JERUSALEM—The idea of creating two states between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River dates from 1947. At the time, both Arabs and Israelis lived in Palestine under the British Mandate.
The decision was that one state would be home to the Jewish people and the second to the Arab people. The partition decision was agreed upon in a vote by the United Nations (U.N.) Assembly, but wasn’t accepted by the Arab countries. A war broke out between the Arab countries and the new state of Israel.
During the 1948 war, many refugees left Palestine for neighboring Arab countries.
The demarcation lines agreed upon with the armistice signed by Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria at the end of the fighting in 1949 served as Israeli borders, also referred to as the “green line.”
The green line marks the borders that were in place until the six-day war of 1967. Israel fought Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. It occupied the West Bank of the Jordan River, annexed until then to Jordan; the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, including the Gaza Strip; and the Syrian Golan Heights.
Some political parties in Israel, secular and religious, saw the occupation of the West Bank as an opportunity to establish again the historical Judean kingdom of biblical times.
Other political leaders, a minority after 1967, believed that Israel should withdraw from the occupied territories as a step toward a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
After the six-day war, Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian refugee living outside Palestine, established the Fatah movement. Until 1993, Fatah fought as a guerrilla movement in Israel and attacked Israeli institutions abroad, killing many Israelis and disturbing Israel’s economic and social well-being.
In 1993, the Oslo agreement was signed by Israeli then-Prime Minister Izhak Rabin and Arafat as a first step toward the two-state solution.
Rabin was murdered in 1995 by a right-wing extremist, Igal Amir, because of Rabin’s political steps toward peace. Until Monday, the peace process hadn’t been officially resumed.
[b]The Geneva Initiative[/b]
The Geneva Initiative agreement is the result of nonformal negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that took place in Geneva in 2003, supported by a private Swiss foundation and the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.
The negotiations were conducted by people on both sides who had held official positions in the past or during the time of the negotiations.
The main points in the model draft agreement proposed by the Geneva Initiative were:
-An end to conflict, an end to all claims.
-Mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian rights to two separate states.
-A final border agreed upon by both sides. Attached to the agreement were 23 maps with proposed final borders.
-A comprehensive solution to the refugee problem.
-Large settlement blocks, with most of the settlers annexed to Israel, as part of a one-to-one land swap.
-Recognition of the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and recognition of the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
-A demilitarized Palestinian state.