Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes

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GI Position Paper: Two-Channel Negotiations

GI Position Paper: Two-Channel Negotiations
Date: 27.06.07

Following the four-way summit in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hamas's release of Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit's audio recording, the Geneva Initiative's position is that the Government of Israel should hold two channels of negotiations simultaneously: one with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority government, and the other—directly or indirectly—with the Hamas movement. On both channels, Israel must try to address as many of the issues of conflict between the parties.

The two principles that should guide the Israeli government in dealings with Hamas are:

1. Negotiate with Hamas directly or indirectly in order to secure the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
2. Aspire to increase the scope of negotiations so as to include more than just a prisoner exchange deal. An agreement could include additional factors that would serve Israel's interests, such as a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that would apply to both Gaza and the West Bank, the creation of a joint mechanism to solve future problems, the resolving of border crossing the administration and the creation of financial conditions to facilitate sustenance and development for Gaza residents.

The three principles that should guide the Government of Israel in dealing with Mahmoud Abbas and the new PA government in order to realize Olmert's statements in his Sharm el-Sheikh speech are:

1. Embark on permanent status negotiations with the aim of reaching comprehensive and far-reaching agreements. Future meetings between Olmert and Abbas may become pointless if talks fail to address central issues facing the parties and the outline of a permanent solution for the conflict.
2. Take true action to advance normalized relations between Israelis and Palestinians, and not settle for statements on the opportunity currently present to advance the peace process or on the willingness to work to achieve it. The Government of Israel must transfer the funds it has withheld from the PA, remove roadblocks in the West Bank in accordance with the Dayton document and release prisoners.
3. Demand that Abbas assert his control of the West Bank and reinstate the coordinated security arrangements that have existed in the past, thus preventing terror acts to the greatest extent possible and limiting friction between Palestinian and Israeli forces.

Reaching the most comprehensive agreements possible, on a security-professional channel with Hamas and on a political channel with the PA, is the key to creating a reality in which: Gilad Shalit is released; relative quiet on the Gaza and West Bank borders is maintained and a process leading to an Israel-Palestinian permanent status agreement is initiated – all the while proving to the Palestinian public the superiority of the moderate, pragmatic approach over fundamentalist extremism.