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The Israeli-Palestinian peace process: the role of the Council of Europe

Resolution 2202 (2018)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 25 January 2018 (7th Sitting) (see Doc. 14484, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Titus Corlăţean). Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 January 2018 (7th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly recalls its Resolution 1940 (2013) on the situation in the Middle East, where it “reiterates its support for a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the 1967 borders, which, in view of the new realities on the ground, could be accompanied by limited land swap, as has recently been accepted by the Arab countries”. It adds that Jerusalem could well become the capital of both the State of Israel and the future Palestinian State, as a result of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
2. The Assembly regrets the declaration of the President of the United States of America, of 6 December 2017, saying that it was “time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” and that preparations would begin “to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem”. At the same time, the Assembly notes that, in the same declaration, the United States President stated that his country was “not taking a position of any final status issues”, and that he underlined “those questions are up to the parties involved” and “the United States would support a two-State solution if agreed to by both sides”.
3. The Assembly recalls the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the necessity for all parties involved to abide by their legal obligations and responsibilities under international law and to refrain from any unilateral measures that undermine the prospects of the peace process, including the status of Jerusalem, which should be decided by common agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, taking into consideration the Hashemite historical custodianship over Christian and Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
4. The international community as a whole expressed serious concerns about the consequences of this declaration concerning Jerusalem on the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians and the prospects for a solution to their conflict.
5. The Parliamentary Assembly shares such concerns and regrets that the peace process has been discontinued. It no longer seems to be a priority for the United States, Europe and several Arab States. It considers, however, that the present context could provide an opportunity to relaunch the peace process. It is the responsibility of the international community, including the Council of Europe, to act decisively in order to create the proper conditions to attain this goal.
6. The role of the United States as a serious broker in the peace process was undoubtedly undermined by its president’s declaration on Jerusalem. The country’s future role should be based on a renewed attitude of neutrality in the peace process. In this context, Europe should play a major role in the sponsorship and resumption of the peace process.
7. The Assembly is aware of the fact that this is a complex issue and that the Council of Europe continues to take an interest in the progress of the peace process and could play a helpful role. The Parliamentary Assembly is unique in that it has both an Israeli observer delegation and a Palestinian partner for democracy delegation. It also has contacts with other parliaments in the region, such as those of Jordan, which also has partner for democracy status, Egypt and Lebanon.
8. The Assembly regrets that the Palestinian reconciliation, announced so many times, has not yet produced concrete results, thus undermining the prospects of relaunching negotiations. It also regrets the ongoing building of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, thus undermining the feasibility of the two-State solution.
9. The Assembly therefore refers to its Resolution 1940 (2013) and reiterates, in particular, its support for two equally legitimate aspirations: Israel’s right to be recognised and live in security, and the Palestinians’ right to have an independent, viable and contiguous State, and:
9.1 calls on the Israeli authorities to stop the building of new settlements and the extension of old ones, and to cease all home demolitions, forced evictions and confiscation of land in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem.
9.2 calls on all Palestinian forces to conclude, without further delay and in a transparent manner, the reconciliation, already announced several times, between Fatah and Hamas, based on the principles of the Quartet, thus also enhancing the credibility of the Palestinian side in the negotiations with Israel, and cease support for those imprisoned following convictions for terrorist acts and their relatives;
9.3 resolves to continue to promote dialogue and confidence building between representatives of the Knesset and the Palestinian National Council, in particular in the framework of the Sub-Committee on the Middle East and the Arab World, and to make available to both representative bodies its own experience in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. For this purpose it could consider using the tripartite forum referred to in Resolutions 1420 (2005) on the prospects for peace in the Middle East and 1550 (2007) on the situation in the Middle East, allowing parliamentarians from those two delegations and the Parliamentary Assembly to sit together on an equal footing and engage in meaningful dialogue leading to concrete proposals. The Assembly should therefore find ways of actively supporting the relaunching of the peace process, including through contacts with the directly concerned parties and other stakeholders of the process, mainly in the areas of competence of the Council of Europe.