Geneva Initiative Annexes
Geneva Initiative Annexes

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In this section, our experts will present answers to questions you submit. Please contact us with any question you might have on the prospects for peace and GI's activities. We will notify you by e-mail if and when we post your question and the experts' response.

Below are answers to the most recent questions we've received:

Joel (Michigan, U.S.) asks:

"What does the incoming U.S. administration need to do to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?"

The United States has much influence on the Middle East peace process and has been a driving force behind political progress in the region in the past. If the President-Elect Barack Obama was sincere in his promise to "waste no time" in formulating a Mideast policy to advance peace, he must take an active role in the region from day one of his presidency. He, along with his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, must use U.S. influence in the region wisely to promote both constructive dialogue and progress on the ground.

It is in the U.S.'s power to push both Israel and the Palestinians to fulfill their obligations in terms of easing restrictions and improving security, respectively. Direct U.S. pressure in Israel will also serve to restore America's image as a fair broker, which was challenged during the Bush administration. Such steps are necessary in order to shift public discourse back to the notion of an agreed solution to the conflict and mobilize public support behind an agreement.

Tanja (Leipzig, Germany) asks:

"Is there support for the Geneva Initiative among the general public?"

Polls among both Israelis and Palestinians repeatedly show that a majority among both publics supports the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, even prominent hawks on both sides have voiced their support for a two-state solution, with Israeli MK Avigdor Lieberman speaking the two-state language and top Hamas leader Khaled Mashal repeatedly stating that Hamas would accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Even when asked specifically about the parameters outlined in the Geneva Accord, about half of the public on both sides responds favorably. A MarketWatch Research poll from July 2008 found that 49% of Israelis support a comprehensive agreement covering all the Geneva Accord principles, while only 37% were found to oppose such an agreement. Similarly, a poll conducted by Khalil Shikaki in June 2008 found that 46% of Palestinians would support such an agreement. Both of these figures represent the publics' views before campaigns by the governments to promote the agreement. Therefore, support is expected to become wider as an agreement becomes more tangible.

Benjamin (London, England) asks:

"How could Israel's security be guaranteed in the context of a peace agreement?"

The Geneva Accord pays much attention to guaranteeing Israel's security as part of an agreement. First and foremost, the accord states that Palestine shall be a non-militarized state with a strong security force. The agreement also contains comprehensive details of the roles of an international force charged with maintaining the peace and ensuring implementation of all obligations, including those related to security. Additionally, under the Geneva Accord Israel will maintain "Early Warning Stations" in the West Bank, to ensure no threat to security will enter Israel.

Under the Accord, it is stated that Palestine and Israel will base their security relations on cooperation, mutual trust, and the protection of their mutual interests. Thus, the agreement states that both sides shall refrain from joining, assisting, promoting or co-operating with any coalition, organization or alliance of a military or security character, the objectives or activities of which include launching aggression or other acts of hostility against the other. Furthermore, the Geneva Accord states that no individuals or organizations in Palestine other than the authorized security forces may possess or use weapons. These are just a few of the ways in which Israel's security can be guaranteed. We recommend you peruse the Accord itself for further details.