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Geneva Could Be Last Glimpse Of Sanity

The Australian, 06.12.03

“It was a star-studded ceremony that organizers hoped would help break the most intractable impasse in the world today -- the search for peace in the Middle East. Gathered at a Swiss villa luminaries including Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev applauded as Palestinian and Israeli negotiators launched a comprehensive peace agreement known as the Geneva accord…The ceremony also heard messages of support from world leaders, including praise from British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said the initiative gave hope to Israelis and Palestinians and had opened up an important debate. "The debate stimulated by this initiative ... can help remind people why sometimes difficult steps in the road map are worth taking."

But Even before Monday's signing ceremony in Switzerland, the world's media was passing judgment on the Geneva Accord…
Not all comment was negative. Columnist Talal Okal wrote in Ramallah's Al-Ayyam that "all of a sudden, there is life flowing through the veins of the peace process again". Writing in the same publication Samih Shbayb suggested: "Palestinians have a national interest in joining forces with Israeli peace advocates and enhancing their power by giving Israelis on the street a realistic peace plan." And even the Washington Post's Ignatius saw a light at the end of the tunnel. By sending a copy of the accord to every home in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, "the drafters allowed citizens on both sides to image a different future…"