The Geneva Accord: a breakthrough model
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Comprehensive and conclusive
That is to say, borders and settlements are not simply inter-related with one another alone, but with each of the other final-status issues – most notably those with the greatest symbolic significance: refugees and Jerusalem. We could not reach an agreement without understanding them as such. After all, the question of borders pertains to the area of Jerusalem as well. And as often happens in negotiations, a concession by one side on one issue often allowed a breakthrough in another. In short, we drafted an "accord" that, true to its name, became an accord not only between the two parties but also resolved all the outstanding issues between the two sides. It was comprehensive and conclusive.
As such, it has drawn the support of majorities in both societies. According to the most recent polling data, solid majorities in both societies support a comprehensive, negotiated final-status agreement based on the parameters outlined in the Geneva Accords. These numbers reflect support for the total package that is higher than support for several of its individual elements.
What now? In December, speaking to a delegation of senior Israelis in Ramallah, West Bank, at an event organized by the Geneva Initiative, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suggested that "[Once we] resolve the issue of borders, it will be possible to also resolve all the others." It is fortunate, then, that a mutually agreeable formula already exists.
My colleagues and I – both Israeli and Palestinian – have pledged to work together and within our respective communities to turn Geneva into reality. We hope that people of goodwill around the world will join us in our pursuit of a just and lasting peace between our two peoples, so that we may live side by side in freedom and security as equal neighbors.
Yossi Beilin is a former member of the Knesset and former minister in the Israeli government. A veteran Israeli negotiator, he launched the Geneva Initiative with Yasser Abed Rabbo in 2003, presenting a full model agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He is the author of several books, including "Israel: A Concise Political History" and "Touching Peace."
Editor's note: This is the second essay of "Peace within Reach," a three-part commentary series about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
No. 3 - A holy city's peaceful purpose