Geneva Initiative

On 12 October 2003, a group of leading Israelis and Palestinians completed a draft framework for a final-status agreement between the two parties to the Middle East conflict. This framework, known as the Geneva Initiative, proposed a model for the settlement of critical issues such as security arrangements, Jerusalem, borders and refugees. The Initiative was officially launched on 1 December 2003 in Geneva, in a high-profile ceremony hosted by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA),which facilitated and provided support for the negotiations leading up to the launch. HD worked closely with the DFA and the Israeli and Palestinian parties, to support the distribution and promotion of the Initiative and dissemination of its message of peace through negotiation.

Background

On 12 October 2003, a group of leading Israelis and Palestinians completed a draft framework for a final-status agreement between the two parties to the Middle East conflict. This framework, known as the Geneva Initiative (GI), proposed a model for the settlement of critical issues such as security arrangements, Jerusalem, borders and refugees. The Initiative was officially launched on 1 December 2003 in Geneva, in a high-profile ceremony hosted by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA, an important supporter and facilitator of the Geneva Initiative, approached HD to support the promotion of the Geneva Initiative and its message of peace through negotiation. HD worked closely with the DFA to support the distribution and promotion of the Initiative and the dissemination of its messages.

Objectives

HD ‘s objective was to support the promotion of the Geneva Initiative and its message of peace through negotiation in the Middle East.

Activities

On 12 October 2003, a group of leading Israelis and Palestinians completed a draft framework for a final-status agreement between the two parties to the Middle East conflict. This framework, known as the Geneva Initiative, proposes a model for the settlement of critical issues such as security arrangements, Jerusalem, borders and refugees. The Initiative was officially launched on 1 December 2003 in Geneva, in a high-profile ceremony hosted by DFA.

To capitalise on the widespread show of support for the Initiative, Israeli and Palestinian coalitions began public campaigns soon afterwards in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, to promote the principles and provisions of the draft agreement.

HD was approached by the DFA and the parties, to work closely with them to promote the GI. Along with the DFA, HD established the Geneva Initiative Committee (GIC) in November 2003, a committee to oversee the receipt and distribution of funds for the promotion of the Initiative.

The GIC met regularly to discuss the parties’ strategy, programmes and projects, and to provide advice on fundraising. It oversaw the parties’ promotional activities and ensured that the funds provided to the Geneva Initiative parties by donors were rigorously managed. To do this, the GIC established a financial reporting mechanism for the non-for-profit organisations established by each side to ensure that expenditures were properly reported upon and externally audited. Palestinian and Israeli representatives kept the GIC informed of their activities, and reviewed and discussed implementation of projects with GIC members.

Drawing on its experience in other conflict areas, HD met several times with Palestinian and Israeli representatives to discuss programme strategy and implementation. A series of strategy meetings were held in Geneva, helping the parties to streamline their objectives, work plans and funding arrangements.

HD also travelled several times to the region to advise the parties on effective means of targeting specific donors for funds, and helped them secure several grants from major donor countries and private sources, while also providing assistance with proposal drafting and serving as a focal point for donor queries. HD and the GIC also worked with the Geneva Initiative Network (GIN), coordinated by the DFA and consisting of countries interested in the Geneva Initiative, which met for the first time in October 2003. The GIN provided a mechanism for disseminating information about the GI through official channels, and a forum for the Palestinian and Israeli groups to garner additional support for their activities. HD served as the channel through which donor countries could contribute funds to the campaign and other related educational activities.

In 2006, political developments encouraged parties to re-orient their programme focus. HD , the DFA, and the parties, went through a comprehensive process of assessing the parties’ future needs in terms of support provided by third parties. Acknowledging the changing situation in the region and the increased professionalism of the parties, the DFA and HD dissolved the GIC on 31 August 2006. HD’s involvement ceased accordingly.

Agreements and statements

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