Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes

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GI Israel Position Paper: Parallel Negotiations on the Palestinian and Syrian Tracks

GI Israel Position Paper: Parallel Negotiations on the Palestinian and Syrian Tracks
Date: 04.05.08

In light of recent reports on Israel's willingness to negotiate with Syria on returning the Golan Heights for Israeli-Syrian peace, Geneva Initiative-Israel's position is as follows:

  1. Conducting negotiations on the Syrian track would not harm, and could even contribute to, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
  2. It is likely that neither the Syrians nor the Palestinians would want to end up last on the list of entities to make peace with Israel. Therefore, open or hidden "competition" between them could breathe life into negotiations and move these parties to positions that are more comfortable for Israel.
  3. Negotiations with Syria would most probably be accompanied by a decrease in terrorist activity from its territory. Actions by Hamas leaders, many of whom reside in Syria, against Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would decrease, and they would be less vocal as long as their Syrian hosts are also negotiating with Israel. The strength of Syrian-Iranian relations could similarly diminish, bringing greater stability to the Middle East and contributing to Iran's isolation as an extremist force in the region.
  4. The Saudi Initiative, adopted by the Arab League, could bring about peace between Israel and the entire Arab world. The initiative can only come to life, however, after agreements are reached between Israel and all its neighbors. Thus, reaching parallel agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and Syria would result in a wider peace that is not only between Israel and its neighbors, but rather between Israel and the entire Arab world.
  5. Just as the Israeli public would oppose an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on specific issues, but a majority would adopt a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian agreement resulting in an end to the conflict, an even larger majority would adopt parallel peace agreements that would, in practice, embody an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict on all its fronts.
  6. The principles of the agreements that would be formalized on the Syrian and Palestinian tracks are known and recognized. The Israeli, Syrian and Palestinian leaders must first and foremost want to reach the agreements and be brave enough to realize them. If they will it, peace agreements can be signed on both tracks in a short period of time.