Israel-Palestinian group on peace campaign ahead of direct talks
As Israeli and Palestinian officials head to Washington to renew direct peace talks, a private Israel and Palestinian group has launched a campaign hoping to persuade sceptical Israelis that they have a peace partner, DPA reported.
The campaign by the Geneva Initiative, comprising short video clips featuring prominent Palestinians addressing the Israeli public, will appear on the internet, in the mass media, and on billboards.
Each Palestinian ends his short remarks with the sentence, "I am your partner. Are you my partner?" after speaking about missed opportunities, past disappointments from previous attempts at negotiations, and the need to utilise the current talks to reach an historic Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Palestinians so far appearing in the campaign include chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee Director General Yaser Abed Rabbo, and Jibril Rjoub, a former security head who is a member of the central committee of the mainstream Fatah Organization.
Other figures lined up to appear include Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, and minister Sufyan Abu Zaideh.
According to the Geneva Initiative's Israel Director, Gadi Baltiansky, the campaign hopes to counter the Israeli view, often expressed by prominent government figures, that Israelis do not have a peace partner.
"There is a Palestinian partner and we will witness this. Whoever views the clips and sees the Palestinian leaders will realize that if we don't reach an agreement with them quickly, we will miss both them and the chance of dividing the land in an agreed way thereby securing Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," he said.
The campaign, which was partly funded by USAID, is set to run for three weeks, the group said.
The Geneva Initiative was initiated by Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and a former Israeli legislator and Minister for Justice, and Abed-Rabbo.
Its name stems form the city where the dummy accord was signed.