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US President Obama Expresses Interest in the Geneva Initiative

By: Nasser Lahham, Chief Editor, Ma'an News Agency



According to Ma’an’s sources, US President Barack Obama is interested in the Geneva Initiative as the basis for a potential mini-Palestinian state. Sources also say that Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have begun reviewing the documents from the Geneva Initiative.

The initiative was an informal peace agreement between prominent Palestinian and Israeli figures, first announced in 2003 and categorically rejected the same year by Israeli leader Ariel Sharon. Its progenitors were former Israeli minister Yossi Beilin and PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo. Obama is said to be interested in the fact that the initiative addresses even the small details of a potential agreement.

Obama’s reported enthusiasm for the proposal could explain why Abed Rabbo accompanied President Abbas to New York, while the newly-elected Fatah leadership did not.

The notion of a miniature Palestinian state could also explain Prime Minister Salam Fayyad appears eager to implement his plan build a state within two years, in spite of the public’s skepticism of the viability of the plan.

One unknown variable, however, is the attitude of the Fatah leadership toward the Geneva Initiative.

One Fatah leader who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “I think that the Geneva document deals with all of the details of the daily conflict with the [occupation] yet it will cause a political spark concerning the issue of Jerusalem.”

“If Israel and the Arabs accept placing Jerusalem under international supervision then the matter might lead to a national referendum, in case Hamas refused to hold elections,” the official added.

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