The United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the Middle East peace process today released the first report of its kind, which analysed the impediments to a lasting resolution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict and offered recommendations on the way forward, urging Israel to stop its settlement policy and Palestine to end incitement to violence.
The so-called Middle East Quartet – comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union – has been working on the report since February.
In it, they call on each side to “independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution” and to “refrain from unilateral steps that prejudice the outcome of the final negotiations.”
In summary, the Quartet reiterated that a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues.
The report provides recommendations to what it has identified as the major threats to achieving a negotiated peace: continued violence, terrorist attacks against civilians and incitement to violence; settlement construction and expansion; and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control in Gaza.
In a statement, the Quartet Principals invite the Israeli and Palestinian Governments to engage with it on implementing its recommendations and creating conditions to resume “meaningful negotiations that resolve all final status issues.”
Following the release of the report, the UN Secretary-General encouraged the parties to engage with the Quartet to implement the findings “to rebuild hope among Palestinians and Israelis in a political solution and to create the conditions to return to meaningful negotiations.”
He underscored that there is a strong need for affirmative steps to reverse negative trends on the ground which risk entrenching a one-State reality of “perpetual occupation and conflict” which is incompatible with the national aspirations of both peoples.
Diplomatic Quartet’s recommendations
- Both sides should work to de-escalate tensions by exercising restraint and refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric.
- The Palestinian Authority should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism.
- Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development.
- Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements. Progress in the areas of housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture, and natural resources, along with significantly easing Palestinian movement restrictions, can be made while respecting Israel's legitimate security needs.
- The Palestinian leadership should continue their efforts to strengthen institutions, improve governance, and develop a sustainable economy. Israel should take all necessary steps to enable this process, in line with the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee recommendations.
- All sides must continue to respect the ceasefire in Gaza, and the illicit arms buildup and militant activities must be terminated.
In addition to these recommendations, the Quartet encouraged the international community to accelerate its efforts to address the “dire” humanitarian, reconstruction and recovery needs of the people in Gaza, including expediting the disbursement of assistance pledges.
The Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed the UN Security Council on the report yesterday. He said it is now time for both the Israelis and the Palestinians to rise to the challenge.