Opposition Leader Herzog: “In every discussion on the peace process, the Geneva Initiative always comes up.”

At a conference organized by the Geneva Initiative in the Knesset with the participation of 17 MKs from the coalition and opposition as well as former Palestinian Minister Ashraf al-Ajrami, Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said: “In every discussion on the peace process that I participate in, whether in Israel or overseas, the Geneva Initiative always comes up. It is a logical proposal which reality will force us to come to.”

MK Herzog added that: “Our current leadership is dragging us towards the abyss and it is our duty to make every effort and to take risks, in order to reach a peace agreement.” The Seminar was organized in partnership with MK Omer Bar Lev (Zionist Camp).
 
MK Avi Dichter (standing - Likud) says hello to former Palestinian Minister Ashraf Alajrami,
who is sitting next to MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid), Yossi Beilin and MK Omer Bar Lev (Zionist Camp)
 
 
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) said that the results of the 'conflict management' approach have been a wave of terror which could turn into a tsunami which would wash us all away. We must find a solution, even if painful concessions are required. She added that: “Security is not settlements and certainly not isolated settlements.”
 
MK Avi Dichter (Likud) said: there is no doubt that the solution is two states for two peoples, and that the Geneva Initiative is a means, but the conditions today are much more difficult today than they were ten years ago, due to the Fatah-Hamas split, but in any case “There is no solution aside from ‘two states’.” MK Bar Lev presented his plan for separation from the Palestinians which includes four initial processes: Cessation of building outside the blocs, passage of a law for compensation of those who leave the territories, expansion of the territory under the civilian control of the Palestinian Authority and an international effort to demilitarize the Gaza Strip in exchange for development. MK Bar Lev added: We will continue to persuade the public that there is an alternative to the current policy and that we can bring about change.
 
MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Camp) emphasized that time is working against Israel and no military operation can retain its achievements without a parallel diplomatic process. “A peace agreement is the best security tool there is,” he emphasized. In contrast, MK Benny Begin (Likud) said that the term peace process is disconnected from reality and will not lead anywhere.
 
MK Sheli Yachimovich (Zionist Camp) called for the urgent adoption of a diplomatic solution, which would increase Israel’s international standing. MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid) called on the peace camp to raise the flag of hope against the messages of fear of the right wing and argued that “The current reality in the Middle East is an opportunity and we need to work for a peace agreement in the framework of a regional agreement.” MK Ksenia Svetlova emphasized that control over abd the lack of borders are corrupting Israel which already suffers from a deep erosion of the foundations of its democracy. MK Merav Michaeli said that the public would support any agreement presented by its government.
 
The Renowned Israeli demographer Prof. Sergio DellaPergola presented up to date statistics which showed that before the end of the decade, the Palestinians would make up a majority of the residents between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. If Israel were to leave the territories, its Jewish majority would stand at 80%. Former Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami said: The entire Arab world has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state in the territories next to Israel, but Israel has not responded to the Arab Peace Initiative. He added that the Palestinian leadership has already made significant concessions such as agreeing to the concept of land swaps and limiting the number of Palestinian returnees to Israel to a symbolic number.
 
Geneva Initiative (Israel) Chairman Yossi Beilin concluded the event by noting that the right wing is giving up on the Zionist idea and is not proposing any solution. He added that we must reach a solution urgently, and a mutually agreed solution would be better than a unilateral action, but in any case a solution that gets Israel out of the territories is needed.
Conference participants also included MKs Michal Biran, Eyal Ben Reuven, Nachman Shai, Eitan Broshi (All Zionist Camp), Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg (Both Meretz).