Contrary to many previous alleged "peace plans", the Geneva Initiative is not a declaration of principal, but a precise blueprint. It is not a "process" or "road map" but an end product of what real peace can look like. In the process, the negotiators have drawn out the precise demarcation line between Israel and a Palestinian state. The initiative provides that Israel will dismantle most of its settlements, including all those in Gaza, but will be able to retain some around Jerusalem and east of Tel Aviv. In exchange, Israel will cede some territory to enlarge the Gaza strip.
The old city of Jerusalem will be shared by both parties as the capital of the two respective states, with Israel controlling the Jewish quarter and the Temple wall and the Palestinians controlling the Christian and Muslim Quarters and the al-Aqsa mosque. An international force will be based in the city to oversee the agreement. Last but not least, both Israel and Palestine would recognize each other's legitimacy, with the Palestinians renouncing on the "right of return" in exchange for an appropriate compensation.
As it stands, the Geneva Initiative is a victory of reality. By giving up on the right of return, the Palestinians surrendered an intangible which stood no chance of ever seeing the light except through the eradication of the state of Israel. Conversely, by accepting the principal of compensation, the Israelis acknowledged that the Palestinians had indeed been wronged.
But more significantly, the Geneva Initiative has completely reversed what until now has been the accepted norm in international negotiation. While treaties were always negotiated at the top, the Geneva Initiative reversed the process. Confronted with the failure of authority to bring about peace, the initiative started as a down-up process aiming at creating a groundswell that will force peace.
A public opinion survey sponsored and released last week by the Texas-based James Baker III Institute and Brussels-based International Crisis Group found that such a plan has majority support among both Palestinians and Israelis. In face-to-face interviews, 53.3 percent of Israelis said they would support such a proposal, while 43.9 percent said they opposed it. Among Palestinians, the proportion was 55.6 percent for and 38.5 percent against.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.