MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who has been forced to resign from the Knesset, will be replaced by Georgian-born journalist Nino Abesadze.
Abesadze is a well-known leftist activist and proponent of the Geneva Initiative. She is close to Kadima head MK Tzipi Livni. On the Geneva Initiative website, Abesadze is listed as directing outreach to Russian speakers.
She recently spoke at a leftist rally in Jerusalem and said she supports the Geneva Initiative for demographic reasons. “When my daughter asked me 15 years ago where we were going, I said we were going home,” she told the crowd. “I want to be sure that in another 15 years this will still be my home, and not a binational home.”
“Anyone who is dreaming of the ‘whole Land of Israel’ as being part of the state can continue to dream,” she added.
While Abesadze has touted the Geneva Initiative as a cure for Israel’s alleged demographic woes, the initiative goes beyond simply proposing a state for Palestinian Authority Arabs. The proposed agreement would see Israel give up the Temple Mount and much of eastern and northern Jerusalem, and would commit Israel to both the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel during the War of Independence and the countries in which they live. In addition, it would require Israel to release all PA Arab prisoners, including those convicted of murder.
It would also put third parties, among them the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia in charge of enforcing implemention of the plan.
The plan has been widely rejected by Israelis and Arabs alike. PA leaders have rejected the clauses that would see Israel retain access to the Old City and the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem, would allow for some Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria to remain in exchange for land from within 1948 Israel, and would leave the PA state demilitarized.