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Gaza and West Bank are one and the same problem - not two
This week, we witnessed the Israeli government reckoning with the
limitations of military solutions in addressing political problems. The
choice to continue pursuing an agreement with Hamas rather than starting
another painful and costly war is a confirmation of the futility of trying
to solve the issue of Gaza through military actions.

Indeed, there are no military solutions to this problem. There is only a
political solution. To achieve it, the two parties must negotiate directly,
with President Abbas serving as the representative of the Palestinian people
both in the West Bank and in Gaza.

Israel`s policy of separation between Gaza and the West Bank is a grave
mistake. The notion that the conflict in Gaza and the conflict in the West
Bank are two separate conflicts, which itself suggests that the Palestinians
in Gaza and the West Bank are two separate peoples, should be rejected
outright by all of us who are committed to peace - in Israel, in Palestine,
and by the international community.

There is one conflict; there is one Palestinian people. Gaza and the West
Bank are part of the same conflict, and should be addressed as such, under a
single, holistic policy.

We say again: to solve the issue of Gaza, for the benefit of all Israelis
and all Palestinians (and most pressingly, for Gaza`s two million
residents), we must move forward with real and determined efforts to reach
an inclusive and permanent agreement between Israelis and Palestinians
those in Gaza and in the West Bank, as one.

Noam Rabinovich
Director of Foreign Relations, Geneva Initiative
Tel: +972 (3) 6938780 | Mobile: +972 (52) 6688699 |
Month in Review
An important and timely reminder: conflicts can be resolved

An integral part of our work is studying other conflicts around the world
and deriving lessons from the ways in which they were resolved. This month
we invited experts from Northern Ireland to join their Israeli and
Palestinian colleagues in discussing the similarities and differences
between the conflict in Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, in particular what lessons can be drawn and applied in a future
process of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

One common feature of both conflicts was the feeling of despair. The Irish
speakers admitted that they themselves had little faith that the conflict
could be resolved until the agreement was signed, an impression that
persisted for some time even after the signing. The feelings of helplessness
and hopelessness are inherent to a long-standing conflict, they said, but we
are measured by our ability to carry on despite them. As Peter Robinson,
former First Minister of Northern Ireland, reminded us in his final remarks:
`All conflicts can be resolved. I came here to say to you that even what
appears to be impossible, is possible. So please, do not despair!`
Reconciliation as a core issue

The Geneva Initiative participated in two panels at the First International
Conference on Innovations in Conflict Resolution and Mediation at Tel Aviv
University. The Initiative`s Director of Foreign Relations, Noam Rabinovich,
moderated a panel introducing our unique reconciliation model. Alongside the
Geneva Accord, where the practical and technical framework of a political
agreement is laid out, Israelis and Palestinians must face and speak about
the painful and significant issues at the core of the conflict, the issues
that prevent real recognition and acknowledgment of the other side`s
narrative. Brigadier General (Ret.) Israela Oron and Dr. Mostafa Elostaz,
spoke about their personal experience of the joint process to develop the
reconciliation approach the moments of pain, frustration and elation - and
introduced the pillars of our reconciliation model.
At the same time, in a different room, Attorney Talia Sasson, Geneva
Initiative`s Board Member, took part in a panel about lessons learned from
the Northern Ireland conflict and their relevaancy to our context. Sasson
laid out the principal elements of the Geneva Accord model, its evolution in
the 15 years since it was signed and its importance in our current political
moment. We were excited about the opportunity to present the two elements of
the Geneva Initiative - the political agreement and the reconciliation
process, as both are crucial to achieve real, long-lasting peace.
Advocating to future advocates

Geneva Initiative`s Executive Director, Gadi Baltiansky, spoke to
participants of Peace Now`s course aimed at cultivating young leaders and
advocates for the two-state solution. Baltiansky presented the Geneva
Accord, the most detailed solution to the conflict ever written by
representatives of both sides, and spoke about the elements required to
reach an agreement.

Two State Index goes down by 1.6% in October

America professes its desire for peace, but its actions speak louder.
Regional diplomacy takes center stage. The PLO meets, Europe scores a
promising victory, and some signs of hope from civil society. Such
contradictory trends ultimately lowered the Two-State Index by 1.6% in
October. Heres why.
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