Shaping a Political Horizon: The Israeli Initiative

4 April 2024
The Israeli Initiative

For years, NIF has worked to safeguard human rights in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Our goal was clear: an end to Israeli military rule over the Palestinian territories. Well before October 7, NIF was working hard to counter right-wing narratives, including by  supporting think tanks that envisioned a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can truly live with peace and security. 

The events of October 7 and the subsequent war represent a turning point for Israelis and Palestinians. We are at a moment in history in which new narratives are being written and big ideas will rise or fall. The emerging right-wing narrative includes Gazans’ expulsion (often articulated by employing the euphemism of “voluntary emigration”), endless war, and new Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu, for his part, has put forward no plan for the moment after the war. And in the absence of a plan Gaza could end up with a political vacuum in which no one can provide even the most basic of civil services. This opens the door to armed groups, gangs, and thugs to become the de facto rulers and governors. This would serve no one. 

But the question of “what comes next” is not going to leave us, and we now know, very deeply, that Israel’s government is not able to “control” this conflict and the depth of what is at stake cannot be “managed” or “shrunk.” 

NIF is helping Israelis envision a different—more peaceful and secure—future, in part by supporting The Israeli Initiative, a joint project of the think-do tank Mitvim and the Berl Katznelson Foundation. The Israeli Initiative is a working model for a future agreement with the Palestinian people. It draws on the success of the peace accord Israel signed in 1979 with Egypt and takes aim at a long-standing, effective peace agreement. The Israeli Initiative is the outcome of a task force led by strategy and intelligence expert Omer Zanany. It would put political solutions on the table while simultaneously fighting the further entrenchment of the occupation.

Although the Mitvim-Berl Katznelson plan is a detailed one, it is just a starting point. It offers the ability to zoom in on specific policy ideas—like a multinational force in Gaza or a revitalized Palestinian Authority—but first and foremost, it offers a framework for a vision that puts Israel and the Palestinians on the path to peace.

You can read a summary of the initiative in English here