Urgent Appeal for Peace in the Middle East

2 April 2002

The Socialist International, which has been deeply involved and steadfast in the search for peace in the Middle East for decades, was holding meetings for that purpose only two weeks ago in Ramallah and in Tel Aviv, with the participation of the leaders of its three members parties in the region, President Yasser Arafat, leader of Fatah; Israeli Minister of Defence, Benjamin Ben Eliezer, leader of the Israel Labour Party; and leader of the Israeli opposition, Yossi Sarid, Chair of Meretz.

The Socialist International believes that today the situation has become untenable, and that there is no alternative but for all sides to bring an immediate end to what has become the worst outbreak of violence in the region for many years. The Socialist International therefore:

• Repeats its condemnation of all acts of violence committed by either side, violence which is terrorising and taking its greatest toll on civilians;

• Reiterates its deeply held conviction, based on the work and experience of the International throughout the world, that only a political and not a military solution is viable, and that a complete and sustained ceasefire and a simultaneous entering into negotiations by both sides, to restore a fundamental political dynamic for peace, are absolutely necessary;

• Underlines the utmost priority of dialogue and negotiations with the aim of achieving both peace and security, neither of which can exist without the other;

• Considers the normal functioning of the Palestinian Authority to be essential and calls for an end to the threats against it and for the full respect for the personal integrity of its president, Yasser Arafat, and for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli Defence Forces from the occupied Palestinian cities;

• Calls on the Israel Labour Party to ensure that the actions of the Israeli government, of which they are today part, are consistent with the values of the Socialist International, and also calls upon the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah, to act decisively for an end to the suicide bombings and other terrorist acts in conformity with the principles of the International;

• Restates its profound belief that the future of the two peoples can be based only on their peaceful coexistence, side by side, which makes it imperative for them both to take every step to end the conflict now, before more Israeli and Palestinian lives are needlessly lost.