Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol. XXVIII, No.1 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (janvier 2005) - Publié par la Division des droits palestiniens Français
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I have listed the positive developments of the last month, as well as the difficulties. How can we best assist the parties to move forward towards peace and to avoid the painful and all-too-frequent setbacks suffered in the past? For that to be done effectively, we need to start by being clear about our own priorities. Also, it is crucial that we all work together, guided by the framework of the Quartet and the road map process, as agreed by the parties and by the Council. Thirdly, we need to impress on Israelis and Palestinians that both of them must act towards fulfilling their road map obligations.
Both parties have important steps to take. Israeli settlement activity - including the natural growth of settlements - has not been frozen, as Israel is obliged to do under the road map. During 2004, according to recent reports, the number of people living in West Bank and Gaza strip settlements rose by 6 per cent. Even the settlements in the Gaza Strip that are slated for evacuation grew by 7 per cent; indeed, three of them recorded growth rates of between 21 and 29 per cent over the previous year. On the Palestinian side, we want to see the establishment of credible and reformed institutions which make a tangible impact in terms of efforts by the Palestinian Authority to put an end to the violence and terror.
In this immediate transitional stage, it is crucial to support Palestinian reform efforts - especially in the areas of security and governance - and to ensure that the Palestinian Authority is financially secure and able to meet the humanitarian needs of the population. In that context, we welcome Prime Minister Blair’s initiative to convene an international meeting, and we believe it will provide a valuable opportunity to discuss important issues on the agenda of the new Palestinian leadership. We consider that initiative to be an important step towards implementing the road map and achieving its full objectives.
It is also urgent to encourage both parties to resume contacts and work together to prepare for an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and part of the West Bank. Coordination between the parties and active support from the international community are needed to achieve a successful disengagement plan that will lead to further steps on the implementation of the road map and the resumption of full peace negotiations.