Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes

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GI Position Paper: The Day After Annapolis

GI Position Paper: The Day After Annapolis

Geneva Initiative Position Paper: The Day After Annapolis
Date: 21.11.07

In addressing the Annapolis conference set to take place next week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the "existence of the conference is a success in itself." While there is no doubt the significance of the conference was lost and it became a strictly symbolic event,

the mere presence of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations following a seven-year standstill is substantial and significant

.



 

As things currently stand,

the bulk of both sides' efforts should be invested in the day following the conference and not in the preparations for it

. Geneva Initiative's position is that on the day after Annapolis, the government of Israel must:



 

1.

Conduct intensive final status negotiations

. In a survey conducted last month, 72% of Israelis said that following the conference, Israel and the Palestinians should commence continuous negotiations aimed at reaching a final status agreement within a year (as opposed to 21.4% who objected to this). Ehud Olmert, who in his recent speech at the state memorial for Ben Gurion hinted at his feeling of isolation as prime minister, would be wise to connect with the will of his people.



 

2.

Refrain from dictating preconditions to negotiations and defining "forbidden" issues

. The government cannot conduct serious and affective negotiations while submitting to the terms presented by ministers Yishai and Lieberman who demand the core issues not be discussed. The Israeli public understands this as well, and 54.5% of it claimed in the poll that they would support an agreement addressing all core issues of the conflict (as opposed to 29% who would object to such an agreement).



 

3.

Assemble teams charged with reaching agreements on all the substantial issues that are important to the sides

. The teams would be wise to carefully peruse past agreements and initiatives in order to expedite and simplify negotiations. For

example, the issue currently in the headlines—the Jewish character of the State of Israel—has already been settled in the Geneva Initiative

: In a joint Israeli-Palestinian signature it was agreed that the "parties recognize Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples," and that the agreement "marks the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood."



 

4.

Demonstrate its ability to lead through actions, not only words.

When the prime minister and foreign minister acknowledge the existing apt conditions and historical opportunity, while at the same time give in to ministers' conditions that deplete all substance from the conference, which could have been a fundamental and important step toward peace, it is clear why 54.4% of Israelis believe that Olmert cannot reach an agreement with the Palestinians and that we must wait for the leader that follows him.



 

5.

Seize the historic opportunity and the convenient political situation that has been created.

The pragmatic Palestinian leadership, which wants to reach a peace agreement with Israel and is willing to compromise on the substantial issues important to it, will gradually lose its power the longer negotiations extend, creating a feeling the road of dialogue and compromise is bearing no fruit. In this context as well, it is noteworthy that the survey shows 64.9% of Israelis support conducting final status negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas (compared with 28% who oppose this) and 46.8% believe Abbas is a partner with whom the opportunity should not be missed (compared with 35.7%).



 

6.

Not give in to extremists, who will try to torpedo negotiations and an agreement through violence and intimidation and will become more vocal and more forceful as the realization of these nears.