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Updated Mideast 'Geneva Initiative' touted

By: United Press International (UPI)



TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The author of a 2003 Mideast peace plan known as the Geneva Initiative says Israel should focus on core issues rather than just on freezing Jewish settlements.
Former Meretz Party leader Yossi Beilin introduced an updated version of the Geneva Initiative Tuesday in Tel Aviv, saying that while it was important to halt the expansion of West Bank settlements, a real two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians needs to address "really hard things" such as the fate of Jerusalem and the resettlement of refugees, The Jerusalem Post reported.
"Today, Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) and (U.S. Middle East envoy George) Mitchell will talk about how, when and where to freeze (settlement construction)," Beilin said. "But we say that you have to discuss the really hard things. Talk about the moment of truth. Do not waste time on small things. This is the time to speak of big ones."
The Post said the initiative envisions a Palestinian state in nearly 98 percent of the West Bank, all of the Gaza Strip and the Arab-populated areas of Jerusalem, and that under its provisions, 200,000 Jewish West Bank settlers could remain in their homes.