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Third party Peace Efforts

10/18/2003

The Geneva Accords (Beilin - Abd-Rabbo document) are only one of many many efforts to fill the vacuum created by the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to restore to people in our area the hope of peace. An AP article highlights the Silent No Longer initiative and the Ayalon-Nusseibeh agreement. MidEastWeb supports both. Please do join these initiatives. It is important to create a support group for peace, to counter the tremendous effort and resources invested by extremists in sabotaging peace efforts. It is important to keep the hope of peace alive.

Freelancers Seek Middle East Peace
http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FREELANCE_PEACEMAKERS?SITE=PAPIT&SECTION=HOME
By RAVI NESSMAN
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Frustrated by three years of violence and failed peace initiatives, former
government officials, civic leaders and even Hollywood stars such as Danny DeVito have jumped into
Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, hoping to succeed where their leaders have failed.

While leaders on both sides can't even get a limited agreement off the ground, freelance peacemakers
are offering sweeping visions of a final peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

"It's very essential that people stop feeling desperate and stop being represented by extremists on
both sides," said Saman Khoury, a Palestinian negotiator.

The latest proposal, dubbed the Geneva agreement, was negotiated by former officials with Swiss
government backing. It would require Israel to hand over almost all its war-won land, but not to
accept returning refugees - parameters that many on both sides are coming to view as inevitable.

Still, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, while saying he welcomed the deal, did not commit himself
to it. And Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attacked the Israeli negotiators, most of them
opposition members, for going behind his back.

"This agreement promises only false hope. By what right are left-wingers proposing moves that Israel
can never make nor will ever make?" he said.

Three years of Israeli-Palestinian violence have destroyed trust on both sides. Israel blames Arafat
for the suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed more than 400 Israelis. Palestinians
blame Sharon for the military actions that have made their lives a misery.

Even if agreement were reached on the toughest issues - the borders of a Palestinian state, the fate
of Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugees and the possible division of Jerusalem - it would be
hard to make the concessions stick. Many Israelis refuse to consider dividing Jerusalem and
abandoning settlements, and Islamic militants are sworn to destroy the Jewish state.

The 1993 Oslo Accords that were greeted with great hopes were narrow and never stopped the violence.
Broader-reaching negotiations in 2000 did not meet with success. Even this year's U.S.-backed "road
map" peace plan stalled amid violence and internal Palestinian wrangling.

The road map envisaged creating a Palestinian state by 2005 and called for a series of short term
steps - a Palestinian crack down on militant groups, an end to Israeli settlement building and the
lifting of Israeli restrictions on Palestinians. However, it left all the details of borders,
refugees and the fate of Jerusalem for a future international conference to decide.

In that respect, it resembled all past initiatives, leaving a huge gap between what the Palestinians
and the Israelis expected from a final peace plan.

"This vacuum has been filled right now," said Orni Petruschka, who helped negotiate a peace proposal
called the "destination map."

That plan, published earlier this year and posted at www.hashd.org, was championed by Ami Ayalon,
the popular former head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, and Sari Nusseibeh, the president of
Al-Quds
University and a leading Palestinian intellectual.

The somewhat vague agreement would establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
generally along the borders that existed before the 1967 Mideast War. Jerusalem would be a shared
capital and each side would administer its own holy sites.

Palestinian refugees would give up their claim to homes in Israel they left during the 1948 Mideast
War. That "right of return" has been a red flag for Israelis, who fear the influx of Palestinians
would dilute Israel's Jewish majority.

More than 50,000 Palestinians and 80,000 Israelis have signed their names to the plan, Petruschka
said.
The Geneva plan, negotiated by former Cabinet ministers Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, has not
been published in full but seems to follow the same lines as the "destination map."

A poll in the Yediot Ahronot daily showed 39 percent of Israelis backed it, though a poll Friday in
Maariv put support at between 27 percent and 33 percent, depending on how the question was worded.

A third plan called "One Voice" harnesses people power and Hollywood. It is backed by academics,
former U.S. officials and actors Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. Its Web site at
www.silentnolonger.com claims support from actors Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Edward Norton.

Perlman says she and her husband, DeVito, were approached by the initiative's founders last year and
found them so compelling and levelheaded, "it seemed impossible not to get involved."

Since then, they have held a fundraiser for the group and joined its honorary board of advisers.

The plan has brought together experts to create 20 secret pillars to solving the conflict. Those are
now being put to focus groups of Palestinians and Israelis.

After the revisions, Israelis and Palestinians aged over 15 would vote through the internet, the
mail, the telephone, at public events and in door-to-door campaigns.

One Voice volunteers have canvassed several Palestinian towns to promote their effort, with mixed
results: alongside displays of support there have been physical threats and arguments.

"The idea is to have a collective position and not just be an intellectual exercise, but to have the
backing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis in drafting what we will call a real
people's mandate," said Mohammad Darawshe, an Israeli Arab who is Mideast director of the
initiative.

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000083.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 11:55 PM CST [Link]

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Replies: 1 Comment

Peace is very easily reached in Israel. Anybody that thinks a traditional peace agrrement will EVER happen must also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. You want peace in Irael? Keep building the wall. Build that wall deep and high and run electricity thru it! Jews never even see an Arab again and Vice Versa. Remember they are taught to hate Jews from birth and one day they will get a nuke and the Jews will be gone. So be safe and have peace, BUILD THE WALL and FINISH THE WALL and enjoy your PRIVATE PEACE! The wall should surround EVERY Jew and keep out EVERY Arab otherwise peace is just a fantasy!
Oh and listening to some ignorant sex symbol actor like Brad Pitt is just about as dumb as a box of rocks. He and Danny Devito will bring peace to Israel, WHAT A LAUGHING STOCK!

Posted by An American WHO Lives in REALITY! @ 10/31/2003 01:03 AM CST


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