Geneva Initiative seminar for Parliamentary Advisors

Lectures by prominent experts, a tour of the Palestinian city of Rawabi and a conversation with a young Palestinian peace activist – this is how we ensure that Knesset staffers are informed about the conflict and motivated to solve it. On February 16-17, the Geneva Initiative held a two-day seminar for Israeli parliamentary advisors, which provided them with an understanding of the history and core issues of the conflict, proposed solutions and the narrative of the other side. 
Some 20 senior advisors took part in the seminar, representing Members of Knesset from Opposition parties like Yesh Atid, the Zionist Camp and Meretz, and Coalition parties like Kulanu. One advisor said after the seminar: "I read and discuss issues related to the conflict with the Palestinians every day at work. But this seminar made me realize how much I really don't know about the core issues, about what had been achieved in previous rounds of negotiations and most importantly – about the different solutions that have been put on the table. This is so important for our work at the Knesset".   


The first day of the seminar was devoted to informing the participants about the conflict with the Palestinians and deepening their understanding of proposed solutions, including the Geneva Initiative's model peace agreement. The group heard from Col. (Res.), Dr. Shaul Arieli on the relevancy and feasibility of the two-state solution; learned from Prof. Sergio DellaPergola on demographic trends in Israel, Palestine and the region; met Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin for a discussion on lessons from other conflicts, particularly Northern Ireland; reflected on the future of Jerusalem under a two-state solution with Prof. Menachem Klein; and debated current trends and recent developments in the Palestinian society with expert Baruch Yadid. 
On the second day of the seminar, the advisors toured the Palestinian city of Rawabi. It was their first time visiting the new Palestinian city and for most of them – the first time ever visiting a Palestinian city. As one of them said, the tour "demonstrated a side of Palestine that I did not know before: young, modern and hopeful. It made it easier to imagine what a future Palestinian state would look like". While in Rawabi, the group also met with Ayed Atmawi, who works at the Geneva Initiative's office in Ramallah. Ayed told them about peace promotion in Palestine, and answered their many questions about life in the West Bank. The opportunity to meet a young Palestinian political activist and peace promoter was, for many of the advisors, the highlight of the seminar.
This seminar was made possible through the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).