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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

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Geneva Initiative Co-authors Mark One-Year Anniversary by Call to Kick off Negotiations

Palestine Media Center
November 30, 2004

One year after the launch of the unofficial Geneva Initiative for peace in the Middle East, the authors of the peace blueprint called for resuscitating the moribund peace process by immediately kicking off negotiations and coordinating the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a joint Israeli-Palestinian press conference in Jerusalem, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a former Palestinian cabinet minister, who co-authored the Geneva Initiative, said after a year of bloodshed there is a readiness by both parties for talks and negotiations.

However, he warned that this readiness would not be enough if final status issues are not tackled.

Final status issues, such as the status of Jerusalem, refugees and borders, are the thorny areas that have been impeding a breakthrough in a settlement between Palestinians and Israelis.

Abed Rabbo, a member of the Executive Committee, the highest decision-making body in the PLO, stressed that although unilateral solutions cannot lead to a breakthrough, the Israeli plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip should be used to kick off negotiations for a final settlement.

Moreover, he said talks could be encouraged by the international community, the Quartet and especially by the US administration.

The Quartet is the team of diplomatic mediators from Russia, the US, the European Union and the United Nations.

Abed Rabbos Israeli counterpart in drafting the blueprint Yossi Beilin hailed the Geneva Initiative launched on December 1st in Switzerland as the only detailed agreement ever drafted between Israelis and Palestinians.

The peace blueprint goes further than the Mideast Quartet's peace blueprint, the roadmap, by proposing detailed solutions for tough-to-tackle final status issues.

Beilin, the chairman of the Yahad Party and a former Justice Minister, also emphasized that the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was the best pretext for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to hold talks with Palestinians.

"Now he has lost his excuse, stressed Beilin, who said that the time was ripe for talks that could lead to an agreement between both sides of the conflict.

Using the opportunity to mark the one-year anniversary of the Initiative, Abed Rabbo and Beilin announced the launch of a joint, mirror media campaign in Arabic and Hebrew called We have partner for an agreement."

Short video clips featuring high-level officials, Palestinian and Israelis, addressing the other side in a message of peace, will be aired in the next two months on local Palestinian televisions and on Israeli Internet sites as well as cinemas and newspapers.

The messages to be aired will feature renowned Palestinian politicians such as Palestinian Minister for Negotiations Saeb Erekat, National Security Advisor Jibril Al-Rajoub, and Palestinian Minister for Womens Affairs Zahira Kamal. The Israeli figures include former Labour Chairman Amram Mitzna, Yossi Beilin and Yuli Tamir, a Labor Member of Knesset.

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