The Geneva Accord Proposals to resolve the Palestine – Israel Conflict

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There is an interesting development that has (as usual) been ignored in the British Media. Members of the Geneva Initiative have developed a detailed plan which they are presenting to the United Nations and to the Biden Administration.

Two of the main figures behind this initiative are Yossi Bellin and Yasser Abed Rabbo have both been ministers in the Israeli and Palestinian governments respectively. They have been joined by politicians, academics and many others from both countries who have been working on these proposals for a number of years.

The proposed plan, which is not supported by the current Governments of either Palestine or Israel, covers all the issues that are being disputed between Palestine and Israel and follows these principles;

  • End of conflict. End of all claims.
  • Mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian right to two separate states.
  • A final, agreed upon border.
  • A comprehensive solution to the refugee problem.
  • Large settlement blocks and most of the settlers are annexed to Israel, as part of a 1:1 land swap.
  • Recognition of the Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and recognition of the Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
  • A demilitarized Palestinian state.
  • A comprehensive and complete Palestinian commitment to fighting terrorism and incitement.
  • An international verification group to oversee implementation.

Full details are available here.

As Liberal Democrats, this is a chance for us to get behind what is a concrete proposal for a lasting peace between Palestine and Israel. I am sure this solution will not satisfy everyone and there will be fierce opposition to it in both countries and further afield. However, as any peace accord will have to be based on compromise, this proposal deserves serious consideration. It does provide a way for the two nations to exist alongside each other and answers many of the questions that have been a cause of the conflict.

* Leon Duveen is Chair of Liberal Democrats for Peace in the Middle East, a new group of Lib Dems working to support those trying to a solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict and to providing information about these peacemakers.

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  • I have to say that sounds extraordinarily sensible. I suspect both sides will hate it!

  • Brad Barrows 14th Feb '22 - 5:36pm

    Unfortunately, though this proposal is trying to be a compromise, it rewards Israel for illegal settlement building in occupied territories and denies refugees a right to return – for those refugees currently living in the West Bank and Gaza, the message is ‘your choice is to stay were you are or go to a third country’ and we know that Israel will not take them. (Israel does not even allow Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza who marry Israeli citizens to move to Israel.) I’m afraid I do not believe there will even be a solution as the majority Israeli people – as evidenced by their voting preferences – prefer the current situation to making any meaningful compromises.

  • David Garlick 15th Feb '22 - 10:19am

    A good try. If there is anything better on the horizon I have not seen it. Will it be successful? The odds are stacked against it but it could be the start of the solution if not the solution in its own right.
    It really saddens me that the jewish population so long persecuted, cannot find it in themselves to find a path to resolving life with Palestinians that does not entrench the problems. It also saddens me that those affluent countries wishing to see an end to the conflict cannot find the money to lift the Palestinians to a better life and see their desire for peace encouraged and enabled. That seems to me to be the only way forward and an edn to conflict. Without an end to conflict thee will never be a chance of reconciliation.

  • Any suggestion that is acceptied by both parties as a start to meaningful negotiations is welcome. I feel some body such as the UN should act as an independent arbiter. Both sides need to feel they are gaining something for progress to be made.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Feb '22 - 12:22pm

    A really good piece from Leon. A sincerely felt initiative as well.

    This is the sort of thing we are looking at and considering often, in the Liberal Democrats For Peace In The Middle East. Fair to both communities and all involved, is our way.

  • Joyce Onstad 16th Feb '22 - 3:45pm

    This is encouraging, more power to their elbow.

  • As Leon says, British media coverage of these very promising proposals has been largely absent. They include solutions to many of the sticking points which have prevented earlier efforts to end the conflict, provided there is goodwill on both sides.
    But as has been pointed out by respected Israeli observers like Jeff Halper of ICHAD, the Israeli state, under the leadership of successive governments, has become locked into what Amnesty International describe as a system of oppression and domination. The Palestinian Authority has also lacked, at crucial times, the vision needed to play its own part, but it is ultimately the Israeli people who have the power to resolve the conflict.
    A bigger question than why the British media has fallen silent is whether or not Israeli Jews will call on their government to adopt these proposals. I would like to be optimistic.

  • Jeff Halper makes an important point about the coded language in the plan. Leon was right to draw this document to the attention of Liberal Democrats, but two-state initiatives from Israel in the past have rarely stood up to closer inspection, and we might do well to regard this latest attempt with caution. As Jeff points out, the solution offered to Palestinians falls well short of an autonomous state, and although Leon conceded in his article that it would be a compromise, Palestinians might call it a capitulation.

  • Leon Duveen 17th Feb '22 - 7:50pm

    Andy, as so often with representatives of LLDFP (and to be fair LDFI as well) you are being disingenuous. You are allowing you prejudices to cloud your judgement in how you react to this proposal.
    It is not an initiative “from Israel”, it is a proposal of Israelis & Palestinians working together to find a solution to a century old conflict. Many of those involved have been a minister in their respective Governments but are not in power currently. None of those involved are acting in any official capacity but from a genuine desire to find a way forward that will all both nations to live side by side in peace.
    Yes Palestinians will not get all they want but neither will Israelis. Any solution will need compromise and giving up long held desires. Also, any solution must be acceptable to both Israelis & Palestinians otherwise it will have no chance of success.
    To demand either side gives up too much is tantamount to saying you don’t want a peaceful solution but for the conflict to continue. This is as true for those Israelis who demand control over all of Jerusalem and much of the area occupied on the West Bank as it is for Palestinians who want to return to the how things were pre-1948.

  • @Leon, you are, of course, right to say I’m prejudiced. I look at the colonisation of Palestine by European Jews as something which casts Israelis as the oppressors and the Palestinians as the oppressed. This is pretty much the view of all observers, most recently that of Amnesty International. I don’t blame Israelis Jews for this, or any Jew anywhere in the world. I blame successive right-wing Israeli governments. I’m not being disingenuous, I’m tell the truth as I see it, which is something I’m sure you do too.

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