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250 Participants attend Geneva Initiative Conference on the Challenges in the Peace Process

On the 9th April we organized a public conference in Jerusalem which focused on the challenges in the negotiations, which was attended by 250 participants. Speakers included former Deputy Prime Minister from the Likud, Dan Meridor and former Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs, Ashraf Aljrami, both of whom addressed the crisis in the negotiations. Meridor emphasized that cancelling the commitment to release prisoners and announcing plans for settlement construction was a mistake. Alajrami highlighted the risks to the Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation if Israel were to enact sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.

 

Dan Meridor said: "Not honoring your commitments will disrupt any negotiations. It was a mistake to commit to the release of prisoners who are Israeli-Arabs. But once you commit – respect that commitment. It was a mistake not to implement the fourth prisoner release, just like it was a mistake to announce the settlement building at the last moment. We must approach the negotiations seriously, to announce a total building freeze outside the settlement blocs or the security fence and to minimize our presence in those areas [outside the blocs] to the absolute minimum military necessity".
 
Alajrami said: "In response to the punitive steps taken by Israel, there will be Palestinian voices demanding that we stop the security coordination with Israel. There will be some sort of a response which is likely to snowball. If Israel does not transfer the Palestinian taxes it collects, the [Palestinian] security forces are likely to collapse and in all likelihood, what happened in Gaza will happen in the West Bank. At a minimum, both sides have a joint interest to ensure security and maintain cooperation in this area, otherwise there will be anarchy."
 
Other speakers at the conference included Geneva Initiative-Israel Director General, Gadi Baltiansky, Head of the Israel office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Michael Mertes, Professor Asher Susser, Dr Anat Kurtz and the late Dr Reuven Pedatzur z"l. The conference was organized in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netanya Academic College.
 
 
The packed hall was standing room only