Analyzing the Geneva Accord Ending the Conflict in Search of Sustainable Peace Introduction A wall of fear literally exists

throughout Israel, which obstructs the pursuit of peace and casts a dark shadow upon a beautiful land occupied by remarkable people. What I remember most are the car alarms, inescapable heat, bulldozers destroying families, and Arabic prayers echoing at all hours. I remember the despair, fatigue, and palpable tension flowing through the trash-littered streets. I remember the feelings of sadness, guilt, and anger that wash over you creating an intense whirlwind of emotions and countless questions. How can we locate common ground and discover consensual values? How can we build bridges and end the conflict? How can we achieve sustainable peace? The Geneva Accord should be adopted as a permanent status agreement between Israel and Palestine because it provides a convincing and comprehensive roadmap to end the historic conflict in search of sustainable peace. The following paper analyzes the Geneva Accord breaking down the comprehensive roadmap into numerous categories including guiding principles, mutual recognition, borders and settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, security, and accountability. After analyzing the various components involved in the agreement, this research paper examines arguments in favor and against the Geneva Accord followed by a discussion on what ending the conflict, overcoming fear, and attaining sustainable peace mean in this context. This research paper concludes with a prediction involving President Obama. Guiding Principles Embracing compromise, dignity, and sustainability, the Geneva Accord seeks to “reinstill in the Israeli and Palestinian people hope that it is possible to reach an agreement.”[1]The mission of the Geneva Accord is to provide realistic and achievable solutions to all issues “based on previous official negotiations, international resolutions, the Quartet Roadmap, Clinton Parameters, Bush Vision, and Arab Peace Initiative.”[2] The defined purpose of the agreement is to end the era of conflict by ushering “in a new era based on peace, cooperation, and good neighborly relations.”[3] The agreement argues, “After a century of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, the Geneva Initiative offers a real and mutually

agreed upon possibility for ending the conflict between the two sides and obtaining a mutually acceptable peace that guarantees the vital national interests of both sides.”[4] The Geneva Accord contends that after years of living in mutual fear and insecurity, Israel and Palestine need to enter an era of peace, security, and stability.[5] The question arises of how we reach this new era of peace. The Geneva Accord is “a detailed blueprint for Israeli-Palestinian peace”[6] seeking to end the conflict and all claims. According to the agreement, 78% of Palestinians, and 74% of Israelis[7], “The only viable solution is a two-state solution.”[8] An article entitled Get a move on, then in the Economist argues, “Everyone knows pretty well what a peace settlement would look like. The two states of Israel and Palestine would be divided by a border that would be close to the one that existed before the war of 1967”[9], the Palestinians would be compensated, Jerusalem would be shared and divided, and Palestinians would have the right of return to Palestine.[10] Haaretz claims that “at the heart of the (Geneva Accord) is a Palestinian concession on the right of return to lands within the State of Israel, in exchange for sovereignty over the Temple Mount.”[11] Guiding principles of the Geneva Accord include establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state, swapping land, agreeing on borders, mutual recognition, sharing Jerusalem, solving the refugee problem including the right of return and compensation, creating accountability by overseeing implementation, and committing to fight terrorism. Each of these guiding principles will be discussed in greater detail as each component of the Geneva Accord is analyzed. Mutual Recognition Israel is a Jewish and Democratic state sharing a special bond with the United States. According to President Clinton, “Our relationship is unique among all nations. Like America, Israel is a strong democracy, a symbol of freedom, and an oasis of liberty, a home to the oppressed and persecuted.”[12] In 2009, Israel received over $2.5 billion in United States foreign aid. According to Rabbis for Human Rights, Israel is internally an extremely strong democracy founded upon freedom, justice, and peace. Historically, Israel is the Jewish homeland guaranteeing social justice for all regardless of religion. Our Beyond Bridges group participated in an orientation exercise, upon arriving in Israel, and I was the only student that considers Israel a Jewish and Democratic state. Travelling through the West Bank, our group met

Orthodox Rabbi (Philip) Glasser in his home in an Israeli settlement. Growing up in a Reform Jewish home in New York, Rabbi Glasser claims he felt a special attraction to Israel and remarked that something felt different in 1996 when he first arrived in Israel. Considering himself to be a progressive liberal, Rabbi Glasser calls Israel his real home. Rabbi Glasser and his wife told me that they absolutely believe Israel is a Jewish and Democratic state. Before any form of peace can be achieved, the countries of Israel and Palestine must mutually recognize each other‟s right to exist and stop accusing each other of being thieves, oppressors, monsters, war criminals, and human rights abusers. The Geneva Accord specifically mandates that, “The state of Israel shall recognize the state of Palestine.”[13] In addition, “The state of Palestine shall immediately recognize the state of Israel.”[14] The right of the Jewish people to statehood, and the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, must be officially and mutually recognized.[15] However, some Israeli journalists suggest that the Palestinians are unprepared to accept a Jewish State on any terms.[16] Therefore, the agreement explicitly states that the Palestinians must “recognize the right of the Jewish people to their own state and recognize the State of Israel as their national home.”[17] Netanyahu argues that the Palestinians “must clearly and unambiguously recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”[18] “Conversely, the Israelis recognize the Palestinian state as the national home of the Palestinian people.”[19] Superseding all other agreements, the Geneva Accord mandates that Israel and Palestine must cooperate in areas of common interest, joint economic interest, security, and regional issues “with a view to the advancement of the relations between the two States and peoples.”[20] Making the state of Palestine “the successor to the PLO with all its rights and obligations,”[21] the Geneva Accord dictates that both parties must “establish relations based on cooperation”[22] and conduct themselves in accordance with international law. Borders and Settlements The borders outlined by the Geneva Accord are fair, clear, and should be recognized by both parties as “the permanent, secure, and recognized international boundary between them.”[23] The Geneva Accord defines the final and indisputable borders “based on the June 4, 1967 lines with reciprocal modifications.”[24] On May 19, 2011, Obama stated that the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon swaps, should be the basis of a final agreement.[25] The European Union voiced their support and backing

of the United States position.[26] Each country must “respect each other‟s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence, as well as the inviolability of each others territory, including territorial waters, and airspace.”[27] The agreement includes a land swap where Israel and Palestine exchange annexed land beyond the 1967 border of “equal quality and quantity.”[28] The State of Israel‟s extended borders will include some Jewish settlements and Jewish neighborhoods in Eastern Jerusalem.[29] In addition, Palestine is granted exclusive title to all land in the settlements, and Israel is directed to “keep intact”[30] infrastructure in settlements to be transferred to Palestinian control. Withdrawing from Palestine, “The State of Israel (is) responsible for resettling the Israelis residing in Palestinian sovereign territory outside this territory.”[31] The Geneva Accord plans to connect the Gaza Strip and the West Bank by constructing a corridor, which would be permanently open under Israeli sovereignty and Palestinian administration. According to the agreement, the corridor must not disrupt Israeli transportation and allows for pipelines, electrical, and communication lines.[32] “Defensive barriers shall be established along the corridor and Palestinians shall not enter Israel from this corridor, nor shall Israelis enter Palestine from the corridor.”[33] At first glance, the construction of a connecting corridor seems improbable and complicated. However, creating a corridor is the best option under the circumstances. One criticism of the corridor idea is that existing walls should be torn down rather than new barriers being built. Another criticism of the corridor is that there is no set funding source. The approach agreed upon in the Geneva Accord is to “seek the assistance of the international community in securing the financing for the corridor.”[34] However, in today‟s difficult economic climate it may be difficult to secure the necessary funding for this expensive project. Jerusalem Jerusalem is the holy city of three religions including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. “Jerusalem has been sacred to Judaism for roughly 3,000 years, to Christianity for around 2,000 years, and to Islam for approximately 1,400 years.”[35] Meaning “Abode of Peace”, Jerusalem has religious, historic, cultural, and spiritual significance.[36] Extending far beyond the walls of the Old City, Jerusalem rests in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas. Jerusalem is the capital and

the largest city in Israel if you include Eastern Jerusalem. “As of 2005, there were more than 719,000 people living in Jerusalem” including 465,000 Jews.[37] With over 208,000 Palestinians living in Eastern Jerusalem,[38] the only feasible option is to make the city of Jerusalem the capital of two states. The compromise to share Jerusalem is a fair, realistic, simple, and balanced approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Geneva Accord states that Israel and Palestine will “have their mutually recognized capitals in the areas of Jerusalem under their respective sovereignty.”[39] Specifically, the Wailing Wall will remain under Israeli control, and an Old City Policing Unit (PU) will secure the Old City. “The Geneva Accord dealt with the problems of Jerusalem in a most detailed fashion, but oddly – though presumably intentionally – it did not specify in the text what parts of the city would be under Palestinian sovereignty.”[40] However, under the agreement both parties will “view the Old City as one whole enjoying a unique character”[41] and commit “to safeguarding the character, holiness, and freedom of worship in the city”[42] In addition, only the police forces may “carry or possess arms in the Old City.”[43] Lastly, the Geneva Accord enacts a color-coding scheme used “to denote the sovereign areas of the respective Parties.”[44] Refugees A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their home and seek refuge elsewhere.[45] Talking with some refugees while playing soccer in a Palestinian refugee camp, I learned their strong belief that the state of Israel will no longer exist within ten years. One of the refugees asked me to imagine someone forcibly kicking you out of your home. “You would call the police, but the person that kicked you out is the police. What do you do? Fight back.” However, resorting to violence is the wrong path to follow when seeking a reasonable solution. The Geneva Accord is that reasonable solution calling for “the permanent and complete resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem, under which refugees will be entitled to compensation for their refugee status and loss of property. Solving the refugee problem, the agreement officially ends refugee status, ends all claims, and provides “compensation for refugeehood”[46] and property loss. One criticism of the agreement is that the refugee compensation would be coming from the international community instead of Israel. In addition, “Unlike US proposals at Camp David in 2000, or the Israeli position at Taba, there is no mention in the Geneva accords of compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab

countries.”[47] Adopting the Geneva Accord will grant Palestinians the right to return to the state of Palestine.”[48] Former Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak directed his criticism “to the accords‟ perceived concessions on the Palestinian right of return.”[49]An International Commission is established responsible for “implementing all aspects of this Agreement pertaining to refugees.”[50] The Geneva Accord also establishes a fund to receive donations from the international community for the International Commission. The fund is also tasked with auditing the International Commission‟s work.[51] Security Israel and Palestine must respect the other‟s right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from the threat or acts of war, terrorism, and violence.”[52] Both countries must condemn terrorism/violence and refrain from supporting any military organizations or militias.[53] Perhaps most importantly, “Palestine shall be a non-militarized state, with a strong security force.”[54] According to Netanyahu, a nonmilitarized Palestinian state provides “ironclad security provisions for Israel.”[55] Netanyahu envisions Palestine without an army, no control over its airspace, and unable to enter into military pacts.[56] The Geneva Accord does not allow armed forces to be “deployed or stationed in Palestine.”[57] In addition, there are limits on the amount and type of weapons that can be purchased or manufactured by Palestine. The Geneva Accord creates a strong security force within Palestine. “The Israeli and Palestinian law enforcement agencies shall cooperate in combating illicit drug trafficking…and other illegal activity.”[58] However, the agreement does not explicitly detail how the law enforcement agencies will cooperate. The Geneva Accord notably promotes regional security by having Israel and Palestine work “together with their neighbors and the international community to build a secure and stable Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction (and) characterized by reconciliation, goodwill, and the renunciation of the use of force.”[59] The agreement allows Israel to maintain two Early Warning Stations (EWS) in the West Bank (down from Clinton‟s three[60]). Lastly, the agreement goes into detail outlining international border crossings and border control. Accountability – International Supervision The Geneva Accord explicitly defines and structures the Implementation and Verification Group (IVG), which provides accountability and

supervision. The agreement also determines the procedures and functions of the IVG.[61] The IVG facilitates, assists in, guarantees, monitors, and resolves “disputes relating to the implementation”[62] of the Geneva Accord. The IVG consists of numerous countries and international groups like the United Nations. A multinational Force (MF) is part of the IVG, which guarantees security and oversight of the implementation of the Geneva Accord.[63] The IVG permanent headquarters “shall be based upon an agreed upon location in Jerusalem.”[64] However, the agreement should go further and actually select a location rather than depend on mutual agreement in the future. The Geneva Accord also sets up a trilateral committee, which will review every month the implementation of the agreement.[65] The approach to supervise and review implementation strengthens the agreement by setting up a structure of accountability. Arguments in Favor of the Geneva Accord The Geneva Accord is concise, comprehensive, pragmatic, and clear model of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The agreement is a statement and declaration to the world that peace is still possible. Representing compromise in search of the common good, the Geneva Accord proposes a comprehensive roadmap while still keeping in mind the big picture, which is to pursue „regional‟ peace throughout the Middle East. The agreement is comprehensive because it provides a thoroughly detailed plan, maps, mechanisms for implementation, and mandates periodic reviews analyzing the proper implementation of the agreement. The Geneva Accord will create a sovereign Palestinian State alongside Israel, end all mutual claims, put an end to the occupation, and terminate conflict and bloodshed.[66] However, the true value or importance of the Geneva Accord is the mere fact that it “was conceived, negotiated, agreed upon, and put forth for the world to see.”[67] The Geneva Accord is a realistic, tangible, and mutually agreed upon roadmap to peace. For the purposes of this research paper it is important to define the terms realistic and mutually agreed upon. A realistic agreement is one that is feasible and not extreme. According to the Geneva Initiative mission statement, the agreement “provides realistic and achievable solutions on all issues.”[68] However, some may argue that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict nothing is realistic. This defeatist attitude is unacceptable and must be rejected. It is true that only some leaders from each country mutually agreed upon

the Geneva Accord. One main argument against the agreement is that the symbolic peace treaty was reached between Israeli opposition leaders and mid-level Palestinian officials.[69] “The Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugees Rights, an alliance of groups representing tens of thousands of refugees in the West Bank, said that no person or group has the right to make any concessions regarding refugee rights.” Opponents of the agreement argue the Geneva Accord was negotiated in secret “by Israeli opposition figures and prominent Palestinians, some of them Palestinian Authority officials, but acting in their private capacities.”[70] Even though not all leaders from each country signed the agreement, numerous other influential people mutually agree upon or support the Geneva Accord. In fact, 58 former presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and other global leaders endorse the agreement.[71] The Geneva Accord is officially endorsed by the United States Congress, United States Senate, former President Clinton, former President Carter, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi-Annan, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair,[72] former South African President Nelson Mandela, former French president Jacques Chirac, and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.[73] In addition, numerous international organizations endorse the Geneva Accord including Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Brit Tzedek v‟Shalom, Churches for Middle East Peace, Meretz USA, the Italian Center for Peace in the Middle East, and Brazilian Friends of Peace Now.[74] Other countries have also voiced support of the Geneva Accord including Egypt and Jordan.[75] A 2004 poll shows “Jewish Americans strongly support the peace proposals outlined in the Geneva Accord.”[76] According to Americans for Peace Now president Debra DeLee, this poll “underscores the strong backing for pro-peace policies in the Jewish American community at large that often gets overlooked in the Jewish organizational world and Washington debates.”[77] A poll taken immediately following the Geneva Initiative launch shows that a majority of Palestinians and Israelis support the Geneva Accord.[78] Specifically, 53 percent of Israelis and 56 percent of Palestinians support the agreement compared to 44 percent of Israelis and 39 percent of Palestinians opposing the Geneva Accord.[79] The poll includes 610 Israeli and 631 Palestinian interviews with a margin of error of four percent.[80] According to Edward Djerejian, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Syria, the poll is a “reminder of the fact that majorities on both sides are prepared to embrace an agreement that meets their respective core

aspirations and interests.”[81] In contrast, a poll by the Peace Index Project of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University showed that only 18 percent of the Israeli public supported the Geneva Accord.[82] Arguments Against the Geneva Accord According to Professor Galia Golan, “The Geneva Accord received a mixed response”[83] Argument one against the Geneva Accord are that it has no official standing.[84] Former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat responded with caution to the Geneva Accord careful to point out “that the document has no official standing.”[85] Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon described the Geneva Accord as “the greatest historical mistake since Oslo.”[86] In addition, former Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert claims the negotiations were grave, pathetic, and delusional.[87] Argument two is that the Geneva Accord was vigorously denounced by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon as soon as it was made public, (and) its Israeli drafters (were) branded in some quarters as traitors.”[88] Sharon considers the Geneva Accord to be “the greatest mistake since Oslo.”[89] Argument three is that “three articles notably on water, economic relations, and legal cooperation, have yet to be completed, and the annexes referred to in the text have not been made available.”[90] Argument four is that the agreement unfairly favors the Palestinians.[91] For example, why should Israel be required to start withdrawing immediately compared to no time requirement for Palestine to disband the PLO terrorist insfrastructure?[92] According to Michael Lerner, one problem is that the “Israeli majority supports establishing a Palestinian state, but only after the Palestinians have ended terrorism (and) reformed their government.”[93] Argument five is that Palestine is to be demilitarized, but there is no provision for how to rid of weapons already existing in Gaza and the West Bank.[94] Argument six is that the agreement goes into great detail about the Old City in Jerusalem, but does not specifically define “which quarter would belong to which state.”[95] Many of these arguments against the adoption of the Geneva Accord are easily able to be rectified when finalizing the agreement. It may actually prove beneficial that not every single detail is already completely finalized. Ending the Conflict A long-term peaceful solution is necessary because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a “proxy for a much larger ideological clash between the west and the Muslim world, (and) a sharp escalation in violence in

Israel or Palestine could spark a regional if not global conflict.”[96] The Geneva Accord “marks the historic reconciliation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and paves the way to reconciliation between the Arab world and Israel and the establishment of normal, peaceful relations between the Arab states and Israel.”[97] Ending the conflict does not automatically mean a lasting peace will exist between Israel and Palestine. However, ending the conflict does mean an end to all claims, meeting basic human needs, and no more military fighting. The Geneva Accord specifically states that there will be “no further claims.”[98] Overcoming Fear Fear is a “distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat.”[99] A meaningful and lasting peace, sought by groups like Mepeace.org, requires overcoming our own insecurities, fears, and prejudices. Our Beyond Bridges group met Eyal Raviv, which founded “The Facebook of Peace” entitled Mepeace.org. This network for peace enables a movement for peace through the Internet, exemplifies peace, and empowers people and organizations with interaction, information, and inspiration. As a Jewish individual I felt uncomfortable when our group visited a Palestinian refugee camp deep within the West Bank. We met the largest faction of the PLO, which is Fatah. Historically, Fatah has promoted armed resistance and maintained a number of militant groups with “a strong involvement in terrorism in the past.”[100] The seriousness of my situation suddenly hit me as the everyday nonsense and thoughts about seats on the bus immediately disappeared. Do these people know that I am Jewish, and if not, what would they do if they found out? Do I look Jewish? Suddenly, a feeling of fear washed over me. I attempted to reassure myself knowing that my group leaders would never put me in danger, but there was no escaping the perceived tension floating throughout the smoky and unfamiliar room. Looking around, I found myself sitting close to the exit careful to not upset anyone. My mind was racing questioning my safety and if my fears were justified. Maybe I am just acting childish. The leaders of Fatah seemed excited to see us and hospitable so I worked up the nerve to ask a question. “Will you please give us a specific example of the human rights abuses you claim are occurring at the hands of the Israelis on a daily basis?” I know that being in that room and sitting amongst people from a

different world was an extremely valuable educational experience that I will carry with me. I believe the only way sustainable peace can ever be truly achieved is if more people like me sit in similar rooms, listen, and ask questions. A wall of fear literally cuts through the heart of Israel, and the only way to begin tearing down that wall and eventually overcome is to face our own fears and insecurities. Achieving Sustainable Peace Putting “an end to decades of confrontation and conflict,”[101] the agreement envisions the Israeli and Palestinian people living in “peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity, and security based on a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace.”[102] A sustainable peace means bringing an end to hate, prejudice, inequality, injustice, and war. Netanyahu argues, “Economic peace is not a substitute for peace, but is a very important component in achieving it.”[103] “Peace requires the transition from the logic of war…to the logic of peace and cooperation. The logic of peace requires compromise.”[104] Adopting the Geneva Accord, with the help of the United States, “would give the United States a stronger hand in its program to represent itself as a force for democratic reconstruction of the world, thereby giving it more support in the Arab world.”[105] The Israeli-Palestinian conflict definitely extends beyond a “small patch of land in the Middle East”[106] The Geneva Accord resolves to “pursue the goal of attaining a comprehensive regional peace, thus contributing to stability, security, development, and prosperity throughout the region.”[107] Prediction Involving President Obama President Obama will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the end of his second term in office. Upsetting most Israeli citizens, President Obama has not yet visited the state of Israel since becoming President and being awarded the Noble Peace Prize. Instead, President Obama visited Cairo, Egypt, snubbing the understandably upset Israeli‟s. However, what the Israeli people should take away from President Obama‟s actions are not feelings of being let down or insulted, but feelings of pride and joy for their Egyptian neighbors democratic revolution that took place not long after President Obama‟s visit. President Obama knows that the United States and Israel are steadfast allies. The Obama Administration does not want to appear to be blindly favoring Israel and does not want the Arab world to think of the United States as their opponent.

The Palestinian people frequently refer to President Obama‟s call for a return to the 1967 borders, which Netanyahu considers indefensible for Israel. In 2008, Senator Obama visited Al-Quds University in the West Bank signaling “an awareness and attention to the narratives of both sides”[108] in pursuit of long-term peace. Searching for common ground and compromise in an unstable region, Obama is simply playing both sides while maintaining hope that democracy, justice, and peace will soon prevail. However, Obama is not a leader known to rely on hope alone. I believe that a plan is in place decided upon only after extensive research, deliberation, and careful consideration by the Obama Administration. Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the end of his second term in office, President Obama must wait until after his 2012 re-election to address the politically volatile issue. Conclusion I believe in a world without war, genocide, hunger, or despair. I believe in a world shared by all people full of love, laughter, and mutual cooperation. I believe in a world that rejects fear and embraces peace. Providing a comprehensive vision of how to end the conflict, the Geneva Accord seeks sustainable peace proving to the world that there is still hope for reconciliation. The Geneva Accord shows us a possible path forward, and with some minor modifications the agreement should be adopted by Israel and Palestine. The Geneva Accord teaches us how to end the conflict, pursue sustainable peace, and make this world a better place.

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