Wow! So many comments!
I would like to thank all of those who took the time to comment.
Let me briefly address some of the comments and questions.
To Peter: you are right, the Geneva Initiative is somewhat underrated. You may want to know that former Prime Minister Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, thoroughly consulted the Geneva plan before they started their final status negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmad Qurei. I believe that once a negotiated two-state solution is achieved, the arrangements between Israel and Palestine will be quite similar to Geneva formula.
Daniel, I am not sure whether the PA published ads with the text of the Arab League's peace initiative in Palestinian newspapers. If it did not, the reason may have been that Palestinians know better than Israelis what is the content of the plan. By the way, following the publication of the PA's ads in Israeli Hebrew newspapers, Israel's Peace Now movement published ads in Arabic in the largest circulation Palestinian newspaper welcoming the Arab plan.
Peter, I think I understand your argument regarding the settlement of Palestinian refugees in Israel proper. Thankfully peacemaking is not about settling accounts or about mathematical formulae. We must be practical: we are striving for a two-state solution. A two-state solution can be implemented (albeit with difficulties) even if Israel annexes small parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It cannot be implemented if Israel is compelled to absorb hundreds of thousands of refugees. It is simply a deal-breaker.
Martin Schwartz makes a good point: if Israel and Palestine are to have a "warm" peace, there must be a cultural transformation - both among Palestinians and many militant Israelis. Most Israelis are ready for it. Having covered the West Bank and Gaza for many years and having kept track of Palestinian public opinion, I believe that most Palestinians are also ready and willing to recognize Israel, to accept a resolution to the conflict in the 1967 borders and to stop violence. There will always be militants (on both sides) who will try to act as spoilers. We should not let them veto a deal. I happen to think that it is the militants on both sides who fuel militancy. It is the enemies of peace on the Israeli side who serve to help the positions of Islamic fundamentalists (and vice versa), not the advocates of peace.
I am a bit confused by Morton Nadler's argument. You may be right, Morton, about the weakness of the Road Map. But it is impossible to reach Palestinian statehood without a process of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In order for viable negotiations to take place, certain measures must be taken by both sides. The negotiations will then address the various issues that will determine the contours of the Palestinian state and its relationship with Israel. You just can't put the cart before the horses.
Robert Gelman, I agree with your two-state vision. You ask about President Abbas' recognition of the state of Israel. He has recognized it many times. He did so in speeches during the past several years, since becoming the president of the PA and the chairman of the PLO. Check out his speech at the Annapolis conference, for example, where he said: "I say to the citizens of Israel, in this extraordinary day, you, our neighbors on this small land, neither us nor you are begging for peace from each other. It is a common interest for us and for you. Peace and freedom is a right to us, in as much as peace and security is a right for you and for us. Time has come for the cycle of blood, violence and occupation to come to an end. Time has come that both of us should look at the future with confidence and hope, and that this long-suffering land, which was called the land of love and peace, would not be worth of its own name." You can read the speech in its entirety here, on the Israeli Foreign Ministry's web site.
I strongly disagree with DJ, who talks about a one-state "solution." The one state scenario, in my mind, is a nightmare, not a solution. It is a sure prescription for perpetual conflict and bloodshed.
Pepe (and others) ask about Israeli settlements remaining in the West Bank. We should distinguish between two issues. One is the possibility of settlement blocs, adjacent to the Green Line, which could be annexed to Israel in the context of a final status peace accord. There is broad agreement that Israel would then compensate the Palestinian state with land in Israel proper, on a one-to-one ratio, which would be swapped for land that Israel will annex. The other issue is whether settlements deep inside the West Bank could stay under Palestinian sovereignty, in a future Palestinian state. I suppose that it is theoretically possible, if both sides (and the settlers) agree to it. It seems impractical to me, though. If I were to advise a future Israeli negotiating team, I would strongly advise against it.
Thanks again to all of you who took the time to participate in this online conversation. Let's keep it going.