney Resolution Center program for youth and was moderated by former Deputy National Security Advisor in Israel's National Security Council, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Israela Oron. Baltiansky and Foqaha presented the Israeli and Palestinian stands on the core issues of the conflict, as reflected in previous rounds of negotiations. They talked about different solutions to the core issues, including those suggested by the Geneva Accord, and shared with the students their own experience as peace promoters.

High-Level Meeting in Ramallah

In January, a Geneva Initiative delegation of Israeli Members of Knesset and former security officials met in Ramallah with senior PA officials and civil society activists. They talked about recent political developments and what is being done on each side in order to break the current political impasse and to encourage their leadership to negotiate a peace agreement based on the Two-State Solution.
In the absence of formal peace talks, these meetings become all the more important. They help us keep open channels of communication and build bridges between the two societies. In 2018, we remain committed to holding regular bilateral meetings between high-level Israelis and Palestinians, and to continue to demonstrate to people on both sides that they have partners for peace.

The GI’s view on Trump’s Jerusalem speech: borders are the issue, not recognition

President Trump’s Jerusalem speech has been praised by many Israeli officials and heavily criticized by local and international actors. Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a mistake, they say, and will only undermine the chances for peace. But the real issue is not the status of Jerusalem. It’s Jerusalem’s borders.
Contrary to common belief, recognition has never really been the problem. In fact, even the official position of the PLO is that under a final-status agreement, West Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, alongside East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
What President Trump said yesterday was not un-true, but it was also not the whole truth. When he said that the final Israeli borders in Jerusalem should be negotiated, he failed to mention what will happen on the other side of those borders. Had he also added that under a final-status agreement the State of Palestine could also have its capital in the city, his speech could have made a real contribution to the peace process. It was ignoring the latter - not recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel - that made this speech so unhelpful.
The Geneva Accord illustrates how a reality in which two internationally recognized capitals reside in Jerusalem will look like: West Jerusalem, the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, including the Wailing Wall, will be under Israeli sovereignty. The Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, al-Haram al-Sharif and the remaining quarters of the Old City will be under Palestinian sovereignty.
We urge the international community, including the U.S., to present a new framework for launching genuine negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, leading to the only realistic solution to the conflict: A Two-State agreement based on the 67 borders. In the meantime, we at the Geneva Initiative will continue to work relentlessly with the two societies and political classes so that as things unfold, a clear and laud voice in support of the a negotiated peace agreement will be heard on both sides.
Annual Report - 2017
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