The Israeli initiators of the Geneva Accord are guilty of multiple outrages. They've summoned a campaign of international pressure against their own democratic government, hampering its diplomatic maneuverability. They've undermined the legitimacy of the Sharon government while strengthening the legitimacy of Yasser Arafat's. They've lied to the public about the accord's supposed renunciation of the right of return, when in fact the accord reaffirms it. They've negotiated away Israel's most basic assets, not least its right to defend itself, and gotten vague Palestinian promises in return. And, hardly surprising, they allowed the Geneva signing ceremony to be overtaken by a blame-Israel atmosphere without offering any defense in response.
But perhaps their greatest damage is domestic. In the past three years, Israeli society has managed two extraordinary achievements. The first is to withstand a planned, systematic terror campaign whose purpose was to break our will and slowly erode our viability. Shortly after the outbreak of the Terror War in September 2000, Ehud Barak warned that, in a contest of wills between two societies, the loser will be the one who blinks first. Now, with Geneva, a part of Israeli society has blinked.
No less serious is Geneva's erosion of Israel's second great achievement: the marginalization of both the ideological Right and Left and the end of the no-win debate between them. The combined effects of the first and second intifadas on Israeli consciousness was to convince the majority that both Greater Israel and Peace Now were delusions. And so, arguably for the first time since the 1967 Six Day War, most Israelis were no longer viewing the territories through an ideological prism of wishful thinking but facing reality, however grimly, on its own terms.
This article says that Arafat's last minute decision to ambigously smile on the Geneva ceremony was the result of pressure from Egypt.