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‘Be a partner’ for peace, campaigners tell Israeli PM

Gulf Times

03.09.2010

As Israeli and Palestinian leaders began renewed direct talks yesterday, peace campaigners from both sides made a joint appeal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to miss the opportunity to end the conflict.

“Bibi, be a partner,” was the headline of an open letter published as an advertisement in the Hebrew-language Haaretz daily, using Netanyahu’s popular nickname. It went on to assure him, and the Israeli public, that the Palestinians are serious interlocutors in the search for peace.

The ad is part of a broader campaign to win over Israeli public opinion by the Geneva Initiative, a non-governmental group of Palestinian and Israeli politicians and intellectuals lobbying for co-existence and a peace agreement based on mutual compromise.

The letter to Netanyahu says that his essential conditions for peace have already been met in a document drafted by the Geneva Initiative and signed by prominent Palestinians and Israelis.

“There is a Palestinian partner,” it concludes. “There is an opportunity. Don’t miss it. Good luck!”

Earlier in the week, the organisation’s website unveiled a video campaign featuring prominent Palestinians such as negotiator Saeb Erakat, whose fluent English has made him familiar to TV viewers in Israel and worldwide.

Others featured in the campaign include Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other past and present officials.

The head of the Geneva Initiative’s Palestinian branch, Nidal Fuqaha, said on Wednesday that since the video first aired it had received 41,000 comments.

“Mostly from Israelis and mostly positive,” he said.

The charm offensive is managed by an Israeli advertising agency and production company.

 Read the article online at the Gulf Times.