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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 December 2003






DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO THE MIDDLE EAST
PEACE PROCESS


Issue 18 Ÿ January-December 2003



Statement by the British Foreign Secretary on the outcome of the London conference on Palestinian reform
London, 14 January 2003
·
Summary of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting on Assistance for Palestinians
London, 19 – 20 January 2003
·
Statement issued by the Quartet Task Force on Palestinian Reform
London, 20 February 2003
·
Communiqué issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council-European Union 13th Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting
Doha, 3 March 2003
·
Timetable for presentation of Road Map for peace outlined by US President Bush
Washington, 14 March 2003
·
EU Presidency welcomes formation of the Palestinian Government, calls for promulgation of Road Map
Brussels, 29 April 2003
·
Quartet presents the Road Map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
30 April 2003
·
EU Presidency welcomes the Quartet’s Road Map
Brussels, 30 April 2003
·
Israel's response to the Road Map
25 May 2003
·
Excerpts of the statement by PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas following the Aqaba Summit
Jordan, 4 June 2003
·
Excerpts of the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon following the Aqaba Summit
Jordan, 4 June 2003
·
Excerpts of EU-General Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process
18 June 2003
·
Quartet issues statement
Dead Sea, 22 June 2003
·
Recommendation by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Palestinian refugees
25 June 2003
·
Inter-Parliamentary Union welcomes establishment of a working group of Israeli and Palestinian parliamentarians
Geneva, 17 July 2003
·
Geneva Accord launched by prominent Israeli and Palestinian public figures
Geneva, 12 October 2003
·
Excerpts of EU Presidency conclusions on the Middle East
Brussels, 16-17 October 2003
·
Excerpts of the Conclusions of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of
Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the Middle East
Naples, 2-3 December 2003
·
Statement by the Quartet Task Force on Palestinian Reform
Rome, 11 December 2003






UNITED NATIONS
New York, December 2003




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This bulletin and its back issues can be found in the
United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) at:


www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/


*


Printed copies of this publication, and back issues, can be obtained from:

United Nations Secretariat
Division for Palestinian Rights
Room S-3350
New York, New York 10017
Fax: 212-963-4199


Statement by the British Foreign Secretary on the outcome of the London conference on Palestinian reform
London, 14 January 2003


The following is my summary and understanding of the proceedings and outcomes today.

The participants joined the Palestinians in expressing support for a just and comprehensive peace including a final settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, as presented in President Bush's 24 June speech and resulting in the emergence of an independent, sovereign, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours. This would resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, through a negotiated settlement between the parties, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - for the acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security. The Palestinians strongly argued that continuing settlement activity by Israel threatened the viability of the two-State solution.

PROGRESS

On security

There was clear recognition that without credible Palestinian performance on security, the reform agenda will founder. Participants in London welcomed a clear and unequivocal Palestinian declaration against violence and terrorism. There was widespread recognition of the importance of practical action to begin implementing this, including through visible efforts to arrest and disrupt individuals and groups planning and conducting attacks on Israelis anywhere; moves to dismantle the infrastructure that supports terrorism, and further efforts to end incitement. Participants welcomed the continuation of talks in Cairo between Palestinian factions and looked forward to their successful conclusion in agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire. They agreed that security reform was a vital element of the reform programme, on which much else depends. They applauded US/Egyptian/Jordanian commitments to help rebuild Palestinian security institutions, in order to deliver the security which a new Palestinian State will have to offer to its own citizens and its neighbours. The UK stands ready to add our own help and support.


On elections

The Palestinians expressed their unequivocal commitment to developing a realistic timetable for free, fair and open elections. Recognizing that the Palestinians have recently constituted a credible and independent election commission, conference participants urged the Palestinians to ensure a thorough and public review of the electoral framework, to be debated fully and adopted by the Palestinian Legislative Council. Participants noted that the international community had committed significant assistance - both financial and political - to ensure that these elections were credible and fair.

On constitutional reform

The Palestinians made a commitment to draw up by the end of January an outline constitution based on the principles of democracy, political pluralism, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and the protection of individual freedoms. They emphasized that the constitution would provide for a Prime Minister having specified powers and a bill of rights. They outlined the process of consultation, including a referendum, which would take place before finalization. Participants welcomed this step forward, emphasizing the need for real political transformation; the development of credible institutions for an independent Palestinian state; an empowered Prime Minister; and the transfer of real power to reformed institutions. They committed themselves to supporting the Palestinians’ ongoing work, including through support to the consultation process.

On economic reform

Participants recognized the exceptional work done by both the Finance Minister, Salam Fayyad, and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, Maher al-Masri, in bringing financial accountability and economic reform to the Palestinian Authority. Participants undertook to continue assistance to help implement the FY 2003 budget, consolidate all public finances, ensure the Ministry of Finance’s oversight of all public expenditure and strengthen audit capacity. Participants recognized the progress made toward a resumption of regular transfers of Palestinian revenues and clearance of all arrears this year, and the Palestinians’ commitment to continued work with the Israeli Government and the US on mechanisms to increase transparency and strengthen the PA's internal audit capabilities. They agreed that the transfer of these revenues was critical to international efforts to ease the dire humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza.

On judicial reform

Participants expressed concern at the lack of progress on judicial reform compared with other reform portfolios. It is the area where the credibility of the Palestinian leadership is weakest. They emphasized the need for a strong and independent judiciary, and sought Palestinian commitment to accelerated work. Palestinians committed to establish a new Supreme Judicial Council by the end of June so as to bring it in line with Palestinian law, to ensure that all judicial appointments are consistent with Palestinian law, and to abolish the State Security Courts within one year.

On administrative reform

Palestinians undertook to present a draft Cabinet paper on the reform of public administration and the civil service within two weeks.

On follow-up

Participants agreed on the centrality of the roadmap and the work of the Quartet to implement it. They welcomed the Palestinians’ commitment to implementing the roadmap, upon its final adoption and presentation, as the path to an independent and viable Palestinian state. Participants recognized that Israel must also take steps to ensure that the Palestinian reform process succeeds, and avoid actions that undermine hope in a political settlement to the conflict. In this context, the Palestinians stated their assessment that the success of their future reform efforts would depend on an end to current restrictions on movement, including closures and curfews. Participants committed to help build the Palestinian capacity to prepare the necessary institutions of a democratic state able to govern effectively and live at peace with its neighbours. Continuing terror attacks underscore the fragile nature of all these efforts, and demonstrate the need for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate badly in the West Bank and Gaza, and the international community will continue working closely with Israel to ensure that every possible step is taken, consistent with legitimate security concerns, to ease these conditions.

In conclusion

Participants agreed that reform was important both intrinsically and as a means to the end of Palestinian statehood. They urged the Palestinians to enhance their reform effort by designating and resourcing an empowered focal point for reform efforts. They agreed to feed the conclusions of the London meeting into the Quartet through a meeting in London in early February of the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform, along with a meeting of Quartet envoys.



Summary of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting on Assistance for Palestinians
London, 19 – 20 January 2003


Summary
February 19, 2003: Assistance for Palestinians meeting underway at Greek EU Presidency initiative (London)

A two-day working meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on the Assistance for the Palestinians began in London on

Tuesday at the initiative of the Greek EU Presidency and the Norwegian Government.

The Greek EU Presidency is represented by Overseas Hellenism Secretary General Dimitris Dollis, who, in opening the sessions, stressed that the promotion of the peace process in the Middle East is one of the Greek EU Presidency's main priorities.

Dollis said that the inhabitants of the Palestinian territories not only need financial aid, but also need to be given a political vision, a political prospect for the building of a modern, independent and viable state by 2006.

He hailed the decision of the president of the Palestinian Authority to appoint a prime minister in the Palestinian territories and to start the procedures for the creation of a constitution in the Palestinian territories.

The representatives of the Quartet for the Peace Process in the Middle East (EU, UN, USA, Russia) are due to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Wednesday afternoon.



Statement issued by the Task Force on Palestinian Reform
London, 20 February 2003,


The Task Force on Palestinian Reform, composed of representatives of the Quartet (United States, EU, Russia and the United Nations Secretary General), Norway, Japan, Canada, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, met in London on February 19-20, 2003, to review the status of Palestinian civil reform efforts. The Task Force also reviewed these efforts with Israeli and Palestinian representatives. The Task Force considers this work critical to building the foundations of a viable, independent, and democratic Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

The Task Force recognized that the continued terror and violence, continued restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, deterioration of the humanitarian situation, and destruction of local infrastructure and facilities constitute a significant hindrance to reforms. Despite the difficult security situation, however, the Task Force welcomed the clear and considerable progress made in several areas of Palestinian civil reform. In particular, the Task Force commended the implementation of significantly higher standards of fiscal transparency and accountability, as well as work toward development of the public institutions and laws needed to promote a market economy. The Task Force welcomed the Palestinians’ decision to appoint a prime minister, and underscored the importance that this position be credible and fully empowered. The Task Force commended the commitment displayed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministerial Reform Committee, and the establishment of a Reform Coordination Support Unit.

The Task Force commended efforts to develop appropriate legislation and to coordinate economic policy with Palestinian business leaders through an organized discussion forum, noting that this could serve as a model for policy interaction between the PA and Palestinian civil society. The Task Force also noted that the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) February 1 approval of the 2003 Palestinian budget was a considerable accomplishment, which reflected the Palestinian public’s confidence in the financial reform agenda. The Task Force looked forward to early implementation of the further reform measures announced by the Finance Minister during his December 31, 2002 speech before the PLC. The Task Force also noted the considerable progress made in Public Administration and Civil Service Reform, welcomed the adoption by the PA of a detailed action plan in this area, and looked forward to its early implementation.

The Task Force observed that progress in some areas of reform has been much slower. In some cases – such as judicial reform – this lack of progress has to a great extent been the result of counterproductive steps taken by the Palestinian leadership. In this regard, the Task Force emphasized the need to comply fully with the recently passed Basic and Judiciary Laws, and called on the PA to take appropriate early actions to bring all its structures and procedures into line with the provisions of those laws.

In other cases, the lack of progress is attributable in considerable part to the difficult security environment and extreme limitations imposed by the Israeli Government on freedom of movement. While acknowledging Israel’s legitimate security concerns, there was consensus in the Task Force that mobility restrictions constitute a major impediment to reform, slowing progress and undermining the credibility of the reform process in many areas. In particular, the inability of the PLC to meet on a regular basis hampers the passage of critical reform legislation and the PLC’s ability to play an effective oversight role. The Task Force urged the Government of Israel to do all it can to facilitate the reform process and minimize the impact of its security measures on the civilian population.

The Task Force welcomed the Israeli Government’s decision to resume monthly transfers of Palestinian tax revenues and to begin clearing the arrearages in accordance with an agreed monitoring mechanism to ensure transparency and financial accountability. The resumption of monthly revenue transfers permitted the Ministry of Finance to submit a fully-financed 2003 budget that allows for the provision of necessary social and emergency services, financial support for Palestinian municipalities, and reductions in PA debt due the private sector and other institutions. It is of paramount importance that revenue transfers and return of arrearages continue on a regular basis. Equally, because tax revenues, including revenues collected by Israel, have declined substantially because of the conflict, it is critical that external budgetary support be sustained.

The Task Force on Palestinian Reform was established in London on July 10, 2002, to monitor and support implementation of Palestinian civil reforms, and guide the international donor community in its support for the Palestinians’ reform agenda. Since its formation, the Task Force has worked with Palestinians to develop in greater detail the Reform Action Plan, which highlights Palestinian commitments, establishes benchmarks, identifies obstacles to reform, and proposes areas for donor assistance. The Task Force has done this by consulting directly with Palestinian executive and legislative officials, with Palestinian civil society, with the Israeli government, and with the donor community.

Day-to-day activities of the Task Force are undertaken through seven Reform Support Groups, composed of donor representatives working in the West Bank and Gaza, in the areas of Civil Society, Elections, Financial Accountability, Judicial and Rule of Law Reform, Market Economics, Local Government, and Public Administration and Civil Service Reform. The Reform Support Groups work with the Palestinian Authority to operationalize the reform plans, monitor implementation, and identify appropriate benchmarks to measure successful implementation of -- and barriers that impede -- reforms.

This meeting, chaired by the United Nations Special Coordinator, was the Task Force’s fourth, having met previously in London on July 10, 2002, Paris on August 22-23, 2002, and in Jordan on November 14-15, 2002.



Communiqué issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council-European Union 13th Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting
Doha, 3 March 2003


Summary

March 3, 2003: Joint Communiqué. GCC-EU 13th Joint Council and Ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar, on 3 March 2003 (Brussels)

1. The thirteenth session of the Joint Council and Ministerial meeting between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was held in Doha, Qatar on 3 March 2003. The GCC delegation was led by H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jaber Al Thani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar and President of the GCC Ministerial Council. The GCC Secretariat was represented by H.E. Abdulrahman Hamad Al Attiyah, Secretary General. The EU delegation was led by Mr. Georgios Papandreou, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece and President of the Council of the European Union. The European Commission was represented by Mr. Fernando Valenzuela, Deputy Director General. The EU Council Secretariat was represented by Deputy Director General, Mr. Anastassios Vikas.

2. The meeting took place in a friendly and constructive atmosphere. In preparation of the meeting, EU and GCC officials had met in Brussels on 28 and 29 January in the Joint Cooperation Committee and for a political dialogue meeting, respectively.

/...

6. Political questions of common interest

The GCC and the EU reviewed a series of international and regional political issues of mutual interest and had an exchange of views on developments in the two regions with a view to supporting and enhancing regional peace, security and stability, which remain key shared foreign policy objectives. The GCC and the EU reiterated their determination to further develop this political dialogue in order to seek common solutions to common problems facing them.

6.1. Regional issues

/...

6.2. The Middle East

The GCC and the EU stressed that peace in the Middle East is an imperative. They called upon the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to break the endless cycle of violence, which brings so much suffering to the civil population on both sides.

The GCC and the EU recognized Israel’s legitimate security concerns and Palestinian legitimate rights to a viable Palestinian state, living peacefully side by side with Israel and its neighbours, all within secure borders, and stressed their support to the Palestinian efforts to take forward the reform process.

Violence and confrontation must give way to negotiations and compromise. The international community, including the parties, shares a common vision of two States, Israel and an independent, viable, sovereign, and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the 1967 borders. The GCC and the EU recalled that the aim of all efforts remains reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East, including Syria and Lebanon, based on the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, the principles of the Madrid Conference, the principle "land for peace", Oslo and subsequent agreements and taking into account the initiative of His Highness Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, endorsed by the Arab League Summit in Beirut in 2002. The GCC and the EU recalled the importance of that initiative.

The GCC and the EU stressed the need to move ahead with the work which has been carried out in the framework of the Middle East Quartet. The roadmap endorsed at the meeting in Washington on 20 December 2002 by all four participants in the Quartet and which sets clear timelines for the establishment of a Palestinian State by 2005 must be implemented.

Both parties will have to meet their obligations. The implementation of the roadmap must be based on parallel progress in the security, political and economic fields and be closely monitored by the Quartet through an appropriate monitoring mechanism.

One of the key elements to success will be Palestinian reform. Conditions on the ground must be normalized so that free, fair and open elections can be held, as proposed in the roadmap. The EU and the GCC welcomed President Arafat's decision to appoint an interim Palestinian Prime Minister. Substantial efforts will have to be made concerning security.

The EU and the GCC therefore very much appreciated the Egyptian efforts regarding this crucial issue. Some progress is being made, e.g. in the area of economic and financial reforms and the work on the new constitution has been carried forward speedily. But clear progress is needed in other areas too.

The GCC and the EU were alarmed at the continuing illegal settlement activities, which threaten to render the two-State solution physically impossible to implement. The expansion of settlements and related construction violates international law, inflames an already volatile situation, and reinforces the fear of Palestinians that Israel is not genuinely committed to ending the occupation. It is an obstacle to peace. The GCC and the EU urged the Government of Israel to reverse its settlement policy in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and as a first step to immediately apply a full and effective freeze on all settlement activities. They called for an end to further land confiscation for the construction of the so-called security fence.

Decisive steps must be taken to reverse the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza, which is making life increasingly intolerable for ordinary Palestinians and fuelling extremism. Humanitarian access and the security of humanitarian personnel and their installations must be guaranteed.

With the aim of supporting the reforms in the Palestinian territories, the EU and the GCC will continue their financial support to the Palestinian Authority with clear objectives and conditions. They call on other international donors to join this engagement also with a view to coherent efforts for reconstruction. Israel for its part must ensure the monthly transfers of Palestinian tax revenues. /...




Timetable for presentation of Road Map for peace outlined by US President Bush
Washington, 14 March 2003

Remarks by the President on the Middle East

The President: Good morning. We have reached a hopeful moment for progress toward the vision of Middle Eastern peace that I outlined last June. I spoke of a day when two states, Israel and Palestine, will live side by side in peace and security. I called upon all parties in the Middle East to abandon old hatreds and to meet their responsibilities for peace. The Palestinian State must be a reformed and peaceful and democratic state that abandons forever the use of terror. The government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, must take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable and credible Palestinian state, and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end. And the Arab states must oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel.

This moment offers a new opportunity to meet these objectives. After its recent elections, the nation of Israel has a new government. And the Palestinian Authority has created the new position of Prime Minister. Israeli and Palestinian leaders and other governments in the region now have a chance to move forward with determination and with good faith.

To be a credible and responsible partner, the new Palestinian Prime Minister must hold a position of real authority. We expect that such a Palestinian Prime Minister will be confirmed soon. Immediately upon confirmation, the road map for peace will be given to the Palestinians and the Israelis. This road map will set forth a sequence of steps toward the goals I set out on June 24th, 2002, goals shared by all the parties. The United States has developed this plan over the last several months in close cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. Once this road map is delivered, we will expect and welcome contributions from Israel and the Palestinians to this document that will advance true peace. We will urge them to discuss the road map with one another. The time has come to move beyond entrenched positions and to take concrete actions to achieve peace.

America is committed, and I am personally committed, to implementing our road map toward peace. Our efforts are guided by clear principles: We believe that all people in the Middle East -- Arab and Israeli alike -- deserve to live in dignity, under free and honest governments. We believe that people who live in freedom are more likely to reject bitterness, blind hatred and terror; and are far more likely to turn their energy toward reconciliation, reform and development.

There can be no peace for either side in the Middle East unless there is freedom for both. Reaching that destination will not be easy, but we can see the way forward. Now the parties must take that way, step by step, and America will be the active partner of every party that seeks true peace.

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



EU Presidency welcomes formation of the Palestinian Government, calls for promulgation of Road Map
Brussels, 29 April 2003

Statement by the Presidency of the European Union on the formation of the Palestinian government and the vote of confidence by the Palestinian Legislative Council:

The Presidency of the European Union warmly welcomes the formal approval of the new Palestinian Government by the Palestinian Legislative Council. We see this approval, as well as the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister, as hopeful signposts along the road towards defusing the conflict and returning to the negotiations table. We also count on this new government for pursuing with greater resolve the necessary policies of reform, especially in the field of law and order.

We also believe that time is ripe for the promulgation of the Quartet's roadmap. It is for the benefit of regional peace and stability that parallel progress be made in all three tracks - security, political and economic. It is evident that such progress will be the most effective instrument against extremism and terrorism.

At this critical juncture for the region, we call upon both parties to refrain from all sorts of acts of aggression, violence and terrorism and take the responsibility of implementing the roadmap. We also call upon them to prepare themselves for painful albeit inevitable compromises in order to reach peace based on a two-State solution. The European Union is ready to help, as it has done all through the Peace Process, both parties to accomplish these most important tasks.


Quartet presents the Road Map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
30 April 2003

The Quartet (United States, Russian Federation, European Union and the United Nations) issued on 30 April 2003 the following statement on the presentation of the Road Map to Israel and the Palestinian Authority:


The members of the Quartet will work with the parties and key regional actors towards the implementation of the Road Map, in accordance with that vision.”


Annex:

A PERFORMANCE-BASED ROAD MAP TO A PERMANENT TWO-STATE SOLUTION TO THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT BY THE QUARTET

(European Union, United States, the Russian Federation and the United Nations)


The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, security, economic, humanitarian, and institution-building fields, under the auspices of the Quartet. The destination is a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005, as presented in President Bush’s speech of 24 June, and welcomed by the EU, Russia and the United Nations in the 16 July and 17 September Quartet Ministerial statements.

A two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian State to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below.

The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations outlined below. Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress.

A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours. The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement.

This initiative is a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

The Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate the parties' performance on implementation of the plan. In each phase, the parties are expected to perform their obligations in parallel, unless otherwise indicated.


PHASE I:

ENDING TERROR AND VIOLENCE, NORMALIZING PALESTINIAN LIFE, AND BUILDING PALESTINIAN INSTITUTIONS PRESENT TO MAY 2003

In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security co-operation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000, and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and co-operation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.

At the outset of Phase I:
Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.

Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-State vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian State living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

SECURITY

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.

Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.

The Government of Israel takes no actions undermining trust, including deportations, attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet Work Plan.

Relying on existing mechanisms and on-the-ground resources, Quartet representatives begin informal monitoring and consult with the parties on establishment of a formal monitoring mechanism and its implementation.

Implementation, as previously agreed, of U.S. rebuilding, training and resumed security co-operation plan in collaboration with outside oversight board (U.S.-Egypt-Jordan). Quartet support for efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive cease-fire.

· All Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered Interior Minister.

· Restructured/retrained Palestinian security forces and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) counterparts progressively resume security co-operation and other undertakings in implementation of the Tenet Work Plan, including regular senior-level meetings, with the participation of U.S. security officials.

Arab States cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.

All donors providing budgetary support for the Palestinians channel these funds through the Palestinian Ministry of Finance's Single Treasury Account.

As comprehensive security performance moves forward, IDF withdraws progressively from areas occupied since September 28, 2000, and the two sides restore the status quo that existed prior to September 28, 2000. Palestinian security forces redeploy to areas vacated by IDF.

PALESTINIAN INSTITUTION-BUILDING

Immediate action on credible process to produce draft constitution for Palestinian statehood. As rapidly as possible, constitutional committee circulates draft Palestinian constitution, based on strong parliamentary democracy and Cabinet with empowered Prime Minister, for public comment/debate. Constitutional committee proposes draft document for submission after elections for approval by appropriate Palestinian institutions.

Appointment of interim prime minister or Cabinet with empowered executive authority/decision-making body.

The Government of Israel fully facilitates travel of Palestinian officials for PLC and Cabinet sessions, internationally supervised security retraining, electoral and other reform activity, and other supportive measures related to the reform efforts.

Continued appointment of Palestinian ministers empowered to undertake fundamental reform. Completion of further steps to achieve genuine separation of powers, including any necessary Palestinian legal reforms for this purpose.

Establishment of independent Palestinian election commission. PLC reviews and revises election law.

Palestinian performance on judicial, administrative, and economic benchmarks, as established by the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform.

As early as possible, and based upon the above measures and in the context of open debate and transparent candidate selection/electoral campaign based on a free, multiparty process, Palestinians hold free, open, and fair elections.

GOI facilitates Task Force election assistance, registration of voters, movement of candidates and voting officials. Support for NGOs involved in the election process.

GOI reopens Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem based on a commitment that these institutions operate strictly in accordance with prior agreements between the parties.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Israel takes measures to improve the humanitarian situation. Israel and Palestinians implement in full all recommendations of the Bertini report to improve humanitarian conditions, lifting curfews and easing restrictions on movement of persons and goods, and allowing full, safe, and unfettered access of international and humanitarian personnel.

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) reviews the humanitarian situation and prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza and launches a major donor assistance effort, including to the reform effort.

GOI and PA continue revenue clearance process and transfer of funds, including arrears, in accordance with agreed, transparent monitoring mechanism.

CIVIL SOCIETY

Continued donor support, including increased funding through private voluntary organization (PVOs)/NGOs, for people- to-people programs, private sector

development and civil society initiatives.

SETTLEMENTS

GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).


PHASE II:

TRANSITION JUNE 2003-DECEMBER 2003

In the second phase, efforts are focused on the option of creating an independent Palestinian State with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty, based on the new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement. As has been noted, this goal can be achieved when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror, willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. With such a leadership, reformed civil institutions and security structures, the Palestinians will have the active support of the Quartet and the broader international community in establishing an independent, viable, state.

Progress into Phase II will be based upon the consensus judgement of the Quartet of whether conditions are appropriate to proceed, taking into account performance of both parties. Furthering and sustaining efforts to normalize Palestinian lives and build Palestinian institutions, Phase II starts after Palestinian elections and ends with possible creation of an independent Palestinian State with provisional borders in 2003. Its primary goals are continued comprehensive security performance and effective security co-operation, continued normalization of Palestinian life and institution-building, further building on and sustaining of the goals outlined in Phase I, ratification of a democratic Palestinian constitution, formal establishment of office of prime minister, consolidation of political reform, and the creation of a Palestinian State with provisional borders.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE:

Convened by the Quartet, in consultation with the parties, immediately after the successful conclusion of Palestinian elections, to support Palestinian economic recovery and launch a process, leading to establishment of an independent Palestinian State with provisional borders.

· Such a meeting would be inclusive, based on the goal of a comprehensive Middle East peace (including between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon), and based on the principles described in the preamble to this document.
· Arab states restore pre-Intifada links to Israel (trade offices, etc.).
· Revival of multilateral engagement on issues, including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues.

New constitution for democratic, independent Palestinian State is finalized and approved by appropriate Palestinian institutions. Further elections, if required, should follow approval of the new constitution.

Empowered reform cabinet with office of Prime Minister formally established, consistent with draft constitution.

Continued comprehensive security performance, including effective security co-operation on the bases laid out in Phase I.

Creation of an independent Palestinian State with provisional borders through a process of Israeli-Palestinian engagement, launched by the international conference. As part of this process, implementation of prior agreements, to enhance maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements in conjunction with establishment of a Palestinian State with provisional borders.
Enhanced international role in monitoring transition, with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet.
Quartet members promote international recognition of Palestinian state, including possible United Nations membership.


PHASE III:

PERMANENT STATUS AGREEMENT AND END OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT 2004-2005

Progress into Phase III, based on consensus judgement of Quartet, and taking into account actions of both parties and Quartet monitoring. Phase III objectives are consolidation of reform and stabilization of Palestinian institutions, sustained, effective Palestinian security performance, and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status agreement in 2005.


SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE:

Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian State with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements; and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.

Continued comprehensive, effective progress on the reform agenda laid out by the Task Force in preparation for final status agreement.

Continued sustained and effective security performance, and sustained, effective security co-operation on the bases laid out in Phase I.
International efforts to facilitate reform and stabilize Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian economy, in preparation for final status agreement.

Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfils the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.

Arab State acceptance of full normal relations with Israel and security for all the states of the region in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.



EU Presidency welcomes the Quartet’s Road Map
Brussels, 30 April 2003

The Quartet presents today to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority a Road Map to realize the vision shared by the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The members of the Quartet will work with the parties and key regional actors towards the implementation of the Road Map, in accordance with that vision.

The Road Map came at a critical juncture of the region’s history and represents the best judgment of the Quartet members on how the parties can achieve peace. This initiative is a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks.

The Road Map is a starting point and a framework for action and progress. The pace of progress will depend on the performance of the parties and the commitment and good faith of both sides.

We expect that the formal approval of the Palestinian Prime Minister and his new government will help accelerate the Road Map’s implementation. We also regrettably foresee that the forces of extremism and hatred will try to destabilize any progress. We call upon both parties to refrain from words and deeds that can feed extremist propaganda and to spare no effort in order to marginalize the elements of extremism and terror in their societies.

A two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, clear acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated solution, and through efforts to preserve Israel’s security, as well as to help normalize Palestinian life and establish a peaceful and democratic Palestinian State based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 224, 338, and 1397. In the same framework are the active efforts of Israel’s neighbors to support and assist both parties in achieving these goals is of key importance.



Israel's response to the Road Map
25 May 2003

A. The Government of Israel, today (Sunday), May 25, 2003, considered the Prime Minister's statement on the Roadmap, as well as Israel's comments on its implementation. Following its deliberations, the Government, by a majority vote, resolved:

Based on the 23 May 2003 statement of the United States Government, in which the United States committed to fully and seriously address Israel's comments to the Roadmap during the implementation phase, the Prime Minister announced on 23 May 2003 that Israel has agreed to accept the steps set out in the Roadmap.

The Government of Israel affirms the Prime Minister's announcement, and resolves that all of Israel's comments, as addressed in the Administration's statement, will be implemented in full during the implementation phase of the Roadmap.

A list of the comments forwarded by Israel for the review of the Administration in the United States has been attached to this decision.

B. The Government also resolved, concerning the issue of the refugees, as follows:

The Government of Israel today accepted the steps set out in the Roadmap. The Government of Israel expresses its hope that the political process that will commence, in accordance with the 24 June 2002 speech of President Bush, will bring security, peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Government of Israel further clarifies that, both during and subsequent to the political process, the resolution of the issue of the refugees will not include their entry into or settlement within the State of Israel.

Source: www.mfa.gov.il

1. Both at the commencement of and during the process, and as a condition to its continuance, calm will be maintained. The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and implement security reforms during the course of which new organizations will be formed and act to combat terror, violence and incitement (incitement must cease immediately and the Palestinian Authority must educate for peace). These organizations will engage in genuine prevention of terror and violence through arrests, interrogations, prevention and the enforcement of the legal groundwork for investigations, prosecution and punishment. In the first phase of the plan and as a condition for progress to the second phase, the Palestinians will complete the dismantling of terrorist organizations (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front Al-Aqsa Brigades and other apparatuses) and their infrastructure, collection of all illegal weapons and their transfer to a third party for the sake of being removed from the area and destroyed, cessation of weapons smuggling and weapons production inside the Palestinian Authority, activation of the full prevention apparatus and cessation of incitement. There will be no progress to the second phase without the fulfillment of all above-mentioned conditions relating to the war against terror. The security plans to be implemented are the Tenet and Zinni plans. [As in the other mutual frameworks, the Roadmap will not state that Israel must cease violence and incitement against the Palestinians].

2. Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement. Progress between phases will come only following the full implementation of the preceding phase. Attention will be paid not to timelines, but to performance benchmarks. (Timelines will serve only as reference points.)

3. The emergence of a new and different leadership in the Palestinian Authority within the framework of governmental reform: The formation of a new leadership constitutes a condition for progress to the second phase of the plan. In this framework, elections will be conducted for the Palestinian Legislative Council following coordination with Israel.

4. The Monitoring mechanism will be under American management. The chief verification activity will concentrate upon the creation of another Palestinian entity and progress in the civil reform process within the Palestinian Authority. Verification will be performed exclusively on a professional basis and per issue (economic, legal, financial) without the existence of a combined or unified mechanism. Substantive decisions will remain in the hands of both parties.

5. The character of the provisional Palestinian State will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum.

6. In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.

7. End of the process will lead to the end of all claims and not only the end of the conflict.

8. The future settlement will be reached through agreement and direct negotiations between the two parties, in accordance with the vision outlined by President Bush in his 24 June address.

9. There will be no involvement with issues pertaining to the final settlement. Among issues not to be discussed: settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (excluding a settlement freeze and illegal outposts), the status of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions in Jerusalem, and all other matters whose substance relates to the final settlement.

10. The removal of references other than Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 (Security Council resolution 1397, the Saudi Initiative and the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the Road Map will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity therefrom. The only possible reference should be to resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.

11. Promotion of the reform process in the Palestinian Authority: A transitional Palestinian constitution will be composed, a Palestinian legal infrastructure will be constructed and cooperation with Israel in this field will be renewed. In the economic sphere: International efforts to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy will continue. In the financial sphere: The American-Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be implemented in full as a condition for the continued transfer of tax revenues.

12. The deployment of IDF forces along the September 2000 lines will be subject to the stipulation of Article 4 (absolute quiet) and will be carried out in keeping with changes to be required by the nature of the new circumstances and needs created thereby. Emphasis will be placed on the division of responsibilities and civilian authority as in September 2000, and not on the position of forces on the ground at that time.

13. Subject to security conditions, Israel will work to restore Palestinian life to normal: promote the economic situation, cultivation of commercial connections, encouragement and assistance for the activities of recognized humanitarian agencies. No reference will be made to the Bertini Report as a binding source document within the framework of the humanitarian issue.

14. Arab states will assist the process through the condemnation of terrorist activity. No link will be established between the Palestinian track and other tracks (Syrian-Lebanese).

Source: http://www.knesset.gov.il/process/docs/roadmap_response_eng.htm



Excerpts of the statement by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas following the Aqaba Summit
Jordan, 4 June 2003

As we all realize, this is an important moment. A new opportunity for peace exists, an opportunity based upon President Bush's vision and the Quartet's road map, which we have accepted without any reservations.

Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, in peace and security. The process is the one of direct negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to resolve all the permanent status issues, and end the occupation that began in 1967, under which Palestinians have suffered so much.

At the same time, we do not ignore the suffering of the Jews throughout history. It is time to bring all this suffering to an end.

Just as Israel must meet its responsibilities, we, the Palestinians, will fulfill our obligations for this endeavor to succeed. We are ready to do our part.

Let me be very clear: There will be no military solution to this conflict, so we repeat our renunciation, a renunciation of terror against the Israelis wherever they might be. Such methods are inconsistent with our religious and moral traditions and are dangerous obstacles to the achievement of an independent, sovereign state we seek. These methods also conflict with the kinds of state we wish to build, based on human rights and the rule of law.

We will exert all of our efforts, using all our resources to end the militarization of the intifada, and we will succeed. The armed intifada must end, and we must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis. And to establish the Palestinian state, we emphasize our determination to implement our pledges which we have made for our people and the international community. And that is a rule of law, single political authority, weapons only in the hands of those who are in charge with upholding the law and order, and political diversity within the framework of democracy.

Our goal is clear and we will implement it firmly and without compromise: a complete end to violence and terrorism. And we will be full partners in the international war against occupation and terrorism. And we will call upon our partners in this war to prevent financial and military assistance to those who oppose this position. We do this as a part of our commitment to the interest of the Palestinian people, and as members of the large family of humanity.

We will also act vigorously against incitement and violence and hatred, whatever their form or forum may be. We will take measures to ensure that there is no incitement -- from Palestinian institutions. We must also reactivate and invigorate the U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli Anti-Incitement Committee. We will continue our work to establish the rule of law and to consolidate government authority in accountable Palestinian institutions. We seek to build the kind of democratic state that will be a qualitative addition to the international community.

All the PA security forces will be part of these efforts, and will work together toward the achievement of these goals. Our national future is at stake, and no one will be allowed to jeopardize it.

We are committed to these steps because they are in our national interest. In order to succeed, there must be a clear improvement in the lives of Palestinians. Palestinians must live in dignity. Palestinians must be able to move, go to their jobs and schools, visit their families, and conduct a normal life. Palestinians must not be afraid for their lives, property, or livelihood.

We welcome and stress the need for the assistance of the international community and, in particular, the Arab states, to help us. And we also welcome and stress the need for a U.S.-led monitoring mechanism.

Together, we can achieve the goal of an independent Palestinian state, sovereign, viable, in the framework of good neighbors with all states in the region, including Israel.



Excerpts of the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon after the Aqaba Summit
Jordan, 4 June 2003

As the Prime Minister of Israel, the land which is the cradle of the Jewish people, my paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel and of the State of Israel. There can be no compromise with terror and Israel, together with all free nations, will continue fighting terrorism until its final defeat.

Ultimately, permanent security requires peace and permanent peace can only be obtained through security, and there is now hope of a new opportunity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel, like others, has lent its strong support for President Bush's vision, expressed on June 24, 2002, of two states - Israel and a Palestinian State - living side by side in peace and security. The Government and people of Israel welcome the opportunity to renew direct negotiations according to the steps of the roadmap as adopted by the Israeli government to achieve this vision.

It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian State fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state.

There can be no peace, however, without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence, and incitement. We will work alongside the Palestinians and other states to fight terrorism, violence and incitement of all kinds. As all parties perform their obligations, we will seek to restore normal Palestinian life, improve the humanitarian situation, rebuild trust, and promote progress toward the President's vision. We will act in a manner that respects the dignity as well as the human rights of all people.

We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial contiguity in the West Bank, for a viable Palestinian state. Israeli policy in the territories that are subject to direct negotiations with the Palestinians will reflect this fact.

We accept the principle that no unilateral actions by any party can prejudge the outcome of our negotiations.

In regard to the unauthorized outposts, I want to reiterate that Israel is a society governed by the rule of law. Thus, we will immediately begin to remove unauthorized outposts.

Israel seeks peace with all its Arab neighbors. Israel is prepared to negotiate in good faith wherever there are partners. As normal relations are established, I am confident that they will find in Israel a neighbor and a people committed to comprehensive peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the region.



Excerpts of EU-General Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process
18 June 2003


MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS - Council Conclusions

"The Council recalled that in Aqaba there was a clear commitment to end terrorism and violence and full support for the Roadmap. Those choosing another way will face consequences.

Terrorist activities must cease immediately. Hamas and other groups must therefore accept the offer of the Palestinian Authority, promoted by Egypt, and accept a total ceasefire with the objective of allowing the immediate and faithful implementation of the Quartet Roadmap.

Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem (the so-called military wing) is already on the EU list of proscribed organizations for asset freeze. The Council is now urgently examining the case for wider action against Hamas fund raising.

The Council called also on Israel to take action to restore trust and abstain from any punitive measures, including extra-judicial killings.

The Council underlined the need for countries of the region to be constructive in the fight against terrorism. Tackling the direct or indirect financing of terrorism remains a priority for the EU.

Finally, the Council expressed its support to the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to make rapid progress on security, paving the way to the two states solution. "

* * *

In the margins of the Council, the EU Troika met with the Palestinian Authority (Minister Sha’ath) and with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mr. Maher.



Quartet issues statement
Dead Sea, 22 June 2003

Representatives of the Quartet - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten - met today at the Dead Sea in Jordan.

The Quartet members reviewed developments since their last meeting in Washington, D.C. on December 20, 2002. They welcome the appointment of Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas and the strong start he and his government have made in difficult circumstances, and the acceptance by Israeli and Palestinian authorities of the roadmap presented to the parties on April 30, 2003, leading to realization of the goal expressed by President Bush and shared by the Quartet members, of two states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security, in 2005. They strongly endorse the results of the Red Sea Summit meetings, and pledge to support actively Prime Minister Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon in carrying out the commitments made at these meetings.

They welcome the very positive message and personal commitment of President Bush, and his decision to place a mission on the ground charged with helping the parties to move toward peace, through the establishment of a credible and effective structure led by the United States, in close cooperation with the Quartet, to coordinate, monitor, and promote implementation of the parties' commitments and responsibilities, as laid out in the roadmap. The Quartet fully shares President Bush's expectation that both parties will meet their obligations in full, and welcomes the initial steps taken by the parties toward this goal.

The Quartet members deplore and condemn the brutal terror attacks against Israeli citizens carried out by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade since the roadmap's presentation. The Quartet calls for an immediate, comprehensive end to all violence and welcomes efforts by the Government of Egypt and others to achieve such an immediate and comprehensive halt to armed action by Palestinian groups. All Palestinian individuals and groups must end acts of terror against all Israelis, anywhere. The Quartet calls on the Palestinian authorities to take all possible steps to halt immediately the activities of individuals and groups planning and conducting attacks on Israelis. The Quartet supports immediate Palestinian action to restructure and consolidate under Prime Minister Abbas all security services, and calls on all states to assist in such efforts.

The Quartet welcomes the discussions between Israel and Palestinian authorities over the transfer of security responsibility in Gaza and Bethlehem. They call on both sides to reach agreement as soon as possible on workable arrangements and timetables for implementation.

The Quartet calls on all states in the region and around the world to end immediately any form of support, including fund-raising and financial assistance, to groups and individuals that use terror and violence to diminish the chances for peace, and calls for an end to all forms of incitement to violence and hatred.

The Quartet expresses its deep concern over Israeli military actions that result in the killing of innocent Palestinian and other civilians. Such actions do not enhance security and undermine trust and prospects for cooperation. While the Quartet recognizes Israel's right to self-defense in the face of terrorist attacks against its citizens, it calls on the Government of Israel to respect international humanitarian law and to exert maximum efforts to avoid such civilian casualties.

The Quartet also calls on the Government of Israel to make all possible efforts to support Palestinian authorities and ease the plight of the Palestinian people through immediate actions. The Quartet strongly urges Israel to facilitate movement of people and goods, as well as access by international humanitarian organizations. These steps must be taken as rapidly and comprehensively as possible to improve the humanitarian situation and normalize the daily life of the Palestinian people.

The Quartet recalls its position that settlement activity must stop. In this context, it welcomes the undertaking made by Prime Minister Sharon at Aqaba, and first steps taken by Israel on the ground, to remove unauthorized outposts.

The Quartet members reviewed progress made on Palestinian institutional reform, endorsed the result of the meetings of the Task Force and Ad Hoc Liaison Committee Meetings held earlier in the year, and reaffirmed their support for all efforts to fulfill the reform goals set forth in the first phase of the Road Map, including the adoption of a Palestinian Constitution and preparations for free, open and fair Palestinian elections as soon as possible.

The Quartet reaffirms its commitment to a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Arab- Israeli conflict, including progress toward peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon.

Such a peace would be based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement.

The Quartet looks forward to continuing to work together in close consultation on these issues with the parties.



Recommendation by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Palestinian refugees
25 June 2003

Recommendation 1612 (2003)1

The situation of Palestinian refugees

1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its previously adopted texts on the situation in the Middle East, and in particular to its Resolutions 1245 (2001), 1281 (2002) and 1294 (2002), and reaffirms its strong condemnation of the escalation of violence in the region since September 2000, as well as of all the acts violating human rights, including the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli army and the terrorist attacks in the current wave of intifada.

2. The Assembly deplores the lack of progress so far in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Both parties to the conflict must show more flexibility and engage in a true political dialogue. The Assembly expresses its hope that the third phase of the Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict drawn up by the quartet of international mediators (the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia) will bring an end, not only to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but will make a contribution to the rapid settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem.

3. It is a matter of great concern that the question of refugees remains a major obstacle to achieving a sustainable solution. Although the creation of a viable Palestinian State would largely contribute to the sustainable solution of the refugee issue, the situation of the latter, being both a political and a humanitarian problem, cannot wait for the political settlement of the Middle East conflict.

4. The situation of the 3.9 million refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), of whom 1.2 million people are living in camps in miserable conditions, is not only unacceptable from a humanitarian point of view, but constitutes a major threat to stability and security in the region.

5. The Assembly considers that the services of UNRWA must be fully maintained until a permanent solution is found. The international community must step up its voluntary financial contribution to the budget of UNRWA, with a view to at least allowing it to reflect the natural growth of the Palestinian refugee population being assisted by this agency.

6. The Assembly recognizes that there has been a new reality in the Middle East since the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 which created the refugee problems. It calls on all the parties involved in these problems to negotiate and achieve a just settlement based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (1967).

7. In particular, a large number of refugees who prefer to stay in host countries in the region should be compensated and provided with financial support allowing them to settle permanently.

8. Third countries, including the Gulf States and the Council of Europe member states, should also contribute to the sustainable solution of the problem by accepting a certain number of refugees. The Assembly reaffirms its call for a new fund to be established by the United Nations with a view to financing the forthcoming cost of resettlement: the Palestine refugee and displaced persons final status fund.

9. The question of the legal status of the Palestinian refugees outside the region remains an issue of concern. Legal status is essential in establishing any person’s legal, social and economic situation: Palestinian refugees are at a clear disadvantage in this respect and must therefore be given a recognized legal status.

10. Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers call on Council of Europe member states:

i. to review their policies in respect of Palestinian asylum-seekers, with a view to effectively implementing the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ (UNHCR) new guidelines on the applicability of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, published in 2002;

ii. to ensure that where Palestinian refugees are legally recognized, they are entitled to all the benefits of socio-economic rights normally afforded to recognized refugees in these member states, including the right to family reunion;

iii. to include the information on Palestinian origin in the statistics concerning asylum-seekers and refugees;

iv. to support the activities of the UNRWA by providing or stepping up voluntary financial contributions to its budget;

v. to promote the idea of establishing a Palestine refugee and displaced persons final status fund under the aegis of the United Nations, to finance the forthcoming cost of resettlement;

vi. to make provision in their budgets for donations to this fund;

vii. to contribute to the international debate on sustainable solutions offered to the Palestinian refugees, and encourage and commission political and academic research and studies concerning refugee problems and compensation.

11. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i. instruct the appropriate committee to examine the issues relating to the legal status of Palestinian refugees in Council of Europe member states, and devise concrete initiatives to ensure that all Palestinian persons displaced from their country are provided with an appropriate legal status entitling them to all basic socio-economic rights;

ii. review, with a view to harmonization, Council of Europe member states’ policies in this respect, in particular by effectively implementing the UNHCR’s above-mentioned guidelines;

iii. initiate the organization of an international conference devoted entirely to the question of Palestinian refugees;

iv. promote research aimed at obtaining statistics concerning Palestinian refugees and their status in Council of Europe member states;

v. support programmes aimed at establishing and strengthening awareness of democratic values and human rights in the region;

vi. invite Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, in particular those active in the youth field, to establish contacts with the Organization with a view to developing co-operation.

___________________
1 Assembly debate on 25 June 2003 (21st Sitting) (see Doc. 9808, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, rapporteur: Mr. Akselsen; and Doc. 9847, opinion of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr. Margelov).


Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 June 2003 (21st Sitting).



Inter-Parliamentary Union welcomes the establishment of a working group
of Israeli and Palestinian parliamentarians
Geneva, 17 July 2003


Geneva, 17 July 2003 - At the close of today's meeting between members of the Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Geneva at the Headquarters of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the following statement was adopted by consensus.

"In cooperation between the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Manifesto - Movement for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Middle East - and under the auspices of the IPU Middle East Committee, a meeting was held in Geneva between representatives of the Israeli Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council. The aim of the meeting was to renew the dialogue between the two parties who take part in the activities of the IPU.

At the end of the discussions and within the framework of the renewed peace process and the cooperation between the partners in the IPU, it was agreed to establish a working group of Israeli and Palestinian elected representatives that will work constantly for cooperation and to prepare in the near future the infrastructure for cooperation between the two elected parliaments, within the peace process and towards the peace agreement between Israel and Palestine."

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Finn Martin Vallersnes, member of the Norwegian Parliament and President of the IPU's Committee on Middle East Questions. The Knesset delegation was composed of the following MPs, Mr. Avraham Burg, Mr. Avshalom Vilan, Mr. Reshef Chayne and Mr. Majalli Whbee.

The PLC delegation comprised Mr. Abdelkhader, I. F. Hamed, Mr. Ibrahim I.A. Elhabbash and Mr. Jawad K.H. Tibi.

The IPU Secretary General, Mr. Anders B. Johnsson, was also present, as well as four members of the Manifesto - Movement for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.



Geneva Accord launched by prominent Israeli and Palestinian public figures
Geneva, 12 October 2003

The following are excerpts of the Geneva Accords, a model framework for an Israeli-Palestinian permanent status agreement, unveiled by Meretz Party Chairman Yossi Beilin, PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo, and other prominent Israeli and Palestinian public figures in Geneva on 12 October 2003.

The State of Israel (hereinafter “Israel”) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (hereinafter “PLO”), the representative of the Palestinian people (hereinafter the “Parties”):

Reaffirming their determination to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security based on a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace and achieving historic reconciliation;

Recognizing that peace requires the transition from the logic of war and confrontation to the logic of peace and cooperation, and that acts and words characteristic of the state of war are neither appropriate nor acceptable in the era of peace;

Affirming their deep belief that the logic of peace requires compromise, and that the only viable solution is a two-state solution based on United Nations Security Council resolution 242 and 338;

Affirming that this agreement marks the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the Parties' respective citizens;

Recognizing that after years of living in mutual fear and insecurity, both peoples need to enter an era of peace, security and stability, entailing all necessary actions by the parties to guarantee the realization of this era;

Recognizing each other’s right to peaceful and secure existence within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

Determined to establish relations based on cooperation and the commitment to live side by side as good neighbors aiming both separately and jointly to contribute to the well-being of their peoples;

Reaffirming their obligation to conduct themselves in conformity with the norms of international law and the Charter of the United Nations;

Confirming that this Agreement is concluded within the framework of the Middle East peace process initiated in Madrid in October 1991, the Declaration of Principles of September 13, 1993, the subsequent agreements including the Interim Agreement of September 1995, the Wye River Memorandum of October 1998 and the Sharm El-Sheikh Memorandum of September 4, 1999, and the permanent status negotiations including the Camp David Summit of July 2000, the Clinton Ideas of December 2000, and the Taba Negotiations of January 2001;

Reiterating their commitment to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 and confirming their understanding that this Agreement is based on, will lead to, and –by its fulfillment-- will constitute the full implementation of these resolutions and to the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in all its aspects;

Declaring that this Agreement constitutes the realization of the permanent status peace component envisaged in President Bush's speech of June 24, 2002 and in the Quartet Roadmap process.

Declaring that this Agreement marks the historic reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israelis, and paves the way to reconciliation between the Arab World and Israel and the establishment of normal, peaceful relations between the Arab states and Israel in accordance with the relevant clauses of the Beirut Arab League Resolution of March 28, 2002; and

Resolved to pursue the goal of attaining a comprehensive regional peace, thus contributing to stability, security, development and prosperity throughout the region;

Have agreed on the following:

Article 1 – Purpose of the Permanent Status Agreement

1. The Permanent Status Agreement (hereinafter "this Agreement") ends the era of conflict and ushers in a new era based on peace, cooperation, and good neighborly relations between the Parties.

2. The implementation of this Agreement will settle all the claims of the Parties arising from events occurring prior to its signature. No further claims related to events prior to this Agreement may be raised by either Party.

Article 2 – Relations between the Parties

1. The State of Israel shall recognize the State of Palestine (hereinafter “Palestine”) upon its establishment. The State of Palestine shall immediately recognize the State of Israel.

2. The State of Palestine shall be the successor to the PLO with all its rights and obligations.

3. Israel and Palestine shall immediately establish full diplomatic and consular relations with each other and will exchange resident Ambassadors, within one month of their mutual recognition.

4. The Parties recognize Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples. The Parties are committed not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs.

5. This Agreement supersedes all prior agreements between the Parties.

6. Without prejudice to the commitments undertaken by them in this Agreement, relations between Israel and Palestine shall be based upon the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

7. With a view to the advancement of the relations between the two States and peoples, Palestine and Israel shall cooperate in areas of common interest. These shall include, but are not limited to, dialogue between their legislatures and state institutions, cooperation between their appropriate local authorities, promotion of non-governmental civil society cooperation, and joint programs and exchange in the areas of culture, media, youth, science, education, environment, health, agriculture, tourism, and crime prevention. The Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation Committee will oversee this cooperation in accordance with Article 8.

8. The Parties shall cooperate in areas of joint economic interest, to best realize the human potential of their respective peoples. In this regard, they will work bilaterally, regionally, and with the international community to maximize the benefit of peace to the broadest cross-section of their respective populations. Relevant standing bodies shall be established by the Parties to this effect.

9. The Parties shall establish robust modalities for security cooperation, and engage in a comprehensive and uninterrupted effort to end terrorism and violence directed against each others persons, property, institutions or territory. This effort shall continue at all times, and shall be insulated from any possible crises and other aspects of the Parties' relations.

10. Israel and Palestine shall work together and separately with other parties in the region to enhance and promote regional cooperation and coordination in spheres of common interest.

11. The Parties shall establish a ministerial-level Palestinian-Israeli High Steering Committee to guide, monitor, and facilitate the process of implementation of this Agreement, both bilaterally and in accordance with the mechanisms in Article 3 hereunder.

Article 3 – Implementation and Verification Group

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Article 4 – Territory

1. The International Borders between the States of Palestine and Israel

i. In accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, the border between the states of Palestine and Israel shall be based on the June 4th 1967 lines with reciprocal modifications on a 1:1 basis as set forth in attached Map 1.

ii. The Parties recognize the border, as set out in attached Map 1, as the permanent, secure and recognized international boundary between them.


2. Sovereignty and Inviolability

i. The Parties recognize and respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence, as well as the inviolability of each others territory, including territorial waters, and airspace. They shall respect this inviolability in accordance with this Agreement, the United Nations Charter, and other rules of international law.

ii. The Parties recognize each other's rights in their exclusive economic zones in accordance with international law.

3. Israeli Withdrawal

i. Israel shall withdraw in accordance with Article 5.

ii. Palestine shall assume responsibility for the areas from which Israel withdraws.

iii. The transfer of authority from Israel to Palestine shall be in accordance with Annex X.

iv. The IVG shall monitor, verify, and facilitate the implementation of this Article.

4. Demarcation

i. A Joint Technical Border Commission (Commission) composed of the two Parties shall be established to conduct the technical demarcation of the border in accordance with this Article. The procedures governing the work of this Commission are set forth in Annex X.

ii. Any disagreement in the Commission shall be referred to the IVG in accordance with Annex X.

iii. The physical demarcation of the international borders shall be completed by the Commission not later than nine months from the date of the entry into force of this Agreement.

5. Settlements

i. The State of Israel shall be responsible for resettling the Israelis residing in Palestinian sovereign territory outside this territory.

ii. The resettlement shall be completed according to the schedule stipulated in Article 5.

iii. Existing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip regarding Israeli settlers and settlements, including security, shall remain in force in each of the settlements until the date prescribed in the timetable for the completion of the evacuation of the relevant settlement.

iv. Modalities for the assumption of authority over settlements by Palestine are set forth in Annex X. The IVG shall resolve any disputes that may arise during its implementation.

v. Israel shall keep intact the immovable property, infrastructure and facilities in Israeli settlements to be transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. An agreed inventory shall be drawn up by the Parties with the IVG in advance of the completion of the evacuation and in accordance with Annex X.

vi. The State of Palestine shall have exclusive title to all land and any buildings, facilities, infrastructure or other property remaining in any of the settlements on the date prescribed in the timetable for the completion of the evacuation of this settlement.

6. Corridor

i. The states of Palestine and Israel shall establish a corridor linking the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This corridor shall:

a. Be under Israeli sovereignty.

b. Be permanently open.

c. Be under Palestinian administration in accordance with Annex X of this Agreement. Palestinian law shall apply to persons using and procedures appertaining to the corridor.

d. Not disrupt Israeli transportation and other infrastructural networks, or endanger the environment, public safety or public health. Where necessary, engineering solutions will be sought to avoid such disruptions.

e. Allow for the establishment of the necessary infrastructural facilities linking the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Infrastructural facilities shall be understood to include, inter alia, pipelines, electrical and communications cables, and associated equipment as detailed in Annex X.

f. Not be used in contravention of this Agreement.

ii. Defensive barriers shall be established along the corridor and Palestinians shall not enter Israel from this corridor, nor shall Israelis enter Palestine from the corridor.

iii. The Parties shall seek the assistance of the international community in securing the financing for the corridor.

iv. The IVG shall guarantee the implementation of this Article in accordance with Annex X.

v. Any disputes arising between the Parties from the operation of the corridor shall be resolved in accordance with Article 16.

vi. The arrangements set forth in this clause may only be terminated or revised by agreement of both Parties.

Article 5 – Security

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Article 6 – Jerusalem

1. Religious and Cultural Significance:

i. The Parties recognize the universal historic, religious, spiritual, and cultural significance of Jerusalem and its holiness enshrined in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In recognition of this status, the Parties reaffirm their commitment to safeguard the character, holiness, and freedom of worship in the city and to respect the existing division of administrative functions and traditional practices between different denominations.

ii. The Parties shall establish an inter-faith body consisting of representatives of the three monotheistic faiths, to act as a consultative body to the Parties on matters related to the city’s religious significance and to promote inter-religious understanding and dialogue. The composition, procedures, and modalities for this body are set forth in Annex X.

2. Capital of Two States

The Parties shall have their mutually recognized capitals in the areas of Jerusalem under their respective sovereignty.

3. Sovereignty

Sovereignty in Jerusalem shall be in accordance with attached Map 2. This shall not prejudice nor be prejudiced by the arrangements set forth below.

4. Border Regime

The border regime shall be designed according to the provisions of Article 11, and taking into account the specific needs of Jerusalem (e.g., movement of tourists and intensity of border crossing use including provisions for Jerusalemites) and the provisions of this Article.

5. Al-Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount (Compound)

i. International Group

a. An International Group, composed of the IVG and other parties to be agreed upon by the Parties, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), shall hereby be established to monitor, verify, and assist in the implementation of this clause.

b. For this purpose, the International Group shall establish a Multinational Presence on the Compound, the composition, structure, mandate and functions of which are set forth in Annex X.

c. The Multinational Presence shall have specialized detachments dealing with security and conservation. The Multinational Presence shall make periodic conservation and security reports to the International Group. These reports shall be made public.

d. The Multinational Presence shall strive to immediately resolve any problems arising and may refer any unresolved disputes to the International Group that will function in accordance with Article 16.

e. The Parties may at any time request clarifications or submit complaints to the International Group which shall be promptly investigated and acted upon.

f. The International Group shall draw up rules and regulations to maintain security on and conservation of the Compound. These shall include lists of the weapons and equipment permitted on the site.

ii. Regulations Regarding the Compound

a. In view of the sanctity of the Compound, and in light of the unique religious and cultural significance of the site to the Jewish people, there shall be no digging, excavation, or construction on the Compound, unless approved by the two Parties. Procedures for regular maintenance and emergency repairs on the Compound shall be established by the IG after consultation with the Parties.

b. The State of Palestine shall be responsible for maintaining the security of the Compound and for ensuring that it will not be used for any hostile acts against Israelis or Israeli areas. The only arms permitted on the Compound shall be those carried by the Palestinian security personnel and the security detachment of the Multinational Presence.

c. In light of the universal significance of the Compound, and subject to security considerations and to the need not to disrupt religious worship or decorum on the site as determined by the Waqf, visitors shall be allowed access to the site. This shall be without any discrimination and generally be in accordance with past practice.

iii. Transfer of Authority

a. At the end of the withdrawal period stipulated in Article 5/7, the State of Palestine shall assert sovereignty over the Compound.

b. The International Group and its subsidiary organs shall continue to exist and fulfill all the functions stipulated in this Article unless otherwise agreed by the two Parties.

6. The Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall shall be under Israeli sovereignty.

7. The Old City:

i. Significance of the Old City

a. The Parties view the Old City as one whole enjoying a unique character. The Parties agree that the preservation of this unique character together with safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the inhabitants should guide the administration of the Old City.

b. The Parties shall act in accordance with the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List regulations, in which the Old City is a registered site.

ii. IVG Role in the Old City

a. Cultural Heritage

1. The IVG shall monitor and verify the preservation of cultural heritage in the Old City in accordance with the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List rules. For this purpose, the IVG shall have free and unimpeded access to sites, documents, and information related to the performance of this function.

2. The IVG shall work in close coordination with the Old City Committee of the Jerusalem Coordination and Development Committee (JCDC), including in devising a restoration and preservation plan for the Old City.

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Article 7 – Refugees

1. Significance of the Refugee Problem

i. The Parties recognize that, in the context of two independent states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace, an agreed resolution of the refugee problem is necessary for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between them.

ii. Such a resolution will also be central to stability building and development in the region.

2. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and the Arab Peace Initiative

i. The Parties recognize that United Nations General Assembly resolution 194, United Nations Security Council resolution 242, and the Arab Peace Initiative (Article 2.ii.) concerning the rights of the Palestinian refugees represent the basis for resolving the refugee issue, and agree that these rights are fulfilled according to Article 7 of this Agreement.

3. Compensation

i. Refugees shall be entitled to compensation for their refugeehood and for loss of property. This shall not prejudice or be prejudiced by the refugee’s permanent place of residence.

ii. The Parties recognize the right of states that have hosted Palestinian refugees to remuneration.

4. Choice of Permanent Place of Residence (PPR)

The solution to the PPR aspect of the refugee problem shall entail an act of informed choice on the part of the refugee to be exercised in accordance with the options and modalities set forth in this agreement. PPR options from which the refugees may choose shall be as follows;

i. The State of Palestine, in accordance with clause a below.

ii. Areas in Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land swap, following assumption of Palestinian sovereignty, in accordance with clause a below.

iii. Third Countries, in accordance with clause b below.

iv. The State of Israel, in accordance with clause c below.

v. Present Host countries, in accordance with clause d below.

a. PPR options i and ii shall be the right of all Palestinian refugees and shall be in accordance with the laws of the State of Palestine.

b. Option iii shall be at the sovereign discretion of third countries and shall be in accordance with numbers that each third country will submit to the International Commission. These numbers shall represent the total number of Palestinian refugees that each third country shall accept.

c. Option iv shall be at the sovereign discretion of Israel and will be in accordance with a number that Israel will submit to the International Commission. This number shall represent the total number of Palestinian refugees that Israel shall accept. As a basis, Israel will consider the average of the total numbers submitted by the different third countries to the International Commission.

d. Option v shall be in accordance with the sovereign discretion of present host countries. Where exercised, this shall be in the context of prompt and extensive development and rehabilitation programs for the refugee communities. Priority in all the above shall be accorded to the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon.

5. Free and Informed Choice

The process by which Palestinian refugees shall express their PPR choice shall be on the basis of a free and informed decision. The Parties themselves are committed and will encourage third parties to facilitate the refugees' free choice in expressing their preferences, and to countering any attempts at interference or organized pressure on the process of choice. This will not prejudice the recognition of Palestine as the realization of Palestinian self-determination and statehood.

/…




Excerpts of EU Presidency conclusions on the Middle East
Brussels, 16-17 October 2003

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V. EXTERNAL RELATIONS

Middle East

48. The European Union is firmly committed to the clear objective of two States, Israel and a viable and democratic Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security, in the framework of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, as laid out in the Road Map.

49. The European Council is deeply concerned by the situation in the region and has noted that, despite support given by the international community to the quest for a just and lasting solution, insufficient effort has been made by the concerned parties to seize the opportunity for peace set out in the Road Map, underscored by the recent Quartet Ministerial Statement issued September 26 last. On the contrary, rising violence is bringing added suffering and death to both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples and putting at risk security in the region and beyond.

50. The European Council therefore calls on both parties - Israel and the Palestinian Authority - to live up to the commitments they undertook at the Aqaba summit on 4 June 2003.

51. The European Council urges all sides in the region to immediately implement policies conducive to dialogue and negotiations. The EU relationship with those who will take steps to the contrary will be inevitably affected by such behaviour.

52. The European Council welcomes initiatives from civil society on both sides and is ready to further assist in the effort to promote rapprochement, confidence building and the search for a lasting peace.

53. The European Council strongly condemns the intensification of suicide attacks and other acts of violence that have occurred over the last few weeks and calls upon all sides to refrain from any provocative action which can further escalate the tension.

54. The European Council strongly condemns the vile terrorist attack that took the lives of three US citizens near the Eretz checkpoint in the Gaza strip on 15 October and expresses its condolences to the bereaved families. The EU expects that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

55. Terrorist attacks against Israel have no justification whatsoever. The European Council reiterates that the fight against terrorism in all its forms remains one of the priorities of the European Union as well as of the entire international community and that it is the duty of all countries, in particular of those in the region, to actively cooperate in the fight against terrorism and to abstain from all support, direct or indirect, to terrorist organizations.

56. The European Council emphasizes once again that the Palestinian Authority must concretely demonstrate its determination in the fight against extremist violence and urges the PA and its President to take immediate, decisive steps to consolidate all Palestinian security services under the clear control of a duly empowered Prime Minister and Interior Minister, and confront individuals and groups conducting and planning terrorist attacks.

57. The European Council recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. It urges the Government of Israel, in exercising this right, to exert maximum effort to avoid civilian casualties and take no action that aggravates the humanitarian and economic plight of the Palestinian people. It also calls on Israel to abstain from any punitive measures which are not in accordance with international law, including extra-judicial killings.

58. The European Council is particularly concerned by the route marked out for the so-called security fence in the Occupied West Bank. The envisaged departure of the route from the "green line" could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-State solution physically impossible to implement. It would cause further humanitarian and economic hardship to the Palestinians. Thousands of Palestinians west of the fence are being cut off from essential services in the West Bank, Palestinians east of the fence will lose access to land and water resources.

59. The European Council calls on Israel to reverse its settlement policy and to dismantle settlements built after March 2001.

60. The European Council reiterates the determination of the European Union to contribute in all aspects of the implementation of the Road Map and stresses the importance and urgency of setting up a credible and effective third-party monitoring mechanism.

/...




Excerpts of the Conclusions of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
on the Middle East peace process
Naples, 2-3 December 2003

The Conclusions of the Sixth Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Naples on 2 and 3 December 2003, included the following paragraphs on the Middle East peace process:

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Middle East Peace Process

11. Ministers discussed recent developments concerning the Middle East. They were deeply concerned by the situation in the region and noted that, despite support given by the international community to the quest for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution, insufficient progress has been made by the concerned parties. They should seize the opportunity for peace set out in the Quartet Road Map.

12. Ministers recognized that there is no alternative to a swift and full implementation, in good faith by the two sides, of the Road Mad. United Nations Security Council resolution 1515 was seen as encouraging support by the International Community for the endeavors of the Quartet.

13. Ministers underlined the need for both Parties to work together constructively on solutions to the conflict. They expressed their commitment to the clear objective of two States, Israel and a viable and democratic Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security, in the framework of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, as laid out in the Road Map. Ministers recalled the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Beirut Arab League Summit of 28 March 2002. They called on both parties – Israel and the Palestinian Authority – to live up to the commitments they undertook at the Aqaba Summit on 4 June 2003.
14. They recalled that a comprehensive peace in the Middle East must also include Syria and Lebanon in the framework of the Madrid Principles.

15. Ministers reiterated that the fight against terrorism in all its forms remains one of the priorities of the entire International Community and that it is the duty of all countries, in particular of those in the region, to actively co-operate in the fight against terrorism and to abstain from all support, direct or indirect, to terrorist organizations.

16. It was emphasized by Ministers that the new Palestinian Government under Prime Minister Qorei must concretely demonstrate its determination in the fight against extremist violence. Decisive steps to consolidate all Palestinian security services must be taken by the new Palestinian Government, which deserves to be supported by all. Efforts to implement a lasting cease-fire were welcomed.

17. Ministers also urged the Government of Israel, in exercising its right to protect its citizens, to exert maximum effort to avoid civilian casualties and take all necessary action to ease the humanitarian and economic plight of the Palestinian people and facilitate the relief work of international donors. Israel should refrain from any action that violates international law.

18. Ministers were of the view that decisive steps must be taken to reverse the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza. It is making life increasingly intolerable for ordinary Palestinians and fuelling extremism.

19. Ministers welcomed the upcoming donor’s meeting (Ad Hoc Liaison Committee) that will take place on 10 December 2003 in Rome, as a good opportunity to discuss necessary measures and efforts by the parties and the International Community to improve the economic and humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people.

20. Strong concerns were expressed regarding the route marked out by Israel for the fence in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The envisaged departure of the route from the “green line” prejudges future negotiations and makes the two-State solution physically impossible to implement. Continued expansion of Israeli settlements and related construction is counter-productive.

21. Ministers highlighted the importance of promoting tolerance in all countries of the Partnership, and stressed in particular the need to stand up against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as well as xenophobia.

22. Ministers also reiterated that the Middle East Peace Process and the Barcelona Process are complementary, and expressed their readiness to use fully the potential of the Barcelona Process to make a positive contribution to the stabilization of the Mediterranean region. Ministers recalled the importance of a reinvigorated cooperation within the wider region and with Mediterranean partners.

23. Initiatives from civil society on both sides were welcomed as contributions to the effort to promote rapprochement, confidence building and the search for a lasting peace.



Statement by the Quartet Task Force on Palestinian Reform
Rome, 11 December 2003

The following statement was issued by the Task Force on Palestinian Reform (composed of representatives of the Quartet, Norway, Japan, Canada, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) at the conclusion of their meeting in Rome on 11 December 2003 to review the status of continuing Palestinian reform efforts.

The Task Force on Palestinian Reform, composed of representatives of the Quartet (United States, EU, Russia and the United Nations Secretary-General), Norway, Japan, Canada, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, met in Rome on December 11, 2003, to review the status of continuing Palestinian reform efforts. Chaired by the EC, the meeting reviewed progress achieved since the last Task Force meeting in February 2003. It discussed these developments, as well as prospects for further progress, with high-level Israeli and Palestinian delegations. The Task Force considers this work critical to building the foundations of a viable, independent, and democratic Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel, as envisaged in the Quartet’s Roadmap to Middle East peace.

The Task Force recognized the establishment of the office of a Palestinian Prime Minister as a major political reform achievement in 2003. It also commended the significant efforts by the Palestinian side in the fields of structural administrative, financial, and economic reform. The Finance Minister now publishes the Palestinian Authority’s budget on the internet, including monthly spending reports. Commercial monopolies have been audited, state security courts abolished, and the workings of the PA Cabinet are being comprehensively reformed. The Task Force commended the 2004 Draft Budget Law, which will further consolidate Palestinian finances under the PA Ministry of Finance, augmenting the accountability and transparency of PA fiscal management. The Palestinian efforts to establish a centrally coordinated and pro-active approach to reform, through the PA Reform Coordination Support Unit under the auspices of the Prime Minister, are also welcomed. Equally, the establishment of the Palestinian National Reform Committee, composed of representatives from the government, the legislature, the business community and civil society, is recognized as a positive step towards ensuring broader Palestinian public participation in setting and supervising reforms and towards developing an even more comprehensive reform agenda.

At the same time, the Task Force expressed deep concern that the reform process has been largely stalled over the past four months. Many key reform benchmarks have not been met, and require the urgent attention of the PA. The extension of direct deposit salary payments to all PA personnel, without exception, should be a top priority; the donor community considers this measure to be a bellwether of Palestinian will and PA empowerment. Other key reform measures that must be addressed include the overdue submission of the PA Auditor-General’s report to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) according to the Basic Law, the need to make the many non-ministerial government agencies accountable to the PLC, and the adoption of laws that are key to the reform process, including for an efficient market economy.

Looking ahead, the Task Force welcomed the recent establishment of a new Palestinian cabinet under Prime Minister Qurie and its declared commitment to reform as a top priority. It examined the new Cabinet’s reform plan presented by the Palestinian delegation and stressed the need for concrete, rapid and visible results on key reform areas in the coming period in order to re-establish momentum recently lost. Focus should be on further progress related to financial accountability, continued judicial reform, and the passing of priority legislation. The PA needs to strengthen the separation of powers by establishing an independent and fully functioning judiciary that obtains the confidence of the public by providing a viable mechanism for dispute resolution; and by urgently improving the effectiveness and the speed of the legislative process. In pursuit of establishing a viable Palestinian State respecting fundamental democratic principles, the rule of law and human rights, the reform process will also need to challenge internal resistance to change. In this regard, the Task Force noted the Palestinian objective to hold elections by summer 2004, stressed the need for an immediate passage of the election law following consideration and debate in the PLC, and encouraged all related preparatory activities to be advanced by the concerned Palestinian authorities, with appropriate facilitation from the Israeli side, in accordance with the Road Map.

The Task Force acknowledged that progress on reform is enhanced by a favorable security and political context, as attested to by the positive progress made during the period of relative quiet under the government of Prime Minister Abbas in the summer of 2003. The Task Force also observed that success in the reform process is impossible without the active facilitation of the Israeli Government. The Task Force welcomed the continued regular Israeli transfers of Palestinian tax revenues to the PA. At the same time, it strongly encouraged Israel to better promote Palestinian reform efforts in accordance with the Road Map. While acknowledging Israel’s legitimate security concerns, there was consensus in the Task Force that Israel can do much more. The reluctance to grant predictable and long-term freedom of movement to governmental and non-governmental Palestinian reformers, as well as parliamentarians, combined with continued access obstacles for donor staff working on supporting reform, represents a significant impediment to further progress on the PA’s reform agenda. The Task Force on Palestinian Reform urged Israel to take immediate steps to allow such freedom of movement and also to remove access obstacles encountered by donors.

The Task Force concluded by expressing its expectation that renewed commitment by all parties to advance Palestinian reforms should result in progress over the months ahead, and underscored that a favorable security and political environment would greatly enhance the prospects for achieving visible results. The Task Force expressed its continued willingness to support the Palestinian reform agenda through donor assistance and effective monitoring.


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