An Insider's Account of the Geneva Initiative
In 2003, after two years of negotiations, a group of prominent Israelis and Palestinians signed a model peace treaty. The document, popularly called the Geneva Initiative, contained detailed provisions resolving all outstanding issues between Israel and the Palestinian people, including drawing a border between Israel and Palestine, dividing Jerusalem, and determining the status of the Palestinian refugees.
The negotiators presented this citizens' initiative to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and urged them to accept it. One of the Israeli negotiators was Menachem Klein, a political scientist who has written extensively about the Jerusalem issue in the context of peace negotiations. Although the Geneva Initiative was not endorsed by the governments of either side, it became a fundamental term of reference for solving the Middle East conflict. In this firsthand account, Klein explains how and why these groups were able to achieve agreement. He directly addresses the formation of the Israeli and Palestinian teams, how they managed their negotiations, and their communications with both governments. He also discusses the role of third-party facilitators and the strategy behind marketing the Geneva Initiative to the public.
A scholar and participant in the Geneva negotiations, Klein is able to provide both an inside perspective and an impartial analysis of the diplomatic efforts behind this historic compromise. He compares the negotiations to previous Israeli-Palestinian talks both formal and informal and the resolution of conflicts in South Africa and Algeria. Klein hopes that by treating the event as a case study we can learn a tremendous amount about the needs and approaches of both parties and the necessary shape peace must take between them.
Klein's first-hand account and cogent analysis attests to a positive alternative to the unilateralism and violence that have come to characterize recent Israeli-Palestinian relations.