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GI holds an experts conference entitled: Settlements: Whereto Next?

30/03/2008: GI holds an experts conference entitled: Settlements: Whereto Next?
Date: 30.03.08

 

On Sunday, March 30th, Geneva Initiative held a conference of experts on the subject of finding a solution to the problem of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Some 230 people attended the conference, entitled "Settlements: Whereto Next?," which was held at Tel Aviv's Beit Ariela, and featured various speakers, including researchers, politicians, settler representatives, and legal experts.

At the conference, Beit El resident Emona Elon said that would a democratic decision be made to evacuate settlements, she and the majority of her fellow settlers would accept the decision and pack their bags. She also said she supports an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

Adv. Talia Sasson, who authored the Sasson report on unauthorized outposts (commissioned by Prime Minister Sharon) presented some of her findings and the government's failure to implement the report.

MK Avshalom Vilan presented his "voluntary evacuation-compensation" plan which he is advancing in the Knesset, which he believes could prompt more than half of all settlers to leave the West Bank even before an agreement is reached.

The conference received covereage in several media outlets and was discussed in an in-depth interview on Radio 7, which is popular among the settler community. The Russian language media also covered the event.

The program for the conference was as follows:

15:45 Reception and registration

16:00 Settlements and outposts – current situation report

Akiva Eldar, senior columnist on Ha'aretz and author of Lords of the Land: The War for Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967- 2007

Adv. Talia Sasson, former senior official in the Ministry of Justice and author of the Sasson Report on unauthorized outposts

Hagit Ofran, Director of Peace Now's Settlement Watch

17:30 Economic and civil aspects of evacuating settlers

MK Avshalom Vilan, co-founder of the One Home movement

Prof. Ezra Sadan, former Director General of the Ministry of Finance

18:45 Coffee break

19:00 Possible solutions for the issue of settlements

MK Yossi Beilin, co-architect of the Geneva Initiative

Emuna Elon, author, columnist and resident of Beit El

Yair Sheleg, Ha'aretz journalist and IDI researcher