Declaration on the situation in the Middle East

Meeting of the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, Tangier, 21-22 March 1997


(Original: French)

On the basis of information provided by the member parties of the Middle East Committee (SIMEC), in particular MAPAM-Meretz and Fatah, the SI Mediterranean Committee, meeting in Tangier on 21 and 22 March 1997:

- condemns the suicide-attack committed in Tel Aviv on 21 March as it condemns all individual or organised violence against civilians, on either side;

- expresses its anxiety with regard to the unprecedented crisis in the peace process, the deterioration of Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-Jordanian relationships, the military escalation in the Lebanon and the total freeze in Israeli-Syrian negotiations. It notes that the freeze in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is at the heart of this crisis, and considers that the provocative policy of the Israeli right, the escalation of settlement colonisation and the absence of dialogue with the Palestinian authorities with regard to implementing the signed agreements, represent the principal factors in the mounting tension in the region;

- commends the Israeli forces for peace and particularly the Israeli member parties and encourages them to continue and intensify their political struggle to make the Israeli government respect and apply the agreements signed in the spirit in which they were intended, and calls for greater international mobilisation to save the peace process which is now seriously threatened;

- aware of the complexity of the matters still to be discussed and which appear on the agenda for negotiations on the permanent status which should have already begun, the Committee stresses the importance of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue within the SI framework on the complex questions of Jerusalem, colonies and refugees. Dialogue, as proven over the last few years, is often decisive in creating conditions for real negotiation;

- finally, expresses the conviction that Europe, which in Barcelona undertook to strive for a just and durable peace in the Middle East, can and must play an increased political role in the search for peace, and stresses the particular responsibility of European socialists in these matters.