Sunday, November 16, 2003

My Famous Roomate

This morning Israelis throughout the country received glossy copies of the new Geneva Accord, a semi-grassroots initiative aimed at bringing an end to the cycle of violence here. Prominent leaders on the Israeli side (including Yossi Beilin, Amram Mitzna, and Amos Oz) as well as on the Palestinian side (including Yasser Abed Rabbo and Nabil Qassis) were apparently holding "secret" talks in Switzerland through mid-October, drafting a peace proposal that is the supposed answer, at last, to the situation here.

The proposal itself reminds me of a more tightly-reined version of the proposal from Gush Shalom, with specifications that include Israel returning to its pre-1967 borders, with the exception of some of the largest settlements, which will be "traded" for more tracts of land in Gaza, as well as the Palestinians giving up their right of return in exchange for a few refugees being allowed to return (with strict Israeli approval) and compensation for the rest. Under the Geneva Accord, Jerusalem would be divided, serving as the capitol for two different and sovereign nations (although if I read correctly, the word "sovereign" is never actually used to describe the Palestinian Nation. Mine was a short perusal, so correct me if I'm wrong about this). The Temple Mount would remain under Arab control, and the Western Wall under Israeli, with an International mediator of some sort to ensure the safety and accessibility of both.

There's certainly a lot to digest, and not just from the Accord itself, but also the manner in which it was presented to the Israeli people and the world. This morning, the Italian news correspondent who lives down the hall from us knocked on our door and asked us if he could interview Tammy (that's my roomate, of course) concerning her opinion of the Accord. So now, my illustrious and artistic roomate can be downloaded the world over on a Swiss/Italian news website, sharing her opinion. Her main problem is not with the ideas presented themselves, but with the fact that people who are not elected officials, and therefore not true representatives of the Israeli people, have met with foreign leaders and drafted these proposals as if theirs were the voice of Israel. An understandable position. It certainly makes Israel more vulnerable should the people ultimately reject the proposal, as it has gained--how should I put it?--illegitimate legitimacy from having already been seen and approved by outside sources.

Check out Tammy here: And click on "Israele: la pace di Ginevra" It's in Italian, but it's also in my apartment and with my roomate! Watch it!

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