U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the United Nations this week, refusing to give up on Middle East peace in spite of the failure of his emissary, George Mitchell, to find enough common ground between the two sides to justify a summit with Mr. Obama.
If there ever is to be a two-state solution to the 61-year conflict, the final treaty will look a lot like a 423-page blueprint released last week.
The detailed plan is the work of a private joint project that began in 2001 with meetings between an Israeli group, led by former deputy foreign minister Yossi Beilin, and a Palestinian group, led by Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the executive committee of the PLO.
Known as the Geneva Initiative, for the city where the initial meetings quietly took place, the two sides produced in 2003 a model for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. It remains the only such detailed proposal ever prepared jointly by people on both sides of the conflict. The principles embodied in that 34-page document served as a skeleton for the detailed annexes released last week.
"This is a recipe book for peacemakers," Mr. Beilin said at a press conference to introduce the document in Tel Aviv.
"It shows that reaching agreement with the Palestinians is much easier than people think," he said.
Most of the signatories of the 2003 accord also participated in the production of the annexes. Their work, which involved a large number of experts in each field, began almost two years ago.
In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, and with a new peace effort being made by Mr. Obama, Mr. Beilin and Mr. Abed Rabbo made it clear that negotiators on each side must waste no time in moving the peace process forward.
"We have faced such moments of truth and missed them too often in the past, because we thought we had all the time in the world ahead of us. That is a mistake we must not repeat," they wrote in the introduction to the annexes.
Here are the kinds of questions the Geneva Initiative answers:
Where will the borders be? For the most part, they would run on or near the Green Line that delineated Israeli territory from 1949 to 1967.
Exceptions would be those areas of Israeli settlement within the Palestinian territory that are near the Green Line or near Jerusalem - these would be annexed by Israel - and those areas of Israeli territory that the parties agree should be annexed by Palestine. The latter areas are found in the southwestern part of the West Bank and the southeastern part of the Gaza Strip. The amount of Israeli land to be annexed by Palestine would equal the amount of Palestinian territory to be annexed by Israel.
The city of Jerusalem would be divided between areas of Palestinian sovereignty and areas of Israeli sovereignty.
What happens to the settlers?
Most get to remain where they are. This includes the major settlements of Maale Adumim, Modiin Ilit, Beitar Ilit and the Etzion Bloc.
Those Israeli settlers whose communities fall outside the areas annexed by Israel would be evacuated to Israel. These include the large northern settlement of Ariel and the settlements in and around Hebron in the south. Gadi Baltiansky, director of the Geneva Initiative's Israel offices, estimates that about 100,000 of the 300,000 settlers currently living in the occupied West Bank, not including east and north Jerusalem, would have to be moved.
The 200,000 Israelis who live in occupied areas that Israel now considers to be within Jerusalem would be allowed to remain and the area would be annexed by Israel.
How would Jerusalem be shared? The new settler communities in north Jerusalem would be included in Israel, along with the traditional Jewish neighbourhoods of west Jerusalem. Keeping these dispersed communities connected will be an interlocking transit system of tunnels and bridges that maintains ties between Israeli communities as well as between Palestinian communities.
The system also would permit Palestinians to traverse the area when travelling between communities in the north, such as Ramallah, and the south, such as Bethlehem.
The Old City of Jerusalem would be physically divided, with Israel retaining only the Jewish Quarter, including the Western Wall, while Palestine would have sovereignty over the other three quarters (Muslim, Christian and Armenian) as well as the Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount.
Neither Israelis nor Palestinians would be allowed to cross from one side of the Old City to the other, though international visitors would be allowed to cross, provided they have the necessary documents to visit the other state.