Geneva Initiative Annexes
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Israeli and Palestinian Mayors Meet at GI Seminar in Milan

On October 13-16, the Geneva Initiative hosted Israeli and Palestinian mayors for a seminar in cooperation with the Italian Center for Peace in the Middle East (CIPMO).
13-16.10.2010
 
Israeli and Palestinian mayors met with the Geneva Initiative leadership in a two-day seminar in Milan, Italy, designed to educate them about the conflict and equip them with tools for independent political leadership.

The mayors expressed an interest in continuing the cooperation and raised several ideas for follow-up activities. Participants established a working group to increase cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian mayors. The Mayor of Rishon LeZion volunteered to head the committee, and to guide its efforts towards formulate concrete steps to increase cooperation between the Mayors of both sides. The Mayor of Ashkelon took it upon himself to convene a big public conference dealing with the political process in order to promote an endgame agreement between Israelis and Arabs.

The Mayor of Ma’alot Tarshicha, who hosts a radio-talk show, dedicated an entire episode to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which included interviews with Israeli and Palestinian signatories of the Geneva Accords. He said, ”the Government should have endorsed the Geneva Initaitive plan, which provides concrete solutions to all problems. When you see and hear Palestinian Mayors and understand the difficulties which they are coming from you say to yourself ’What do we want? Do we want peace, or do we want another explosion in Judea and Samaria?” (Ma’alot Tarshicha Mayor and Head of the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, Shlomo Buchbut, Radio Kol Rega, October 22, 2010).

Finally, participating Israeli Mayors decided unanimously to forward a formal request to the Minister of Defense requesting that he ease restrictions on Palestinian Mayors’ entrance to Israel for joint meetings planned to commence in the near future. Mayor Buchbut sent the letter to Defense Minister Barak, calling on him "to find the balance between safeguarding Israel’s security needs on the one hand and respecting Palestinian Mayors from West Bank cities on the other." To read an English translation of the letter, please click here.

More than 230 people attended the public portion of the event, a meeting with the Mayor of Milan Litizia Moretti. The seminar was held in cooperation with the Italian Center for Peace in the Middle East.

The event was covered in more than nineteen print news outlets and on six radio and/or television networks in Italy, including a CNBC affiliate. Click here to view a report on coverage of the event in the Italian media.

Click here to view coverage of the event (in English) in the Global Times.

GI Israel Director General Gadi Baltiansky addresses a public meeting during the Milan Seminar.

Mayor of Milan Litizia Moretti at the public meeting.

The public meeting draws a crowd.