Resolution - Democracy and peace in the Middle East

TEL AVIV AND RAMALLAH - For a Middle East in peace, 23-24 May 2005

• The Socialist International, which has long been involved in the efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East, is encouraged by recent developments that give renewed hope that the people of the region can build a peaceful and democratic future. The International remains committed to supporting in every way possible their efforts to achieve peace, ensure respect for human rights, provide economic opportunities for all citizens and strengthen democratic governance based on social democratic values.

• The time has now come to open new perspectives for a Middle East built on peace, democracy and cooperation. This is the best way to halt terrorism. The international community must unite in taking a clear stand against all terrorist activity, violence against innocent people, occupation and oppression.

• The Socialist International supports all the forces in the region that work for democracy, protection of human rights and an end to occupation. It calls on its members and the international community to actively support democratic movements and efforts toward democratic reform in the region on the basis of open civil societies. It is of special importance to protect ethnic minorities in the region and to enhance and guarantee women’s rights. We also urge all countries to abolish capital punishment.

• Incentives for peace must be established. We call upon all regions in the world to increase cooperation with the Middle East and are pleased to see that the first summit of South American and Arab countries was held earlier this month.

• In view of the new windows of opportunity following the withdrawal from Gaza and some parts of the northern West Bank, the European Union should play a special role. After the expansion of the EU, bilateral action plans have been offered to Lebanon and Palestine. These action plans must be strengthened and used to improve regional cooperation based on the 1995 Barcelona process. By promoting regional cooperation we believe that peace and prosperity can be guaranteed in the long term. Future cooperation should be enhanced through open markets and borders for trade, capital and labour.

• With the support of European countries and the United States, the countries in the region should consider entering into an agreement for security and cooperation on the model of the OSCE. Through the OSCE, European countries have committed themselves to common values. The organisation has been instrumental in the efforts to win over the divisions between East and West in building the new Europe. The Middle East also needs a common set of values and an agreement that ensures that all people, groups and countries have the right to live in security.

• The Socialist International welcomes Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and some settlements of the West Bank. It must, however, be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority as a part of the Roadmap and followed by negotiations on final status issues. Negotiations must be based on international law, and UN resolutions, and the goal must be the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. We encourage initiatives such as the Peace Coalition Geneva draft, which helped clarify positions and offered opportunities for peace, as envisaged in the third part of the Roadmap.

• The Socialist International underlines the successful steps in the Palestinian electoral process. The SI extends its support to the further strengthening of the reform process in Palestine and supports the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to stop all forms of violence, disarming militia groups, and to include all political parties in the political process, leading to a strengthening of multi-party democracy. The SI calls on the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to include women in the negotiating teams, and to work to protect the rights of women and children during and after conflicts. Young women and men in particular should have a strong role in shaping the future.

• We urge the Israeli government to refrain from activities that would undermine a peaceful outcome. All settlement activities and the building of the wall on Palestinian territory must stop.

• The Socialist International calls upon its member parties and calls upon the international community to extend financial support to the Palestinian Authority and foster concrete cooperation projects that could lead to economic and social development.

• The Socialist International emphasizes the need for building a democratic Iraq that can lead to the restoration of full sovereignty of the Iraqi people. We ask for a stronger role by the UN in the democratising process. We call on all countries to support a democratic Iraq. The future Iraqi constitution must give all peoples in the country equal rights. The rights and the role of women are of special concern. The Kurdish population must have the possibility to exercise their rights within the framework of a united and federal Iraq.

• The Socialist International calls for a solution to the controversy over Iran’s nuclear programme. The international community, and especially the United States and the European Union, must harmonise its policies. The Socialist International supports the efforts of democratic forces in the country and denounces the repression against the Kurdish population, calls for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Iran.

• The Socialist International welcomes the holding of free, fair and democratic elections in Lebanon, following the large demonstrations by the Lebanese people to assert their sovereignty, independence and democracy, leading to the renewal of the political institutions of the Republic.

• The Socialist International hopes for a decisive reform and democratisation of political life in Syria and calls for the resumption of peace negotiations between Syria and Israel.