In Focus

Geneva Initiative meets with EU Foreign Policy Chief

On September 28th, heads of the Israeli and Palestinian Geneva Initiative met with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini.

Chairman of the Palestinian Geneva Initiative Mr. Yaser Abed Raboo, director general Nidal Foqaha and Israeli GI’s director Gadi Baltiansky presented the latest activities and the challenges we are facing on the ground in our work to promote a solution to the conflict. Ms. Mogherini emphasized her support in the organization and encouraged the continuing efforts to raise support among both people for a final status agreement. Ms. Mogherini also paid respects to President Shimon Peres who passed away the day before and his legacy, to promote the two state solution. During the meeting GI representatives discussed with Ms. Mogherini the latest international initiatives to relaunch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian-Israeli Seminar for Young Political Activists

In mid September, we held a seminar for 10 young Israeli and Palestinian political activists. The Israeli participants included journalists, youth activists, and a parliamentary assistant, representing parties from across the political spectrum like Yesh Atid, Kulanu and the Zionist Camp. The Palestinian participants also included journalists, educators, youth and women's rights activists, as well as Palestinian Authority employees.
The seminar, which was held in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel, was designed to facilitate an open and constructive exchange, and so discussion items focused on existing, as well as new and creative solutions to the many challenges Israelis and Palestinians face today. For instance, Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat, an architect and urban planner who helped write the Geneva Initiative Annex on Jerusalem, showed participants how the city can look like under a two-state solution. The participants, some of which have lived or worked in Jerusalem, were all inspired by the presentation. "We keep thinking the issue of Jerusalem is too complicated or even unsolvable", said one of them. "It's remarkable to see how much thought had already been given to it - how to design a border that doesn't interfere with the residents' everyday life, where best to place border crossings… it's so much more feasible than we think!"


New Poll: the Two-State Solution is Still the Preferred Formula on Both Sides

A poll published in August by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the Israel Democracy Institute found that 59% of Israelis and 51% of Palestinians still support the two-state solution to the conflict. In contrast, only 20% of Jews in Israel and only 34% of Palestinians support a one-state solution with equal rights to all.
According to the survey, both sides underestimate the level of support for the two-state solution on their side: among the Palestinians, 47% said a majority opposes it; among the Israelis, 57% said the majority opposes it. Similarly, they underestimate the level of support for the two-state solution on the other side and think that there is a majority that opposes the two-state solution: 49% of the Palestinians believe a Jewish majority opposes it; and 44% of Israelis said a Palestinian majority opposes it.
The survey also found that 52% of Israelis would support a peace agreement that, in the spirit of the Geneva Initiative, includes the establishment of a Palestinian state in the entirety of West Bank and the Gaza strip, except for several blocks of settlements which will be annexed to Israel in a territorial exchange.
Interestingly, a quarter of the Israelis who oppose this solution are willing to reconsider their opposition to the peace deal if it was accompanied by a peace agreement with all Arab states according to the Arab Initiative's principles.



Putting Women at the Forefront of Peace Promotion

Throughout July we ran a one of a kind Leadership Course to Empower Israeli Women to Promote Peace, in which a group of aspiring female leaders met for a series of lectures, workshops and discussions, through which they were given the knowledge and tools necessary to promote the two-state solution. Next on the agenda: meeting graduates of the parallel Palestinian course!



Liberman prevents the Geneva Initiative from meeting President Abbas

The Israeli Minister of Defense prevented the heads of the Geneva Initiative from meeting with President Abbas, in what has turned out to be a clearly politically motivated decision.

The meeting, which was scheduled to take place Monday (July 11), was supposed to bring together the heads of the Geneva Initiative, several senior members of Likud, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the PA’s liaison to Israel Muhammad Al-Madani. As required from Israelis who want to visit Palestinian cities, the Geneva Initiative applied for a permit to enter Ramallah. The request was denied due to the current “security considerations”, which came as a surprise as the Geneva Initiative visits Palestinian cities often, including since the latest wave of violence has began. On Monday evening, however, Channel 10 quoted the Defense Minister spokesman saying that the decision was in fact not based on security considerations but spurred by suspicions that Al-Madani has been involved in "internal Israeli political affairs".

“We will meet the Palestinian partner, if not this week - then next week.”, says Gadi Baltiansky, Geneva Initiative’s Israeli Director General. “Not only does the Israeli government refuse to talk to the Palestinian leadership – it also won’t let anyone else to, but nothing will stop us from building the necessary bridges that will eventually lead us to peace”. Click here for today's report at Haaretz.




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