Global Policy Forum

Geneva Accord


Hoping to break the stalemate, prominent Israeli and Palestinian figures launched a non-official peace negotiation with the support of the Swiss government. They went beyond the step-by-step negotiations brokered by the United States, seeking instead a comprehensive agreement that would resolve the most divisive issues, such as the status of Jerusalem, the status of the settlements, and an arrangement for the refugees. This project resulted in the Draft Permanent Status Agreement, also known as the Geneva Accord, in October 2003.

Geneva is an important symbolic attempt to demonstrate that peace is achievable and that discussions of fundamental issues cannot be delayed until "final status negotiations." However, the Accord requires greater accommodation from Palestinians than it does from Israel, offering, among other things, little concession to Palestinians' right of return. It reflects the very unequal power of the two sides and, while offering hope, also demonstrates the great difficulty of reaching an agreement that will be lasting and acceptable to both sides.


The Geneva Accord (October 12, 2003)

Arabs Consider New Mideast Peace Accord (March 2, 2004)

The Arab League is considering approving the symbolic Geneva Accord between Israel and Palestine in 2003. While the Road Map has generated no progress in the peace process, the League's support for the Accord would provide hope for a breakthrough in this political stalemate. (Associated Press)

Israel-Palestine: an Exit Strategy via Geneva (December 2003)

As a signatory of the initiative, Amram Mitzna explains to Le Monde Diplomatique why the Geneva Accords represent a big achievement, though not binding on governments. In this process, Palestinians and Israelis have discussed and found an agreement on every detail of the Accords.

Palestinian Right to Self-Determination (December 15, 2003)

In this editorial from Malaysia Kini, the author highlights key UN resolutions defining Israel's borders, and argues that the Geneva Accord undermines Israel's obligation to follow these resolutions.

Former Top US Officials Back Geneva Accord (December 9, 2003)

The Bush administration has had difficulty refocusing attention on the road map after the release of the Geneva Accord, reports Inter Press Service. Some former high-level US officials have endorsed the Geneva Accord, while others reneged support allegedly under pressure from the White House.

Geneva Accord Leaves Both Houses Divided (December 4, 2003)

The Israeli and Palestinian authors of the Geneva Accord have received insults and even death threats from factions of both populations, even as 58 international luminaries publicly praised their efforts. Is the Geneva Accord a sideshow or salvation, asks the National Post.

Global Leaders Support New Israeli-Palestinian Peace Initiatives (December 1, 2003)

This International Crisis Group press release contains the open letter signed by 58 global leaders who support the Geneva Accord. These heads of international agencies, former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers unite under the belief that "postponing the final outcome makes any progress hostage to extremists on both sides."

The Geneva Accord: A Critical Assessment (December 1, 2003)

A Daily Star editorial highlights the insufficiency of resettlement or compensation options that the Geneva Accord proposes to Palestinians. The author argues that Palestinians lose the "moral essence of their struggle" if they "barter parts of occupied Jerusalem in return for compromising the [. . .] rights of 3.7 million refugees."

Alternative Mideast Peace Plan Launched in Geneva (December 1, 2003)

Protests and accolades greeted the formal launch of the Geneva Accord. The Accord has half-hearted support from the Palestinian Authority and no Israeli governmental support, prompting one former official to say, "If the government is not here for the people, then let the people be here for the people." (Agence France Presse)

The Israeli Text and Context of the Geneva Accord (November 24, 2003)

The Middle East Report Online provides critical commentary of the Geneva Accord and the "misleading" way in which the Israeli drafters present the text.

Recycled Delusions in Geneva (November 14, 2003)

This article from the YellowTimes argues that the Geneva Accord would benefit Israel by nullifying key Security Council resolutions that protect the Palestinian right of return. But the article also blames the Palestinian Authority for embracing the Accord, thereby preserving its own power by ceding Palestinian rights.

Switzerland and the Geneva Accord: Undermining the Rule of Law (November 13, 2003)

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) criticizes the Swiss Foreign Ministry for its involvement in and endorsement of the Geneva Accord. PCHR points out that the Accord does not require Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 borders, thereby contravening international law and the negating the Palestinian right of return.

UN's Annan Backs Symbolic Geneva Mideast Peace Plan (November 5, 2003)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan became the first member of the Quartet to praise the "Geneva Accord," a peace plan alternative to the roadmap. (Reuters).

Unofficial Peace Push in Mideast (November 5, 2003)

Notable Israelis and Palestinians offer peace initiatives that take a different approach from the stalled roadmap. The "Geneva Accord" circumvents the prevailing "peace process" logic of small steps to build trust. It offers a detailed plan designed for quick implementation. (Christian Science Monitor)

Geneva: Different Deal, Same Mistakes (October 28, 2003)

In this Daily Star editorial, the author argues that the Geneva Accord is not the breakthrough its authors claim, because it recycles the unworkable paradigm of a two-state solution to Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Achieving Our Fundamental Aspirations (October 27, 2003)

In this interview with, Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo provides an insider account of the protracted negotiations that resulted in the Geneva Accord.

PM Opens Knesset Session with Assault on Geneva Accord (October 20, 2003)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected the "Geneva Accord," a peace plan devised by opposition members of the Knesset and Palestinian legislators. Sharon insisted that the road map offered the only hope for peace. Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres rebutted, calling the road map a "road accident." (Ha'aretz)

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