With the Middle East immersed in its worst crisis for years, we
call for urgent international action towards a comprehensive
settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Everyone has lost in this conflict except the extremists throughout
the world who prosper on the rage that it continues to
provoke. Every passing day undermines prospects for a
peaceful, enduring solution. As long as the conflict lasts, it will
generate instability and violence in the region and beyond.
The outlines of what is needed are well known, based on UN Security
Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 338 of 1973, the Camp
David peace accords of 1978, the Clinton Parameters of 2000,
the Arab League Initiative of 2002, and the Roadmap proposed in
2003 by the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia). The goal must be
security and full recognition to the state of Israel within
internationally recognized borders, an end to the occupation for
the Palestinian people in a viable independent, sovereign state,
and the return of lost land to Syria.
We believe the time has come for a new international conference,
held as soon as possible and attended by all relevant players, at
which all the elements of a comprehensive peace agreement would be
mapped, and momentum generated for detailed negotiations.
Whether or not such an early conference can be convened, there are
crucial steps that can and should be taken by the key players,
* Support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end
to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian
* Talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, mediated by
the Quartet and reinforced by the participation of the Arab League
and key regional countries, on rapidly enhancing mutual security
and allowing revival of the Palestinian economy.
* Talks between the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli
government, sponsored by a reinforced Quartet, on the core
political issues that stand in the way of achieving a final status
* Parallel talks of the reinforced Quartet with Israel, Syria and
Lebanon, to discuss the foundations on which Israeli-Syrian and
Israeli-Lebanese agreements can be reached.
Nobody underestimates the intractability of the underlying issues
or the intensity of feelings they provoke. But if the Arab-Israeli
conflict, with all its terrible consequences, is ever to be
resolved, there is a desperate need for fresh thinking and the
new political will. The times demand no less.
This Global Leaders Call was signed by 135 former presidents, prime
ministers, foreign and defense ministers, congressional leaders,
heads of international organizations and Nobel Peace Prize winners.
There names can be viewed at: www.crisisgroup.org