The Geneva Accord peace plan draft has become a Sukkot season media hit in Israel, but its holiday luster will quickly fade. Once the glimmer disappears, there will arise a new set of intriguing questions about the political personalities who took part in this peace proposal.
Take, for instance, Yossi Beilin. For close to three years, the Oslo process architect and former minister negotiated with top Palestinian Authority figures to complete this peace proposal. As fate would have it, the announcement of the consummated Geneva Accord plan comes just a month before the official establishment of a new, left-wing Social-Democrat party in Israel, and Beilin is to be one of the party's founders. And in another three months, elections will be held for the post of party chairman - Beilin is expected to vie for this honor.
In terms of putting some wind in the sails of the demoralized left, and creating excitement about the newly founded party, nothing could be better than the finalization of this Geneva Accord initiative. At long last, it gives the left its much yearned-for "agenda."
The cerebral Beilin, a politician who manages to out-maneuver Knesset members and ministers even when he is not serving in the parliament or cabinet, managed to recruit two top Labor politicians, Avraham Burg and Amram Mitzna, for this Geneva project. In a deft political twist, these two top Laborites support what will become the platform of the new Social-Democrat party.
Beilin's hope is that the Geneva Accord will not only serve as the cornerstone of the new party; he wants it to set the agenda of the entire Israeli left, including the Labor Party. But what will happen if the Labor Party adopts a different peace proposal? What would Burg and Mitzna do in such a situation?
Labor MK Haim Ramon was invited by Beilin to take part in the Geneva Accord ceremony in Jordan, but refused. Ramon believes that the devil is in the details. Ramon supports dialogue with the Palestinians, and rejects Sharon's contention that Israel "doesn't have a discussion partner." Yet he believes that details, such as the Accord's concession regarding the West Bank town of Ariel, are untoward encumbrances. Ramon believes that the Labor Party should issue a general statement saying that it supports a final settlement solution based on outlines proposed by Bill Clinton; but pending the appearance of a viable Palestinian discussion partner, Ramon argues, Israel should proceed with unilateral separation.
If Ramon believes that the devil is in the details, Beilin's position is that God is to be found within them. As each citizen in Israel becomes acquainted and digests the details, believes Beilin, support for the Geneva Accord peace proposal will grow.
Another curious response to the Geneva Accord was displayed by former prime minister Ehud Barak, the man who proposed almost everything to the Palestinians at the Camp David summit. Barak stood on every available soap box yesterday to denounce the Geneva Accord. What motivated him - the fact that a proposal forged by Israelis (two of whom, Beilin and Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, served as ministers in his cabinet) could facilitate his own political comeback bid, or the fact that the Geneva Accord might have the opposite effect on his political future?
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