Print this article   Email this to a friend

XXIII Congress of the Socialist International, Athens

Congress statement on the Middle East

30 June-02 July 2008

To resolve conflicts and overcome instability 

Text adopted on the Middle East:

The work of the Socialist International in the search of peace in the Middle East has been constant. The solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains crucial to secure peace and stability in the whole region and beyond. The negotiations should lead to a lasting peace based on the solution of two States.

The Socialist International welcomes the recently established cease-fire agreement over the Gaza Strip mediated by Egypt and hopes that it will be followed by additional confidence-building measures so that tranquillity can prevail on the border and that it could be extended to include the West Bank.

The SI calls for the expansion of this agreement in order to bring about the speedy release of the Israeli soldiers held captive in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip as well as of the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The launching of rockets onto Israeli territory and the siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip must stop immediately. Security can only endure if there are tangible prospects for political progress towards the end of occupation and the long-delayed establishment of an independent, democratic, peaceful, viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

The SI calls upon both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to meet their obligations under Phase I of the Roadmap, with particular emphasis on the complete freezing of all Israeli construction (including “natural growth”) beyond the Green Line, taking into account the settlements and construction of the Wall inside the Palestinian territory which undermine the credibility of the peace process and the concept of the two-state solution itself, feeding despair and extremism, and on the unifying of all security forces under one single authority on the Palestinian side – an authority that will have a monopoly over the use of power and work to prevent all acts of terror.

The SI urges the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to complete negotiations on the permanent status agreement as early as possible, and in any event before the end of 2008.

For the agreement to be possible, measures must be taken by each side to ensure that an easing of the freedom of movement will be met with efforts by the Palestinians to ensure security for the Israelis.

The SI calls upon Hamas to renounce violence, recognise Israel and join the political process under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The SI calls upon Israel to release all imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council held by Israel since January 2006.

The SI welcomes the Palestinian decision to call for anticipated Palestinian elections and create, through democratic dialogue, the political conditions to put an end to the present institutional division between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Annapolis commitments and promises should be kept, and not be allowed to join an already long list of unimplemented obligations. Tangible changes on the ground must take place while Permanent status negotiations must progress on the core issues of conflict – borders, settlements, refugees and Jerusalem.

The SI urges the international community to pursue its efforts in regard to the economic development of the West Bank.

The SI assures its Palestinian member party, Fatah, of its support in their current efforts at internal reform and democratisation.

The Socialist International expresses its support for the negotiations between Israel and Syria, which are being mediated by Turkey. A peace agreement between Israel and Syria could be reached only if it will be based on the commitment of both sides to avoid all use of violence, whether direct or indirect, against each other, and on the end of Israeli occupation.

The SI calls upon Israel and Lebanon to begin negotiations aimed at reaching a peace treaty between them.

The SI calls for negotiating the implementation of the Arab League Initiative of 2002 as a historical milestone, and calls upon all members of the Arab League and Israel to realise its potential by normalising relations between them following the conclusion of peace agreements between Israel and Palestine, and between Israel and Syria.

The SI calls for the convening of international conferences on the basis of international law to accompany the political negotiations in the Middle East. These conferences should focus on the financing of the peace agreements; on the mandate and structure of the multinational forces that could be deployed as peace observers with the completion of such agreements and on the various options available in the search for a fair, realistic and agreed upon solution to the refugee problem.

The SI views a comprehensive agreement in the Middle East as an enormous opportunity for international support and investment aimed at improving regional infrastructure and minimising existing social gaps throughout the Middle East.

Other activities

If you are looking for an earlier meeting, please consult the LIBRARY section.