Meeting of the Socialist International Middle East Committee, SIMEC, Ramallah and Tel Aviv

14-15 May 1997

At a time of deep concern for the peace process in the Middle East, the SI Middle East Committee, SIMEC, met in the territories under Palestinian Authority and in Israel to review the current situation in the region and the latest developments in the peace process. On 14 May the Committee, chaired for the first time by its new Chair, Bjørn Tore Godal, Labour Foreign Minister of Norway, convened in Ramallah for a session hosted by Fatah at the seat of the Palestinian Legislature, where Yasser Arafat, Leader of Fatah and President of the Palestinian Authority, addressed the participants. On the following day the meeting reconvened in Tel Aviv, hosted by the Israel Labour Party and Mapam/Meretz. Shimon Peres, who also attended a dinner organised for the Committee by Fatah the previous night in Ramallah, spoke to the delegates there. In a resolution, the Commmittee expressed its deep regret about the current stalemate and called for every effort to be made to revitalise the peace process and for the Oslo Accords to be respected and fully implemented by both parties. It condemned the settlement policies of the present Israeli government, in particular the construction at Har Homa, and called for a serious and constructive beginning to permanent-status negotiations on the basis of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, for the resumption of security cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, for confidence-building measures, and for the resumption of Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese negotiations. Recalling the International's longstanding commitment to and historic role in bringing together the parties in the peace process, the Committee renewed its firm intention to continue working for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.