The diplomatic Quartet made up of the United Nations, United States, Russian Federation and European Union today welcomed the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council elections as a positive step toward consolidation of Palestinian democracy and the goal of a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict.
In a statement the Quartet called on the Palestinian Authority and the Central Elections Commission to ensure a free, fair, and open process in accordance with Palestinian law.
Noting the continued importance of security, the Quartet called on the Palestinian Authority to ensure law and order, prevent terrorist attacks and dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism. The Palestinian Authority was also called on to assure the security of polling stations and electoral personnel while enforcing laws like those banning the public display of weapons.
The Quartet repeated its earlier assertions that “those who want to be part of the political process should not engage in armed group or militia activities, for there is a fundamental contradiction between such activities and the building of a democratic State.” It called on all participants to renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and disarm.
The Quartet said it was “encouraged” by the negotiation of a Code of Conduct governing participation in the election scheduled for next month and called for full adherence to it. The Palestinian Authority’s invitation to international election observers was also welcomed.
The Palestinian Authority “should take additional steps to ensure the democratic process remains untainted by violence, by prohibiting political parties from pursuing their aims through violent means, and by moving expeditiously to codify this as Palestinian law,” the four diplomatic members said.
A future Palestinian Authority Cabinet “should include no member who has not committed to the principles of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism.”
Calling for an immediate and direct dialogue between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to coordinate preparations for the elections, the Quartet pointed out that proactive measures are essential to the movement of voters, elections committee staff and materials, and international observers throughout the election process.
“Both parties should work to put in place a mechanism to allow Palestinians resident in Jerusalem to exercise their legitimate democratic rights, in conformity with existing precedent,” the Quartet said.