"From the UN to Negotiations" Conference

On Tuesday, October 11, the Geneva Initiative hosted a conference titled "From the UN to Negotiations: Implications of UN Events on the Peace Process". A panel discussion included Prof. Gabriela Shalev, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Brig. Gen. (res.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, member of the Geneva Intitiative board, and Danny Dayan, Head of the Yesha Council, and former Palestinian Minister Ashraf Al-Ajrami. The panel aimed to analyze and discuss the outcome of events surrounding the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations, but was left excited and hopeful when a different, unexpected announcement was made.
11.10.2011
 
 
On Tuesday, October 11, we held a conference to explore Israel's position in the international community and the future of the peace process. Participants included Former UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Former Palestinian Minister Ashraf Al-Ajrami, Chairman of the Yesha Council Danny Dayan and Former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. Shalev encouraged Israel not to forget about the peace process: "Today there is a frozen process. We have tired from this topic. But it will not leave us even if we abandon it, and I think it will return to us soon under the umbrella of the UN bid or the Palestinian attempt to solidify their standing in the UN. It is better if we prepare for this now, rather than assume that the Americans will do the job for us."
 
Geneva Initiative founder, Dr. Yossi Beilin, addressed the peace process in an interview with Israeli Radio: "the peace process is not some idea that someone brings up, that we can either do with or without. It is our future, our life, our country. If this issue is not resolved, Israeil will not be Jewish and democractic, and people understand that."
 
Amidst a thought-provoking question and answer session, the audience experienced an unexpected surprise when panel moderator, YNet's Attila Somfalvi, suddenly announced that an urgent government meeting was taking place to vote on a deal that would release captive Israeli solider Gilad Shalit, before apologetically leaving the stage. Excitment reigned throughout the left, right, Israeli, Palestinian and international members of the audience.
 
Former IDF Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. (res.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, commented on the Shalit deal, saying: "the terms... are very similar to the terms we could have reached two years ago, just like any agreement with the Palestinians that could be reached in the future, can also be reached today." Lipkin-Shahak's statement was reported in Israeli Channel 7 News.
 
 
Above: The audience listens intently to a heated debate at our
Tel Aviv conference. Below: From left to right, panelists
Ashraf Al-Ajrami, Danny Dayan, Gabriela Shalev,
Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and moderator Attila Somfalvi.
 
If you speak Hebrew, watch a video summary of the conference here: