The State of Israel marks its 60th anniversary this year. Its emergence on the world map was a consequence of the victory over fascism in the Second World War. The Jewish people, having survived the tragedy of the Holocaust, built their statehood drawing on their historical experience and traditions and at the same time proceeding from the values shared by the Council of Europe member states.
All these factors enable Israel to occupy a unique place in international politics. It plays a central part in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean region in general. Consequently, it is of great importance to Europe, whose stability largely depends on what course developments may take in the Middle East.
Israel has observer status in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Yet, the Assembly has not fully utilised the opportunities of co-operation with Israel in order to promote the Council of Europe’s values and ideals. The Assembly’s initiative to help promote the “trilateral” parliamentary dialogue aimed at settling the Middle East crisis is a proof of the Council of Europe’s extensive potential for strengthening its presence in the region and enhancing the attractiveness of its ideals for the people living there.
The 60th anniversary of the State of Israel offers the Assembly a perfect opportunity to assess the prospects for such co-operation in a new environment. Accordingly, the Assembly intends to prepare, as soon as possible, a report on prospects for co-operation between the Council of Europe and Israel with a view to adopting a resolution on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.