Ex-security officials, business execs to push peace agenda

Initiative from TA calls on gov't to make large-scale territorial concessions, reach solution to Palestinian refugee problem in exchange for peace.

A group of former leaders of security agencies and captains of Israeli industry will be launching a new peace initiative in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, calling on the government to make large-scale territorial concessions and reach a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem in exchange for peace.
The group of some 40 prominent personalities includes former Mossad head Danny Yatom, former Shin Bet head Yaakov Perry, former IDF chief Amnon Lipkin- Shahak, former head of the Shin Bet Ami Ayalon, former Labor Party chief Amram Mitzna, Idan Ofer, owner of the ZIM shipping company, and Yuval Rabin, son of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The plan has been devised “in light of the dramatic events in the Middle East” and is aimed at urging the government to “immediately renew peace talks,” a statement issued by the group said.
According to a statement they released, they are calling on the Israeli government “to initiate a regional peace process based on the Arab initiative.”
The so-called Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 calls for peace with Israel in exchange for a total Israeli withdrawal from the land captured in the 1967 war and a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem.
This would require Israel to hand over the West Bank and east Jerusalem to the Palestinians and the Golan Heights to Syria. It would also include some sort of financial compensation for Palestinian refugees and allowing a certain number to return to their former homes in Israel.
According to the statement, “The leaders of the initiative will present their plan for a new Israeli peace initiative. This proposed peace initiative will provide a comprehensive response to the Arab Peace Initiative while maintaining Israel’s vital interests. The plan for this new peace initiative has been developed during the past several years with the help of leading Israeli experts. It is based on the experience gained during the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations of the past decade and on existing peace plans as well as on new and innovative ideas.”
A group spokesman told Reuters that the plan urged Israel to agree to Palestinian statehood in Gaza and in nearly all the West Bank as well as east Jerusalem.
It proposes possible financial compensation for Palestinian refugees and dividing control over Jerusalem, with largely Palestinian neighborhoods being put under Palestinian control while Jewish areas would be governed by Israel.
Palestinian refugees could be offered compensation, and a small number may be permitted to return to their former homes in Israel, the spokesman added.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been shown a copy of the plan but has made no public comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.