Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes


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Briefing for Foreign Diplomats: The American Presidential Elections and Prospects for the Middle East Peace Process

On November 21, the Geneva Initiative held a briefing for over 30 diplomats based in Israel, on the recent American Presidential elections and their implications for the Middle East Peace Process.


The briefing was attended by ambassadors, deputy heads of mission and political counselors from various embassies, including the U.S., EU, UK, Canada, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Norway and many others. 

The briefing featured Chemi Shalev, Haaretz newspaper's U.S. editor and correspondent, who talked about prospects for the Middle East Peace Process in light of results from the U.S. presidential elections. Shalev explained that the American Jewish community is expected to be faced by manifold challenges in the upcoming years – not just in directly relation to the new administration, but also with regard to the Israeli Government and the Israeli peace camp. But the new dynamic between Israel and the U.S. is also likely to create opportunities for forming new coalitions – for instance, between American Jews who oppose the new president and Israelis who oppose their own government's policies.  Shalev also said he does not foresee a dramatic change in PM Netanyahu's approach to the issue of the conflict with the Palestinians, even after the new president enters into the White House. He is likely to remain cautiously attentive to voices coming from the international community, he added. 
Gadi Baltiansky, the Israeli Director General of the Geneva Initiative, then briefly presented a number of ways for the Obama administration to advance the two-state solution before leaving the White House. He closed by noting that many expect that the Trump administration will choose to be significantly less active on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. However, he added, if this ends up being the case, it can actually open up a space for other actors – from Europe and elsewhere, as well as for the Israeli and Palestinian civil society, to be much more engaged, including by working together in various ways.