It’s not every day that a pro-peace event in Israel can fill in a hall of 600 people, with more than 100 having to wait outside due to shortage of space.
Today was one of those days.
I just came back from the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Geneva Peace Initiative between Israel and the PLO. The event was organized and sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Israel office. Their support for peace and dialogue in the region deserves much commendation.
This initiative is one of the best and most practical road maps to peace.
What is particularly amazing about it is that it was drawn up between Israelis and Palestinians, and backed by former senior officials (such as the late General Amnon Lipkin Shahak) in the darkest days of the second intifada in 2003.
Just imagine it, Israelis and Palestinians getting killed in bus bombings and shootings in unprecedented numbers. Now imagine in the middle of all this blood being spilled, people brave the violence and the scepticism to come up with a new peace plan. One that could actually work. One that creates two states for two people, it keeps 75% of settlers inside the West Bank and gives viable land compensations to Palestinians as part of swaps so that Israelis in the West Bank can stay in their homes. And more importantly, a plan that is acceptable to the PLO.
It was amazing to be there this evening. To hear the former head of the Shabak Yuval Diskin whose organization has been dealing with the Palestinian issue for so many years saying that there is no other way. That the conflict can not be sustained. That we must reach an accord for the Palestinians for our sake, and not just theirs.
And yes, there is a partner. Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace. We have unprecedented security cooperation with the Palestinians. This because the PLO wants to cooperate with us. Abbas wants to cooperate with us. There is a partner for peace.
The Meretz party head Zehava Gal’on spoke at the event. As she was speaking, I remembered why I voted for the Meretz party, and am proud of it. She supports the Geneva Peace Initiative, so do many members of the Labour party as well as some members of the SHAS religious party.
There are some days when I believe that as an Israel living in Israel I am helping to make history. I am helping to make the Middle East a better place. It’s no coincidence that on most of such days I happen to have participated in activities and meetings relating to the peace process with our Palestinian neighbours. I am so glad that I could share this day with friends, and with my wife.
Here is an informative video about the details of the Geneva Peace Initiative.
p.s – a big thanks to John Kerry for being one of the earliest supporters of this initiative.