Posted on November 20, 2007 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Nov. 20, 2007 – Former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators Daniel Levy and Ghaith al-Omari spoke with likely Iowa caucus-goers on November 16 and 17 in a speaking tour organized by the Arab American Institute, Concerned Iowans for Middle East Peace, and Churches for Middle East Peace. Speaking in advance of next week’s Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, MD, Levy and al-Omari discussed current prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine before audiences in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and at Drake University in Des Moines.

The discussion series was part of an ongoing effort by the sponsoring organizations to educate caucus-goers about issues of Middle East peace and encourage them to raise the issue with presidential candidates as they campaign across Iowa. Concerned Iowans for Middle East Peace has been circulating a petition asking candidates to make the pledge that, “If elected President, I will do everything possible to promote negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve peace and security for Israel and a secure and contiguous state for the Palestinians.” Petition signers, currently numbering over 1,200, pledge in turn, “I will decide for whom to caucus in good measure on this commitment to Middle East peace.”

Levy and al-Omari each have extensive experience in Israeli and Palestinian government. During the Ehud Barak government, Levy served as a special adviser to the prime minister and as head of the Jerusalem Affairs unit. He was also a member of the official Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations in January 2001 and served on the negotiating team to the “Oslo B” Agreement from May to September 1995. Al-Omari has served as Foreign Policy Adviser to the Palestinian President, and has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been a member of the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999-2001). In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks.

Following the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Levy and al-Omari served as the lead Israeli and Palestinian drafters of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Israeli and Palestinian public figures. Levy is currently a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Initiative at the New America Foundation and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative at the Century Foundation. Al-Omari is the Advocacy Director at the American Task Force on Palestine.