- October 18, 2006
Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement
Brussels / Washington / New York / London / Amman, 4 October 2006: 135 respected global leaders — former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organisations – have today joined in a call for urgent international action to comprehensively resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Their statement (full text and signatories below) says there is a “desperate need for fresh thinking and the injection of new political will” if the conflict, “with all its terrible consequences”, is ever to be settled. They say that ideally there would be a new all-in international conference to kick-start detailed negotiations, but that whether or not this can happen soon, there should be:
- International support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority;
- Talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, on both the immediate issues of mutual security and revival of the Palestinian economy, and on the core final-status political issues;
- These talks to be mediated or sponsored by the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia) — reinforced by participation of the Arab League and key regional countries — who would also initiate talks on the outstanding issues between Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
“There is a real hunger out there for present-day political leaders to take hold of this catastrophically divisive issue and resolve it once and for all,” said Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, which organised the statement.
“It is remarkable how much immediate support there was for this statement from so many highly experienced, top-level former public sector leaders from around the world and across the political spectrum. Like the great majority of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, they just want to get things moving now, cut through the obstacles, and put in place the elements of a sustainable peace.”
This statement is part of Crisis Group’s new global advocacy initiative, announced on 22 September, designed to generate fresh political momentum behind a comprehensive settlement following the chaos of the last few months. Other elements involve brainstorming sessions on strategy with UN, Quartet and regional experts, led by Middle East Program Director Rob Malley; a particular effort to stimulate a bipartisan rethink of US policy; task force visits to key capitals; and a continuing stream of Crisis Group reports and briefings containing detailed analysis and policy recommendations.
Kimberly Abbott (Washington) +1 202 785 1601
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For a display copy of this statement and signatories in PDF format, click here
Towards a Comprehensive Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
With the Middle East immersed in its worst crisis for years, we call for urgent international action towards a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Everyone has lost in this conflict except the extremists throughout the world who prosper on the rage that it continues to provoke. Every passing day undermines prospects for a peaceful, enduring solution. As long as the conflict lasts, it will generate instability and violence in the region and beyond.
The outlines of what is needed are well known, based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 338 of 1973, the Camp David peace accords of 1978, the Clinton Parameters of 2000, the Arab League Initiative of 2002, and the Roadmap proposed in 2003 by the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia). The goal must be security and full recognition to the state of Israel within internationally recognized borders, an end to the occupation for the Palestinian people in a viable independent, sovereign state, and the return of lost land to Syria.
We believe the time has come for a new international conference, ideally held as soon as possible and attended by all relevant players, at which all the elements of a comprehensive peace agreement would be mapped, and momentum generated for detailed negotiations.
Whether or not such an early conference can be convened, there are crucial steps that can and should be taken by the key players, including:
Support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority.
Talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, mediated by the Quartet and reinforced by the participation of the Arab League and key regional countries, on rapidly enhancing mutual security and allowing revival of the Palestinian economy.
Talks between the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government, sponsored by a reinforced Quartet, on the core political issues that stand in the way of achieving a final status agreement.
Parallel talks of the reinforced Quartet with Israel, Syria and Lebanon, to discuss the foundations on which Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese agreements can be reached.
Nobody underestimates the intractability of the underlying issues or the intensity of feelings they provoke. But if the Arab-Israeli conflict, with all its terrible consequences, is ever to be resolved, there is a desperate need for fresh thinking and the injection of new political will. The times demand no less.
Names subsequently added:
Former Prime Minister, Ireland
Former Federal Chancellor, Austria
Organized by Crisis Group with assistance from the Club of Madrid and placed with support from the Radcliffe Foundation, Iara Lee & George Gund Foundation and Hamza Al Kholi.