Geneva Initiative

This term refers to a non-governmental proposition for a permanent status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, initiated in light of the standstill in the political process during 200-2003.


The term "Geneva Initiative" (10/03) refers to a non-governmental proposal for a Permanent Status Agreement which was lead by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abd Rabu. The proposal was agreed upon by a number of Israeli and Palestinian personas who were not holding official positions at the time. It was intended to serve as a model for a Permanent Status Agreement.


The Geneva Initiative was conceived on the backdrop of to the stalemate in the political process following the failure of the negotiations on a Permanent Status Agreement (8/99- 1/01), the exacerbation of violence and the inability to reach a cease-fire.

The talks, which began in 2002, included some of the former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. The two parties signed the document at a festive ceremony in Geneva (12/03).

Content of the Initiative

  • Borders - In accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the border between the states of Palestine and Israel shall be based on the June 4th 1967 lines. All Israeli settlements will be evacuated by Israel, though major Jewish settlement blocks might stay under Israeli sovereignty as part of a reciprocal exchange of territories taking place on a 1:1 basis; a special corridor (see Safe Passage) will connect Gaza Strip and the West Bank.1

  • Demilitarization - Palestine will be "a non-militarized state, with a strong security force".2

  • Jerusalem - Jerusalem will be divided into two capital cities; the Temple Mount will be under Palestinian sovereignty and the Wailing Wall will remain under Israeli sovereignty. In addition, an international group will be established and placed at the Temple Mount to monitor, verify and assist in the implementation of the security and conservation agreements. East Jerusalem residents will loose their Israeli citizenship.3

  • Palestinian Refugees - The bases for the solution of the refugee problem are represented by UNGAR 194, UNSC Resolution 242 and the Arab Peace Initiative (3/02). Refugees will be allowed to return to Israel pending on Israel's sovereign discretion. This, "in accordance with a number that Israel will submit to the International Commission. This number shall represent the total number of Palestinian refugees that Israel shall accept. As a basis, Israel will consider the average of the total numbers submitted by the different third countries to the International Commission".4
    Furthermore, the Geneva Initiative also proposes a mechanism to compensate the refugees for lose of property and refugeehood.5

1 Article 4- "Territory".
2 Article 5.2 and 5.3 – "Security".
3 Article 6 – "Jerusalem".
4 Article 7 – "Refugees".
5 Article 7.9 – "Refugees".