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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly
26 April 2001

      Resolution 1245 (2001)[1]

      Middle East conflict 

1. The Assembly is deeply concerned by the collapse of the Camp David Summit in July 2000, which was meant to reach a final status agreement. It deplores the politically irresponsible and provocative acts which sparked an upsurge of violence and hampered efforts to restart negotiations. 

2. It reiterates its conviction that the resumption of the negotiations represents the only chance of reaching a lasting political settlement in the Middle East. The opportunity to work towards a historic compromise of two sovereign, secure and viable states must be seized before the escalation of events undermines it. 

3. The Assembly calls on the two parties to pursue the security co-operation to pave the way for further negotiations. 

4. Albeit, international mediation efforts can continue to contribute to the political peace process and settlement, but in the end only direct negotiations between the parties could lead to a final agreement. The Assembly therefore calls on political leaders on both sides to show a high degree of responsibility and to put their historic mission above their own political and personal aims. In addition, the Assembly reminds the leaders that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law also facilitates the building of peace. 

5. The Assembly welcomes the withdrawal of Israel from South Lebanon as a positive decision and calls upon Syria to reciprocate by withdrawing its army from Lebanon and condemns Hizbollah for continuing terrorist attacks on northern Israel. 

6. The Assembly condemns all acts of violence. This includes the current wave of Intifada, as well as the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army, the unjustified destruction of property, collective economic punishment against the civilian population and the plans involving a “policy of liquidation” against leading Palestinian officials. 

7. Palestinian leaders must show their determination to follow a policy of peaceful coexistence with Israel and to respect its insistence on “security”, which is determined by past sufferings and several wars with its neighbours. The Palestinian Authority must do its utmost to establish and maintain the rule of law in the territories under its control and not encourage anti-Israeli propaganda in the media and in schools. 

8. The Assembly is convinced that the peace process is closely linked to the gradual democratisation of Palestinian society and its institutions. The Basic Law (Palestinian Constitution) under examination and the recent development of civil society organisations are encouraging signs. The Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law) in a recent report (March 2001) made a positive appraisal of the evolution of the institutional framework of the Palestinian Authority, although the effective protection of human rights leaves room for improvement. 

9. However, full democracy implies full sovereignty, which could only be achieved in the final phase of statehood. Moreover, at present the Palestinian territory is scattered and disrupted by the presence of settlements, roads and roadblocks that prevent territorial continuity. The Palestinian Legislative Council is more often than not hindered from attending the sessions. These circumstances are not conducive to a speedy development of parliamentary democracy. 

10. Both Israel and Palestine, in particular, would benefit from greater involvement in international organisations.  

11. If and when the peace process starts again, the negotiators will be facing the same three main areas of dispute: the status of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites, the Jewish settlements and the refugee problem. The Assembly firmly believes that unless the parties move beyond the outdated declarative rhetoric and inflexible traditional positions, no progress can be achieved. 

12. As for the settlements, it has been repeatedly acknowledged in United Nations resolutions, as well as in other international documents that they are illegal under the terms of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 (Article 49), that their ongoing expansion has damaging effects on confidence building and future relations between the two sides. It is not consistent with a genuine two-state solution, with continuous and defendable borders, nor with the principle of “land for peace” that was the starting point of the Oslo process. And yet, the outgoing Israeli Government voted a budget of US$300 million for the further development of settlements in 2001. 

13. The Assembly is of the opinion that member countries of the Council of Europe could and should play a political role in the peace process. This role should not be limited to activities such as financial aid. Though European countries and institutions and the United States may have different approaches to the peace process, they have similar interests and burden sharing is inevitable in the long run. Europe in general, because of its historical and cultural ties with the Middle East, has a better understanding of regional dynamics and sensitivities. Europe has a long experience in complex, multilateral institution-building and it must therefore complement the major role played by the United States in peace-making by taking a leading role in peace-building. 

14. The Assembly therefore, in the light of these considerations and recalling its previous texts, namely Resolution 1013 (1993), Recommendation 1221 (1993), Resolution 1103 (1996), Resolution 1156 (1998) and Resolution 1183 (1999), 


[1] Assembly debate on 26 April 2001 (15th Sitting) (see Doc. 9032, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Taylor, Doc. 9060, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Lintner, and Doc. 9054, opinion of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Pavlidis).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 26 April 2001 (15th Sitting).

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