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Sabra Express | 100% Carrots

Jacob Magid, Times of Israel, September 18th, 2023


Recap:

30 foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East gathered at the United Nations General Assembly to present a new initiative aimed at restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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The Context:

· The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, initiated with the Madrid Peace Conference and Oslo Accords, has remained stagnant since the 1990s [1]. The agreements aimed to establish a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel, but internal leadership conflicts among the Palestinian people, intifadas, settlement expansion and recent Israeli peace agreements with Arab nations, despite the ongoing conflict, have contributed to the deadlock.

· The "Peace Day Effort" is an international initiative that aims to benefit Israelis and Palestinians once a peace agreement is reached. Working groups were formed to outline regional, political, and security cooperation mechanisms post-peace, focus on economic cooperation in areas like trade, innovation, and the environment and cooperate on humanitarian issues. The initiative supports a two-state resolution based on pre-1967 borders, including contiguous Palestinian territory [2].

· The initiative’s architect, European Union Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans, described the plan as offering "100% carrots" to both Israelis and Palestinians. The package would also include incentives for the governments of Syria and Lebanon to engage in peace negotiations with Israel. Recognizing the current challenges, including apathetic Palestinian leadership in Ramallah and a hardline Israeli government, Koopmans acknowledged that a breakthrough is unlikely in the near future [2].

· Arab speakers at Monday's event used the platform to criticize Israeli policies. Some emphasized their support for the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which stipulates that normalization of ties with Israel should occur after the country has agreed to a two-state solution, not before. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials were invited to Monday's conference [3].


Conversation Points:

· What practical measures will Israelis and Palestinians need to implement to pave the way for a peaceful future?

· In what areas do the interests of Israelis and Palestinians align and clash within the context of a peace agreement?

· Do recent events suggest that Israel can forge strong ties with the Arab world despite the issue of Palestinian statehood? Is there a limit?

· Why weren’t Israelis or Palestinians invited to the conference?


Notes:

3. Saudi Arabia, EU launch new initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace, TOVAH LAZAROFF, Jerusalem Post, September 19th, 2023



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