THE SPIRIT OF GENEVA MOVES TO CENTER STAGE — December 2004
By Steve Masters, National Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy

Left to Right:  Dr. Sari Nusseibeh and Ami Ayalon (People’s Voice), Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo (Geneva Accord), Mohammad Darawshe and Daniel Lubetzky (OneVoice)


Come hear Yossi Beilin, Yasser Abed Rabbo, and many other leading scholars, politicians, and activists for peace at Brit Tzedek v'Shalom's third national conference, "From Gaza to Negotiations: The Role of American Jews," Saturday through Monday, February 19-21, 2005, in New York City.  Read more about our conference. 


SPIRIT OF GENEVA CAMPAIGN

Brit Tzedek's "Spirit of Geneva Campaign," initiated in December 2003, seeks to bring the American Jewish community a message of renewed hope for a negotiated two-state resolution of the conflict—such as that modeled by the Geneva Accord, the People's Voice Initiative, and OneVoice. The Spirit of Geneva means that peace is possible, that the details of a just and viable two-state solution for both Israel and the Palestinians are clear, and that there are partners for peace on both sides.
 
The Geneva Accord, People's Voice, and OneVoice provide grassroots organizing tools to stimulate discussion in Israel, the occupied territories, and internationally. Brit Tzedek has played a key role in the U.S. as our chapters have held hundreds of events across the country, including house meetings, educational sessions, press conferences, speaking tours, and video showings to promote the "Spirit of Geneva."  Learn more about our Spirit of Geneva Campaign
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Below you can read more about developments in these three important peace initiatives over the past six months.

GENEVA ACCORD DEVELOPMENTS IN PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

On the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Accord, the Palestinian Peace Coalition-Geneva Initiative (PPC) launched a major advertising campaign on local Palestinian television stations. The campaign consists of six short films featuring Israeli political and military leaders voicing their support for the idea of two states for two people. View the films.

The PPC has also has just published its first newsletter which summarizes the first year of its activities on behalf of the Geneva Initiative in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Some of the highlights of the past six months that are detailed in the newsletter include:

* Over 1400 youth participated in summer camps held in locations across the occupied territories. The camps' aims were to make young people aware of the decisive role that they play in bringing peace, stability, and security to a future Palestinian state and to train them in the leadership and political organizing skills to make this possible.

* The first seminar on the culture of peace and conflict resolution concerning the policies and programs of Palestinian civil society institutions was held in Hebron.

* A nationwide billboard campaign was launched to encourage democratic debate and public speech among the Palestinian people and to promote a negotiated, two-state political solution to the conflict.

* Preparations are underway to start "peace clubs" in schools and universities in the West Bank to promote the concepts of dialogue, reconciliation, democracy, nonviolence, peace, and pluralism.

GENEVA ACCORD DEVELOPMENTS IN ISRAEL

During the last year the Israeli Geneva Initiative architects (Israeli GI) have spoken to thousands of citizens. Through rallies and conferences, house gatherings and tours, personal and interactive meetings, they communicated a multifaceted message: there is a detailed plan for a permanent status peace, and there is a partner for this plan on the other side. At the end of the first year of their journey throughout the country, they are convinced that the citizens of Israel are full of hope that it is possible to reach an agreement that will serve Israel's real interests.
 
Over the past six months:
 
* Fifteen "Day in the Town" projects from Kiryat Shemona to Eilat were held, through which this campaign reached close to 10,000 residents in schools, local organizations, and public rallies.

* Thirty tours focusing on the route of the security fence in the Jerusalem area to demonstrate the advantages of the Geneva route, as opposed to the current delineation, drew over 1500 participants.

* A Public Council comprised of 300 senior people from the security, academic, government, and social sectors and from numerous political parties, including Labor, Likud, Shas, Shinui, and Yachad, has been formed. In addition, nearly 13,000 volunteers have been enlisted.

* A major new campaign entitled "There is a Partner for a Peace Agreement," was launched recently to introduce Palestinian representatives to an Israeli audience via ad clips to be run in cinemas and on the most popular internet websites.

In the upcoming year Israeli GI will focus on presenting Palestinian partners and on the need to move from a disengagement plan to a permanent status agreement. The group's efforts will be channeled to put public pressure on the government to talk with the Palestinians and conduct serious negotiations with them in order to reach a permanent status peace. 

 
PEOPLE'S VOICE INITIATIVE DEVELOPMENTS

253,251 Israelis and 161,000 Palestinians have signed the People's Voice Initiative as of December 21, 2004.

People's Voice Initiative creators Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh recently published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post entitled The Future is in our Hands, which states:

History has provided a real and unique opportunity to help forge a future, fulfilling both the Palestinian dream for a viable democratic state and the Zionist dream of a democratic Jewish homeland. Those who reject such a vision have had their say, and we see where that has brought us. A majority of Israelis and Palestinians want to live side by side, building their own states and dreams in this beautiful, ancient, and troubled land. It is time that the people's voice be heard.

ONEVOICE DEVELOPMENTS

In September 2004, OneVoice unveiled results from the first-ever public citizen negotiations, through which, remarkably, 113,000 ordinary Palestinians and Israelis achieved consensus on ten essential pillars for conflict resolution after three intense rounds of voting

OneVoice has achieved the unique status of a mainstream, non-partisan movement with field organizers in every major Palestinian city and village, as well as in most refugee camps, that are dedicated to promoting a nonviolent resolution to the conflict. The organization is now actively organizing an unprecedented get-out-the-vote campaign, mobilizing moderate Palestinians to vote in the upcoming elections.

IN THE NEWS

Palestinian TV Airs Geneva Accord Ad Campaign, Haaretz, December 22, 2004   

The Geneva Accord Moves to Center Stage, Haaretz, December 22, 2004 

PA Mulling Adoption of Geneva Accords, Maariv, December 5, 2004   

Geneva Initiative Co-authors Mark One-Year Anniversary by Call to Kick off Negotiations, Palestinian Media Center, November 30, 2004 

The Path to Geneva, Yossi Beilin, Tikkun, May/June 2004 


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