Geneva Initiative at the UN: the world must not give up on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Gadi Baltiansky, the Israeli Director General of the Geneva Initiative, spoke at the UN International Conference in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which took place on June 29-30 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The conference brought together representatives from over 150 states, including almost all Arab and Islamic states. Nabeel Shaath, Member of the Fatah Central Committee, represented the Palestinians, and made a statement on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas.  

An official press release read that the conference "is taking place at a time when momentum for peace between Israel and Palestine is possibly improving, as various multilateral efforts are being made by international actors to create a new climate for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis".

Throughout the conference, almost all representatives and participants supported the necessity of the establishment of a Palestinian State that would exist in peace alongside Israel.  The Palestinian State should be established within the pre-1967 borders, enjoy complete sovereignty on its territory, independence and security, and have East Jerusalem as its capital. 

Baltiansky spoke at length about the prospects of reaching a negotiated settlement to the conflict, and about the extensive educational activities carried out by the Palestinian and Israeli teams of the Geneva Initiative. "We, Israelis and Palestinians, have no intention to give up on our struggle for peace. We ask the world: don't give up on us either". 

He also talked about the report published by the Middle East Quartet, which identifies major threats to achieving a two-state solution and offers recommendations to create conditions to advance a negotiated peace. "The Quartet report presents an opportunity for action", he said. "What it lacks, however, is a clear identification of the 'end game' – what are the sides expected to agree upon at the end of the day? Such terms of reference have already been described in the Geneva Initiative model agreement, which continues to be the most viable option". 

Baltiansky also referred to the recently signed agreement between Israel and Turkey, saying that “what you can learn from this is that reality is stronger than words. Eventually, national interests are stronger than slogans. When leaders make decisions, they are stronger than public opinion; and red lines appear not to be real ones.” 

For more information about the conference, see this press release