Shalom-Salam hosts key Geneva Accord figures at York

The Geneva Accord is an unofficial but highly influential peace initiative that proposes a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. The accord is the result of negotiations led by the former justice minister of Israel, Yossi Beilin, and the former Palestinian information minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo. By offering a model for a permanent status agreement, the Geneva Accord, even as a basis for formal negotiations, could change the face of the region. To this effect, the individuals behind it are investing great efforts in reaching out to their respective publics to ensure broad support for this initiative.

After a century of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, supporters say the Geneva Accord offers a real and mutually agreed upon possibility for ending the conflict between the two sides and obtaining a mutually acceptable peace that guarantees the vital national interests of both sides. According to some polls, 53 per cent of Israelis and 56 per cent of Palestinians support this initiative.

Shalom-Salam @ York has invited Nazmi Al-Jubah of Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine, and Menachem Klein of Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, to give presentations about the Geneva Accord. Al-Jubah is also the director of Riwaq at the Palestinian Centre for Architectural Conservation and is a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and board member of B’etselem. Both individuals have key roles in the peace negotiations. Saeed Rahnema, York professor of political science, will give the introductory address.

“Nazmi Al-Jubah and Menachem Klein are senior members of the negotiating committee of the Geneva Accord,” said Miriam Yosowich, co-president of Shalom-Salam @ York. “They are also experts on Jerusalem and they may speak on how the city will be partitioned. They will be speaking about the accord as experts in the area and we are hoping they will update us on the progress of peace talks. The Geneva Accord is a ray of hope in the Middle East and this presentation will provide us with some very important information. The entire York community is welcome to attend and Shalom-Salam @ York hopes that everyone will take the time to come out.”

Yosowich, together with fellow co-president Hina Khan, said that both Al-Jubah and Klein agreed to come to York after urging by members of Shalom-Salam @ York. Their speaking engagements, said the Shalom-Salam @ York co-presidents, were primarily in the US, and Canada was not on their agenda. “We are so grateful that they decided to come to York University,” said Yosowich and Khan.

This special presentation will take place today, from 6:30 to 9:30pm in Founders Assembly Hall, room 152 Founders College, Keele campus. Tickets are $5 for York students and $10 for non-students and are available through the Shalom-Salam@ York office located in room 438 of the Student Centre. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

The presentations will be followed by a reception featuring complimentary Middle Eastern food and music. For more information, contact Miriam Yosowich at 647-228-3566 or

About Shalom-Salam @ York

Led by an executive including two co-presidents, Miriam Yosowich and Hina Khan, Shalom-Salam’s aim is to provide an alternative forum for discussion about Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one where supporters of both sides can meet to foster better relations and build bridges in a positive atmosphere. The group numbers over 100 members and has an executive with equal representation of Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Israeli students.

Right: Some of the members of Shalom-Salam @ York

Shalom-Salam @ York was founded after a group of students met in a class taught by political science Professor Saeed Rahnema called War and Peace in the Middle East. Rahnema encouraged the students to work together because of their different perspectives. They did, and decided that more needed to be done on a larger scale to foster mutual understanding at York.