Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes

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GI Position Paper: Yes to Rice, Yes to a Permanent Status Agreement

GI Position Paper: Yes to Rice, Yes to a Permanent Status Agreement
Date: 15.07.07

Further to the Olmert-Abbas meeting on Monday, July 16th 2007, Geneva Initiative draws attention to the following points:

1. Previous weeks have seen to press publications which reveal that US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, believes that the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships need to embark on immediate negotiations for a final-status agreement.
2. US Department of State Spokesperson, Sean McCormack stated last week that the chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians is currently higher than it ever has been throughout the entire Bush Administration.
3. According to the press, Israeli FM Tzipi Livni also believes that permanent status negotiations should be conducted with the Palestinian Authority.
4. Three polls that have recently been conducted find that the Israeli public believes negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should center on an endgame agreement:
* A poll conducted by Hagal Hahadash during July found that 66% of the Israeli public supports immediate negotiations between Israel and President Abbas on a final-status agreement
* “The Peace Index” from the beginning of June, conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center at the Tel Aviv University, found that 70% of the Jewish public in Israel support an agreement with the Palestinians based on the “two states for two peoples” principle
* The Truman Institute Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll (conducted by the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Policy and Survey Center), from June finds that 60% of Israelis support negotiations between Israel and President Abbas regarding a permanent status agreement.

Further to the abovementioned, Geneva Initiative’s stand is as follows:

1. PM Olmert must be attentive to the Israeli public’s voice, to the new American voice and to the call of the Arab world to immediately embark upon serious negotiations with President Abbas on a final-status agreement to end the conflict.

2. Simultaneously, Israel must carry out incentives such as removing roadblocks in the West Bank, releasing prisoners, transferring tax funds…etc, and see these as trust-building measures on the way to a permanent status agreement and not as an alternative to such an agreement. According to the poll conducted by Hagal Hahadash, these steps are supported by 43.6% of the Israeli public as opposed to 34.7% who do not support such steps (17.9% are undecided and 3.8% do not know).


3. As Geneva Initiative expected, prior to the 2005 unilateral Gaza disengagement, the lack of negotiations and the unwillingness to negotiate the parameters of a final status agreement, have served to strengthen the extremists in the Palestinian Authority, to bring Hamas to power and to enable Hamas to take control over Gaza. The strengthening of Hamas is one of the central reasons that today a large part of the Israeli public, despite its desire for a final status agreement, casts doubt on the ability of achieving such an agreement. However, working towards a final-status agreement will serve to strengthen the pragmatic forces in the PA at the expense of the fanatic fundamentalist forces, and is bound to restore the hope lost by inhabitants of the area, Israeli and Palestinian alike.