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new peace plan


On 1 December, Palestinian and Israeli representatives formally launched the Geneva Accord, a comprehensive peace plan for the Middle East. It looks to the withdrawal of the Israeli army from most of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and to the establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian state.

Under the Accord, the Palestinians agree to give up the right of return for those Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes in 1948, although some would be allowed to return. Most Zionist settlements would be dismantled and evacuated.

The Palestinian state would gain sovereignty over most of the Old City of Jerusalem. East Jerusalem would become the capital of Palestine; West Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel.

The Accord maps out the 1967 Green Line as the definitive border for the West Bank, though some adjacent settlement blocks would be annexed to Israel.

The Palestinians would recognise Israel's existence and right to live in peace, and Israel would similarly recognise Palestine's existence and right to live in peace. The Accord would be a final and permanent peace settlement.

What blocks this road forward to a settlement? The US state disapproves of the Accord because it wants to determine what happens in the Middle East. The members of the EU also want to meddle, if they can do so without annoying the US too much.

The peoples of Israel and Palestine have to work out how to achieve the necessary settlement, on their own, rebuffing the outside interference that has for so long held back their progress towards peace.