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Rahm Emanuel co-sponsored a resolution supporting the Geneva Initiative

By Orly Azoulay, Yediot Ahronot

Date: 16.01.09


On Friday, January 16th, Yediot Ahronot published a feature on the next White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. The feature surveyed, among other things, Emanuel's previous involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, including his stated support for the Geneva Accord:

Emanuel was among the organizers of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement signing ceremony and orchestrated the handshake between Rabin and Arafat. His profound familiarity with the details and with inter-Israeli gossip ensured that he always knew who cannot be seated next to whom and how to maneuver between the Peres camp and the Rabin camp. After Rabin's murder, it was Emanuel who suggested that Clinton use the words "Shalom, haver" ("Goodbye, my friend") in his eulogy.

Following the murder, Emanuel covertly arrived in Israel and held a series of meetings with Labor Party strategists. It was important to him that Labor win because he believed that is was the only party that could advance peace. He held his meetings at the DeliDag restaurant in Tel Aviv, and to this day, his counterparts don’t know whether he held the meetings on Clinton's initiative or on his own personal initiative.

Emanuel's relationship with Netanyahu was problematic. "He's not my cup of tea," he told those close to him. In 1998, when Netanyahu arrived for the Wye Plantation talks with Arafat, his advisors were worried about Emanuel's dovish views and took care not to speak Hebrew next to him. It was mutual—he didn’t hide the fact that he was also suspicious of them.

After the talks, Emanuel decided to leave the White House and go into the business sector. He moved into the field of banking, and his friends say he managed to make 16 million dollars. But the political bug gave him no rest. In 2003 he competed for a seat in the House of Representatives and won. In 2006 he architected the Democratic victory in the elections for the House of Representatives.

His voting record in Congress indicates staunch support for Israel and for peace agreements with the Palestinians. HE vocally supported Bush's roadmap and, at the same time, signed a petition to advance the Geneva Initiative and worked closely with Yossi Beilin, one of his best friends in Israel.

Indeed, Rahm Emanuel not only signed, but also was one of the sponsors of a resolution in support of the Geneva Initiative. In November, Americans for Peace Now published a "Spotlight on Rahm Emanuel" that included details on the resolution. The full article can be accessed here. Below is the section on House of Representatives resolution 462 (on which Congress never voted):

Geneva Resolution (November 2003)

In November 2003 Emanuel signed on as a cosponsor to H. Res. 462, “Supporting the vision of Israelis and Palestinians who are working together to conceive pragmatic, serious plans for achieving peace, and for other purposes.” This resolution, introduced in support of the Geneva Initiative and other track II efforts to make progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, was supported strongly by APN and other pro-peace groups. Emanuel was one of only two Jewish members to cosponsor it; the other was Rep. Filner (D-CA).
H Res. 462:

Whereas ending the violence and terror that have devastated Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza since September 2000, is in the vital interest of Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States; Whereas ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict strengthens extremists and opponents of peace throughout the region, including those who seek to undermine efforts by the United States to stabilize Iraq and those who wish to see conflict spread to other nations in the region; Whereas more than 3 years of violence, terror, and escalating military conflict have demonstrated that military means alone will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Whereas obligations under the peace plan known as the `road map' have not been met by Israeli and Palestinian leaders and no viable political alternatives have emerged; Whereas despite mutual mistrust, anger, and pain, courageous and credible Israelis and Palestinians have come together in a private capacity to develop serious model peace initiatives, like the People's Voice Initiative and the Geneva Initiative; Whereas those initiatives and other similar private efforts are founded on the determination of Israelis and Palestinians to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity, and security, based on a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace; Whereas those initiatives demonstrate that both Israelis and Palestinians want to end the current vicious stalemate, and that both peoples are prepared to make compromises in order to achieve peace; Whereas the Geneva Initiative offers a detailed framework that addresses the fundamental requirements of both peoples, including preservation of the Jewish, democratic nature of Israel with secure and defensible borders, and the creation of a viable Palestinian state; and Whereas such peace initiatives present precious opportunities to end the violence and restart fruitful peace negotiations:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) applauds the courage and vision of Israelis and Palestinians who are working together to conceive pragmatic, serious plans for achieving peace; (2) calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to capitalize on the opportunities offered by these peace initiatives; and (3) urges the President to embrace and encourage all serious efforts to move away from violent military stalemate toward achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.