Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement
Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement
Statement / Middle East & North Africa 8 minutes

Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement

135 respected global leaders -- former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organisations -- have today joined in a call for urgent international action to comprehensively resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Their statement (full text and signatories below) says there is a “desperate need for fresh thinking and the injection of new political will” if the conflict, “with all its terrible consequences”, is ever to be settled. They say that ideally there would be a new all-in international conference to kick-start detailed negotiations, but that whether or not this can happen soon, there should be:

  • International support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority;
  • Talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, on both the immediate issues of mutual security and revival of the Palestinian economy, and on the core final-status political issues;
  • These talks to be mediated or sponsored by the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia) -- reinforced by participation of the Arab League and key regional countries --  who would also initiate talks on the outstanding issues between Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

“There is a real hunger out there for present-day political leaders to take hold of this catastrophically divisive issue and resolve it once and for all,” said Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, which organised the statement.

“It is remarkable how much immediate support there was for this statement from so many highly experienced, top-level former public sector leaders from around the world and across the political spectrum. Like the great majority of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, they just want to get things moving now, cut through the obstacles, and put in place the elements of a sustainable peace.”

This statement is part of Crisis Group’s new global advocacy initiative, announced on 22 September, designed to generate fresh political momentum behind a comprehensive settlement following the chaos of the last few months. Other elements involve brainstorming sessions on strategy with UN, Quartet and regional experts, led by Middle East Program Director Rob Malley; a particular effort to stimulate a bipartisan rethink of US policy; task force visits to key capitals; and a continuing stream of Crisis Group reports and briefings containing detailed analysis and policy recommendations.

Towards a Comprehensive Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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, ideally 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, including:

  • Support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority.
  • 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 agreement.
  • 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 injection of new political will. The times demand no less.

Morton Abramowitz
Former US Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey and Thailand

Adnan Abu-Odeh
Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah II and King Hussein, Jordan

Esko Aho
Former Prime Minister, Finland

Ali Alatas
Former Foreign Minister, Indonesia

Abdul-Kareem Al-Eryani
Former Prime Minister, Yemen

Raúl Alfonsín
Former President, Argentina

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon
Former UN High Representative for Bosnia & Herzegovina

Lloyd Axworthy
Former Foreign Minister, Canada

Peter Barry
Former Foreign Minister, Ireland

Shlomo Ben-Ami
Former Foreign Minister, Israel

Alexander Bessmertnykh
Former Foreign Minister, Soviet Union

Carl Bildt
Former Prime Minister, Sweden

Valdis Birkavs
Former Prime Minister, Latvia

James Bolger
Former Prime Minister, New Zealand

Kjell Magne Bondevik
Former Prime Minister, Norway

Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Former Secretary-General, UN

Lakhdar Brahimi
Former Foreign Minister, Algeria, and UN Special Representative

Gro Harlem Brundtland
Former Prime Minister, Norway

Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former National Security Advisor to the President, United States

Kim Campbell
Former Prime Minister, Canada; Secretary General, Club of Madrid

Ingvar Carlsson
Former Prime Minister, Sweden

Frank Carlucci
Former Secretary of Defense, United States

Jimmy Carter
39th President, United States; Nobel Peace Prize 2002

Maria Livanos Cattaui
Former Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce

Naresh Chandra
Former Indian Cabinet Secretary and Ambassador to US

Claude Cheysson
Former Foreign Minister, France

Jean Chrétien
Former Prime Minister, Canada

Wesley Clark
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

Gerard Collins
Former Foreign Minister, Ireland

Pat Cox
Former President, European Parliament

Jacques Delors
Former President, European Commission

Gianni De Michelis
Former Foreign Minister, Italy

Ruth Dreifuss 
Former President, Switzerland

Roland Dumas
Former Foreign Minister, France

Shirin Ebadi
Nobel Peace Prize 2003; Iran

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Former Foreign Minister, Denmark

Gareth Evans
President, International Crisis Group; Former Foreign Minister, Australia

Mark Eyskens
Former Prime Minister, Belgium

José María Figueres
Former President, Costa Rica

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
Former President, Iceland

Joschka Fischer
Former Foreign Minister, Germany

Malcolm Fraser
Former Prime Minister, Australia

Anil K Gayan
Former Foreign Minister, Mauritius

Leslie H Gelb
President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations, United States

Bronisław Geremek
Former Foreign Minister, Poland

Kiro Gligorov
Former President, Macedonia

Richard Goldstone
Former Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Felipe González Márquez
Former Prime Minister, Spain

Mikhail S Gorbachev
Former President, Soviet Union; Nobel Peace Prize 1990

I K Gujral
Former Prime Minister, India

Tenzin Gyatso
14th Dalai Lama; Nobel Peace Prize 1989

Vahit M Halefoğlu
Former Foreign Minister, Turkey

Lee Hamilton
Former Congressman, United States; Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Bob Hawke
Former Prime Minister, Australia

Bill Hayden
Former Governor-General and Foreign Minister, Australia

Carla Hills
Former Trade Representative, United States

Lena Hjelm-Wallén
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sweden

Raffi K Hovannisian
Former Foreign Minister, Armenia

Lord Howe of Aberavon
Former Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, UK

John Hume
Nobel Peace Prize 1998; Northern Ireland

Lord Hurd of Westwell
Former Foreign Secretary, UK

George Iacovou
Former Foreign Minister, Cyprus

Anwar Ibrahim
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia

James Ingram
Former Executive Director, UN World Food Programme

Asma Jahangir
Chair, Pakistan Human Rights Commission; UN Special Rapporteur

Max Jakobson
Former Ambassador of Finland to the UN
Lionel Jospin
Former Prime Minister, France

Marwan S Kasim 
Former Foreign Minister, Jordan

Kim Dae-jung
Former President, Republic of Korea; Nobel Peace Prize 2000

F W de Klerk
Former President, South Africa; Nobel Peace Prize 1993

Wim Kok
Former Prime Minister, Netherlands

Bernard Kouchner
Founder, Médecins Sans Frontières; Former Minister, France, and UN Special Representative

Milan Kučan
Former President, Slovenia

Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Former President, Poland

Ricardo Lagos
Former President, Chile

Zlatko Lagumdžija
Former Prime Minister, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Anthony Lake
Former National Security Advisor to the President, United States

Lee Hong-Koo
Former Prime Minister, Republic of Korea

Ahmed Maher
Former Foreign Minister, Egypt

Abdul Salam Majali
Former Prime Minister, Jordan

John Major
Former Prime Minister, UK

Barbara McDougall
Former External Affairs Secretary, Canada

Matthew F McHugh
Former US Congressman and World Bank Counselor

Robert McNamara
Former Secretary of Defense, United States

Rexhep Meidani
Former President, Albania

Najib Mikati
Former Prime Minister, Lebanon

Mike Moore
Former Prime Minister, New Zealand; Former Director-General, WTO

Marwan Muasher
Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Jordan

Klaus Naumann
Former Chairman, North Atlantic Military Committee of NATO, Germany

Boyko Noev
Former Minister of Defence, Bulgaria

Ayo Obe
Chair, World Movement for Democracy, Nigeria

Sadako Ogata
Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Lord Owen of the City of Plymouth
Former Foreign Secretary, UK

Anand Panyarachun
Former Prime Minister, Thailand

Andrés Pastrana
Former President, Colombia

Lord Patten of Barnes
Co-Chair, International Crisis Group; Former European Commissioner for External Relations

Thomas Pickering
Co-Chair, International Crisis Group; Former US Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Nigeria

Josep Piqué
Former Foreign Minister, Spain

Surin Pitsuwan
Former Foreign Minister, Thailand

Yevgeny Primakov
Former Prime Minister, Russia

Jorge Quiroga
Former President, Bolivia

Augusto Ramírez Ocampo
Former Foreign Minister, Colombia

Fidel V Ramos
Former President, Philippines

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
Former Prime Minister, Denmark

Abdur-ra’uf Rawabdeh
Former Prime Minister, Jordan

Malcolm Rifkind
Former Foreign Secretary, UK

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
Former Defence Secretary, UK, and NATO Secretary-General

Mary Robinson
Former President, Ireland, and High Commissioner for Human Rights

Michel Rocard
Former Prime Minister, France

Petre Roman
Former Prime Minister, Romania

Adam Daniel Rotfeld
Former Foreign Minister, Poland

Nafis Sadik
Former Executive Director, UN Population Fund

Mohamed Sahnoun
Former Algerian Ambassador; UN Special Adviser

Ghassan Salamé
Former Culture Minister, Lebanon

Salim Ahmed Salim
Former Secretary General, OAU, and Prime Minister, Tanzania

Jorge Sampaio
Former President, Portugal

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Former President, Bolivia

Mario Soares
Former President, Portugal

Stephen Solarz
Former Chair, Africa & Asia Subcommittees, US Congress

Cornelio Sommaruga
Former President, International Committee of the Red Cross

George Soros
Chairman, Open Society Institute

Pär Stenbäck
Former Foreign Minister, Finland

Thorvald Stoltenberg
Former Foreign Minister, Norway

HRH El Hassan bin Talal
Founder, Arab Thought Forum, Jordan

Leo Tindemans
Former Prime Minister, Belgium

Alex S Trigona
Former Foreign Minister, Malta

Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town; Nobel Peace Prize 1984

Cassam Uteem
Former President, Mauritius

Hans van den Broek
Former Foreign Minister, Netherlands, and European Commissioner for External Relations

Ed van Thijn
Former Minister and Mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands

George Vassiliou
Former President, Cyprus

Hubert Védrine
Former Foreign Minister, France

Richard von Weizsäcker
Former President, Germany

Baroness Williams of Crosby
Former Cabinet Minister, UK

Ernesto Zedillo
Former President, Mexico

Garret FitzGerald
Former Prime Minister, Ireland

Franz Vranitzky
Former Federal Chancellor, Austria

Organized by Crisis Group with assistance from the Club of Madrid and placed with support from the Radcliffe Foundation, Iara Lee & George Gund Foundation and Hamza Al Kholi.

Brussels/Washington/New York/London/Amman

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