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Geneva Initiative launches new campaign

Geneva Initiative Launches a New Campaign
Date: 29.08.06

Geneva Initiative Launches a New Campaign

The post Lebanon-war Israeli reality, which is typified by a lack of political agenda (reinforced by PM Olmert’s declaration that his “realignment” plan is currently irrelevant) is the reason that the Israeli partner of the Geneva Initiative (GI) decided to launch a new campaign under the heading “Victory can only be achieved through an Agreement: Negotiations with the Palestinians Now!

This message, calling for an immediate resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, reinforces what many Israelis – graduates of Lebanon 2000, Gaza 2005 and Lebanon 2006 – knew, and what many more realize now: unilateral steps are not a solution for Israel's problems and don't necessarily serve its interests. This “national mood” has been recently reflected in a Yediot Ahronot poll (from August 25th) which indicates that a mere 9% of the Israeli public supports further unilateral withdrawals (PM Olmert's "realignment" plan).

The GI campaign will be aired for the duration of two weeks, and appears on 250 billboards throughout Israel as well as on leading online Israeli news portals.

Thus far, the campaign has succeeded not only in generating media interest but in being voiced by key political figures. Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz was quoted in the main headline of Yediot Ahronot's front page (September 5th) as saying “Negotiations with the Palestinians now”, and FM Tzipi Livni explained on a prime-time Channel 10 news program (September 3 rd) that PM Olmert should meet with President Abu Mazen and that Israel should advance initiatives that will promote the two state solution and will facilitate a discussion of issues such as borders and refugees. PM Olmert himself is talking of the need to meet President Abbas and to resume the political process with the Palestinians. We hope we made a modest contribution to the return of the Palestinian issue to the public and political agenda in Israel.

As mentioned, the media has shown interest in our campaign and messages. One example is the following article which appeared on Israeli online news portal, NFC on August 31, 2006 (Nir Yahav):


New Campaign for Geneva Initiative: “Victory can only be achieved through an Agreement”

The Geneva Initiative is launching a new campaign under the heading “Victory can only be achieved through an Agreement”. The campaign calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. It will include 250 billboard adverts, and extensive advertisements in all the leading online news portals.

The campaign will continue for two and a half weeks. Its cost is estimated at $100,000. According to Geneva Initiative representatives, the campaign aims to channel the current intensifying protest from right-wing criticism of the war’s failure, to a protest which will indicate the measures that need to be adopted in order to prevent the next war, i.e. a left-wing protest.

Geneva Initiative Director-General, Gadi Baltiansky, said: “It is important to discuss not only how to win the next war, but also how to prevent it. Political stagnation is a recipe for disaster, unilateralism does not solve the central problem and only negotiations with a political horizon and an agreement can bring about a new reality for Israel. We call on the Israeli government to embark on serious negotiations with our Palestinian neighbors after a period of almost 7 years in which this approach has not even been attempted".

Further to the campaign, in the coming weeks the Geneva Initiative Offices will hold many conferences and events with the participation of senior Palestinian figures. Geneva Initiative representatives have expressed their hope that the dialogue between President Abu Mazen and the Hamas will lead to a strong and stable Palestinian government, which will enable its representatives to conduct serious negotiations with Israel”.

"All surveys testify to the fact that the Israeli public does not believe in unilateralism, understands the futility of remaining in the Territories, and supports negotiations with any Palestinian leadership that is willing to talk about ways of reaching a final status agreement. It is time for the government to listen to the Israeli public – and it is the public's message that the


initiative will voice loud and clear” said Baltiansky.