Geneva Initiative Annexes
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GI Postion Paper: After the Sharam al-Sheikh Summit: What next?

GI Postion Paper: After the Sharam al-Sheikh Summit: What next?
Date: 25.06.07

1. Hamas has always been and remains "bad news" in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Both the organization's basic positions on the nature of Palestinian society as well as its unwillingness to obtain peace and an end to the conflict with Israel prevent Hamas from being a desirable neighbor. The objective therefore stays the same: either Hamas changes or its public, political and military power will substantially decrease.

2. The U.S.-Israeli approach to Hamas, which to some extent has also been the European approach, has proved a failure. Not only do targeted killings and an economic siege not weaken Hamas, they make it stronger. The best way to realize the abovementioned objective is to help Hamas's rivals present the Palestinian people with a future brighter than the one offered by Hamas itself: a viable Palestinian state, which can only be created as a result of negotiations and an agreement.

3. Therefore, Israel must commence permanent status negotiations with the PLO headed by Mahmoud Abbas. The mere act of initiating such negotiations, and any progress achieved by them, will serve to strengthen Abbas and the public's support for him. Such negotiations must at first aspire to formulate common principles based on formal past discussions and less formal documents like the Clinton parameters and the Geneva Accord.

4. The document of common principles will be recognized as the first step in implementing the Arab Initiative and will mark the beginning of a process of normalization and formation of diplomatic relations between the Arab world and Israel. Simultaneously, Israel and Syria will negotiate a full peace agreement that will include returning the Golan Heights to Syrian sovereignty.

5. The goal of negotiations with Abbas is to best serve the interests of Israel and the Palestinian people. The aim is not to confront Hamas and to create or increase opposition which, as we know, can be easily translated into a wave of violence that can endanger the whole process. On the contrary, actions should be taken to embark Hamas supporters and activists on this journey. A peace process of any kind will ultimately be faced with opposition and violence - the leaders’ duty is to try to minimize and reduce oppositions’ influence on neglecting to reach an agreement.

6. Efforts will be made to coordinate a full ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, accompanied by an Israeli policy to enable economic assistance for the Gaza Strip and its development. Simultaneously, the sides will intensify efforts to coordinate an agreement to free Palestinian prisoners, among them Marwan Barghouti, in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

7. We have missed many opportunities, including the window of opportunity created with the formation of the Hamas-Fatah National Unity Government. We are now faced with a new opportunity to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority President and PLO Chairman. If we fail to take advantage of the current opportunity and await other developments, we may soon discover that no additional opportunities present themselves in the foreseeable future.