In line with the longstanding commitment of the Socialist International to peace in the Middle East and its decision to reinforce efforts in support of the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine to live side by side as two sovereign states, the Socialist International held a two-day meeting with a session in Ramallah on 30 July and a session in Tel Aviv on the 31st.
At this crucial time for the people of the region, in a challenging global and regional context, and responding to the need to exchange views, set priorities and define a common path in favour of peace, democracy and opportunities for all in the region, the meeting brought together representatives from SI member parties in Israel and Palestine along with leaders and representatives of a number of SI member parties from other countries.
At the opening of the meeting in Ramallah, on behalf of the Palestinian hosts, Fatah’s Commissioner General for International Relations, Rawhi Fattouh, conveyed the fraternal greetings of the Palestinian member parties and thanks to the SI for this initiative and to all participants for their presence.
The SI Secretary General Luis Ayala, who chaired the meeting, outlined the longstanding commitment and role of the Socialist International in efforts to secure a peaceful and just outcome to the conflict, always with the objective of attaining a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, for the benefit of both peoples. The question of Palestine was a global issue, not only a regional one, he said, and our mission was to build on what the International had been able to contribute in line with our principles and values in order to achieve a just and stable peace and the implementation of and respect for international norms and agreements.
During the opening session, the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, welcomed the participants and addressed the current situation between Israel and Palestine, pointing out that Benjamin Netanyahu was not a true partner for peace. The Palestinian leader was also critical of the treatment of the Trump government towards the Palestinian people, including his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the withdrawal of financial resources such as to the UNRWA. He called on the SI to support the Palestinians in their efforts to recover their occupied territories and to support the initiative of President Abbas for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East.
The discussions in Ramallah, which counted with both of the SI Vice-Presidents from the region, Nabil Shaath from Palestine and Colette Avital from Israel among the participants, included diverse and extensive contributions, centring on the current regional reality and ways to promote and advance the two-state solution, providing elements that were included in a final statement of the meeting agreed by consensus by both the Palestinian and Israeli members together with all delegates to the meeting.
Following the first day’s session, His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas received participants at the venue of the Presidency.
The second day’s session opened in Tel Aviv with the participation of the newly elected leader of Meretz, Nitzan Horowitz, who also heads the recently formed Democratic Union which brings together other sectors and personalities of the left in Israel for contesting the forthcoming elections in September. The leader and head of the list of this new formation briefed the meeting on the creation of this new alliance of the left, on the current political scene, and the challenges ahead for his party and for the left in Israel.
Much of the discussions in Tel Aviv focussed on the situation in Israel ahead of the forthcoming elections, on the perspectives for a two-state solution that would bring peace, and on alternative ways of including civil society and others in these endeavours. On this occasion, for the first time, an Arab Israeli organisation, the Arab Movement for Change, was formally invited to join the debates.
Participants agreed on the importance of increasing international recognition of the State of Palestine and the need to encourage SI member parties worldwide, and particularly those in government who have not already done so, to take the decision to move forward with this recognition. In this regard, it was also agreed that a date would be determined by the organisation for SI members to move jointly internationally on this question in their respective countries and national parliaments.
The content of the exchanges over the two days in Ramallah and Tel Aviv brought forward and highlighted elements for a common position which is reflected in a statement discussed and approved by consensus in both cities.
The two-state solution, Israel and Palestine,
for peace and a future of opportunities for the people of the Middle East
Ramallah 30 July – Tel Aviv 31 July, 2019
The Socialist International held a meeting in Ramallah, Palestine, on 30 July and in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 31 July 2019 to discuss the theme of the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, for peace and a future of opportunities for the people of the Middle East.
After more than 27 years of failing to achieve peace through the bilateral peace process, SI believes that the time has come for the international community to collectively meet its responsibility under international law to bring an end to the occupation of the Palestinian State and all impediments to the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination.
Regretfully, this fundamental foundation for any future peace agreement in the region has been openly opposed and sabotaged by the US Administration under President Donald Trump, in a manner that creates an alliance between the Trump Administration and extremists within Israel, including settlers, that work actively against the inalienable Palestinian right to self-determination. The meetings in Ramallah and Tel Aviv were held with the goal of analyzing the implications of such absence and what course of action the international community needs to take in order to safeguard the implementation of the long overdue inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the two-state solution, which is in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians and of regional and world peace.
With reference to the Councils held in Geneva 26-27 June 2018 and Santo Domingo 28-29 January 2019, the meeting reiterates its commitment to the following:
- Reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine on the 4th of June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and calls on all States for immediate and unconditional recognition of the State of Palestine. The SI reaffirms its commitment, in accordance with international law, to bringing a complete end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian state that started in 1967 in order to achieve the two-state solution, as two sovereign and democratic states for all their citizens and a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees according to the UN resolution 194 stipulated by the Arab peace initiative.
- Reaffirms the relevant resolutions concerning the Palestinian Israeli conflict including resolutions 181(1947), 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 67/19 (2012), 2334 (2016) and 1850 (2008).
- The SI stands against the US Administration’s positions against Just peace. The SI condemns moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of the illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, both of which violated International law and the traditional policy of the previous American administrations and encouraged the extreme agenda of the Israeli Government. All these steps are dangerous precedents for the international community as a whole, as the US Government is trying to legitimize the acquisition of land through the use of force, a grave violation of international law.
- The SI considers the US Administration’s so called “deal of the century” for Israel and Palestine as an intention to legitimize the unlawful Israeli acts in the occupied Palestinian and Arab Territories, to formulate a deal that violates the most basic requirements for a just and sustainable solution, and ignores international law and human rights standards. It also contradicts the global consensus on peace, and destroys the legitimate rights of the Palestinian refugees and any ability of a two-state solution in which Palestinians will have their sovereign state as part of a peace accord.
- The SI rejects any efforts that try to substitute real and just peace with "illusion of economic prosperity” which sustains occupation of the Palestinian State and the racial discriminatory policies against the Palestinian people. Such efforts and events like Manama Workshop deny the Palestinians’ inalienable right to self-determination and sovereignty, and undermines international legitimacy and the real requirements of peace and true economic development.
- The SI strongly condemns the latest illegal measures taken by the Israeli Authorities against the land and the people of Palestine, including the recent demolition of dozens of houses in the village of Sur Baher near East Jerusalem.
- Stands against all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, the building of the separation wall, the transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.
- Encourages the non-violent approach at all levels and by all parties and demands the immediate cessation of all forms of violence by the Israeli occupying power and settlers against the Palestinian non-violent resistance.
- Calls upon the international community, and particularly those governments and parliaments with representation of SI parties, to take concrete measures against Israeli settlements, including banning Israeli settlement products, issuing guidelines to prevent foreign support of Israeli settlements and making a comprehensive review of all agreements with Israel in order not to allow Israeli settlements to benefit from those agreements. Such actions should move in the direction of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which calls for a differentiation between Israel and the occupied territory, preventing Israeli settlers from enjoying the benefits of other Israeli citizens from international agreements. Settlements remain the main obstacle to fulfilling the Palestinian right to self-determination.
- Stands against any resolution that criminalizes freedom of expression and actions, including equating anti-occupation campaigns with anti-Semitism, instead SI calls upon all countries to take actions to hold Israel accountable for its well documented violations of International Law and the systematic denial of the Palestinians rights.
- Demands the immediate release of all Palestinian prisoners especially the elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, minors and administrative detainees. SI calls for the release of Fatah leaders Marwan Barghouti, Karim Younesm, Fuad al Shobaky as well as the leader of the PFLP Ahmad Saadat and other political leaders.
- Since the SI’s last statement the number of Palestinian civilians attacked by Israeli Occupation Forces has risen sharply with the killing of over 200 unarmed Palestinians and injuring of over 9,000 including children, journalists, first-aid paramedics, women and men. The SI strongly condemns the illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel, as well as the use of fire arms against innocent civilians on both sides, and calls on the Israeli Government to immediately lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and allow the free movement of the people. The SI affirms its support to the United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/ES-10/L.23) that calls for “guaranteeing the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the West Bank and Gaza Strip”.
- The SI welcomes president Mahmoud Abbas’ initiative presented at the UN Security Council on 20 February 2018, in which he calls for a multilateral peace conference for the Middle East Peace Process based on International law and relevant UN resolutions and signed agreements between the parties involved, with the aim of devising mechanisms for implementing the relevant resolutions of all aspects of the conflict.
- The SI calls on the United Nations to take concrete steps to protect the civilian population of Palestine and their property affected by grave violation of international humanitarian law and the IV Geneva Convention whether by the Israeli government or the Israeli settlers. It also calls on the UN Secretary General and the UN human Rights commissioner Ms. Michelle Bachelet to release the data base of all companies that benefit from their connection with the Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory in accordance with UN Human Rights Council resolution 36/31 of March 2016. The SI regrets the US decision to withdraw from the Human Rights Council, as it did previously from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and UNESCO.
- The SI expresses its solidarity with the Palestinian citizens in Israel, who continue to live under a system of discrimination. It also strongly condemns the approval of anti-Arab laws that have racist nature, notably the Nation State Law. The SI meeting calls upon the State of Israel to abolish this and other discriminatory laws in order to ensure full equality to all Israeli citizens regardless of their race, color or religion. The SI reiterates its solidarity with the progressive forces in Israel and Palestine, including human rights defenders and civil society organizations including Btselem, Al Haq and Human Rights Watch that have been victims of a vicious campaign by the Israeli government.