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Geneva Initiative delivers Middle East peace plan

Leading Israeli and Palestinian experts, part of the Geneva Initiative, have put forward a joint detailed peace plan for the Middle East.

The 400-page manual drawn up by the Swiss-backed group of non-governmental organisations was presented to Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, the most detailed vision yet of what a two-state solution would look like.

The document has no official standing but has generated interest among leadership on both sides of the conflict.

"If you want to resolve the conflict, here is the recipe," said Gadi Baltiansky, a leader of the Israeli team.

The core of the plan is a Palestinian state in nearly 98 percent of the West Bank, all of the Gaza Strip and the Arab-populated areas of Jerusalem.

The plan was put together over the past two years by Israeli and Palestinian experts, ex-government officials and former negotiators. It builds on the 50-page outline of a peace deal published in 2003 by the Geneva Initiative.

In a related development, a United Nations investigation into the Israeli offensive against Gaza in January has found evidence that both sides committed "war crimes".

The investigation, led by former South African judge Richard Goldstone found that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity" during its military operations against Palestinian rocket squads in the Gaza Strip.

In a report, Goldstone and three other investigators also found evidence that "Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity".

Goldstone, who is Jewish, said it was in the interest of both Israelis and Palestinians to establish the truth about what happened in the conflict.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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