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Geneva Initiative Israeli and Palestinian representatives speak at the Knesset

On Tuesday, December 22, Geneva Initiative Israeli and Palestinian representatives spoke at a conference in the Knesset entitled "Two-States for Two People - a Vision or a Dream?". The event was jointly organized by Kadima MK Orit Zuaretz and the Geneva Initiative

22.12.2009

 

Palestinians who spoke at the conference include Former PA Minister and GI representative, Dr. Sufyan Abu Zaidah and renowned Palestinian pollster and researcher, Dr. Khalil Shikaki. Other speakers included Head of the Opposition, MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima), MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima); Haim Oron (Meretz); Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) and GI Director-General, Gadi Baltiansky.
 
Dr. Shikaki, Head of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, presented the forum with the latest poll jointly conducted by the institution he heads in Ramallah and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Shikaki explained that Palestinian support for a two-state solution varies between 50%-70% depending on the phrasing of the question (if the two-state solution would require Palestinians to recognize Israel as Jewish state for example, and when asked about the two-state solution as opposed to one state).
 
GI Director-General, who spoke after Dr. Shikaki presented Israeli public opinion trends as assessed by a Geneva Initiative commissioned poll in October 2009. Baltiansky explained that 51% of Israelis support PM Netanyahu’s political conduct with most of the supporters (52% as opposed to 31%) substantiating this stand in the belief that he will make the necessary concessions in order to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Furthermore, there is wide support (46% as opposed to 18%) for the notion that should PM Netanyahu take major political steps with the Palestinians, his support among the Israeli public would increase.
 
Baltiansky went on to detail that Israelis’ support for a comprehensive Geneva Initaitive-style package deal reaches 56%.
 
GI Palestinian representative, Dr. Sufyan Abu Zaidah stated that in order to return to the negotiations table the Palestinians demand a full settlement freeze, the continuation of negotiations from the point at which they were severed and outlining the parameters of such negotiations in advance. Abu Zaidah raised the possibility that a more effective international approach would be the presentation of an endgame agreement instead of mediating between the sides.
 
Head of the Opposition, MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) explained her will to hear the Palestinian speakers before speaking herself in order to enable her to listen to the other side – a central tenet for successful negotiations. Livni stated: “two states is my basic national interest”, and went on to explain that any endgame agreement will include the annexation of large settlement blocs and the finding of acceptable solutions for Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. Livni explained that the post-Annapolis negotiations set out to find solutions to each of these issues. Livni ended off by saying that this is the time to take crucial decisions and that an Israeli leader that will not go towards a peace agreement will result in the loss of our state.
 
The event received press coverage in Hebrew.
To view an English IDC report of the conference, please click here.


Geneva Initiative conference at the Knesset with the participation of Opposition Head, Tzipi Livni and Palestinian speakers, Dr. Sufyan Abu Zaidah and Dr. Khalil Shikaki

 


This activity was made possible by the Spanish Cooperation Office – AECID