15 April 2004
The recent proposals by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with the backing of US President George W. Bush, in regard to an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza constitute, if implemented, a step in the direction our organisation has always supported and worked for.
The fact that the Israeli Prime Minister’s initiative does not include a similar approach to the West Bank, as it contemplates maintaining there large numbers of settlements, is a worrying development which runs against the objectives and goals of every peace initiative to date for the region - including the roadmap - which in our view will further aggravate the situation and postpone a solution.
The Socialist International regards the withdrawal by Israel from the West Bank and Gaza and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel as a key objective for a definitive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Furthermore, we remain convinced that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians will provide the basis for a lasting peace. No unilateral or one-sided initiative can replace a negotiated settlement between the leaders of the two people.
Today more than ever in our view the international community needs to urgently redouble efforts in the search for a solution to this ongoing human tragedy affecting both the Palestinians and the Israelis.