Resolution on the Middle East

CASABLANCA COUNCIL - Peace, Security, Development, 31 May-1 June 2002

The Socialist International hereby announces that its member parties - the Israeli Labour Party, Meretz and Fatah - agree that the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, as two states to live side by side, should be the initial commitment before negotiations start between the two peoples.

The main elements of a final settlement have long been clear to most involved parties: implementation of Security Council resolution 242; establishment of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel under irreversible security guarantees for both sides; borders ensuring that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are part of the Palestinian state, but opening the possibility of negotiated land swaps; both states to have their capital in Jerusalem, and a just solution to the refugee issue.

The Socialist International and its above-mentioned member parties stress that negotiations have to be opened immediately and handle all outstanding issues. A cease-fire cannot be a condition to the start of negotiations. Extremists cannot be given the upper hand. The above parties renounce violence and will refrain from participating in any violent activity that harms civilian lives. Firm measures must be taken against such acts. We ask the parties to pay particular attention to the protection of the civilian population.

The Israeli Labour Party, Meretz and Fatah will immediately engage in confidence-building activities together, with the help and support of the Socialist International and member parties. Joint groups will be established to discuss and prepare specific issues that will come up within the framework of final status negotiations.

The Socialist International will work with the aim of encouraging the United States, Russia and the European Union to find a common stand on final status issues. This stand must be consistent with international legality, and enjoy the support of the UN Security Council. It must also allow concerned Arab states to adhere to it. Particularly, it must take into consideration the parameters included in the recent Saudi initiative.

This basic common position should be elaborated before an international peace conference with the participation of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, relevant Arab countries, the US, EU, Russia and the UN.

The parties to the conflict should be invited to the Conference on the basis of basic principles: land for peace, 242, and an agreement on the establishment of two states and security for both. The Conference should set a timetable for final status negotiations.

The Socialist International also encourages our member parties who are parties in the conflict to prepare their respective public opinions for a compromise. Israel may not have peace and at the same time keep settlements, while Palestinians may have to accept an internationally supported compromise on the refugee issue.

The Socialist International supports the idea of building an international Fund for the Palestinian refugees, which the UN could administer once a permanent political settlement has been achieved on this issue. The Fund should ensure compensation for the losses and the suffering of the refugees, and provide them with the opportunity to start a new life on the basis of the conclusion of a final peace agreement. The better we can show that solutions are within reach, the more likely people will start working for a political settlement rather than a military one.

Urgent recovery and reconstruction programmes for the Palestinian Authority are needed, including the recovery of taxes, customs and other fees still withheld. Development and security are dependent upon developing democratic institutions and establishing a centralised security authority.

The Socialist International insists on the need for international guarantees, international monitoring of implementation of any agreements, international political follow up of negotiations, and the presence on the ground of a multinational peace-keeping force patrolling borders.