Redefining a new Middle-East Regional Diplomatic Process

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Brainstorming Task Force Project (February-April l2013) – Minutes of Meetings

Preface

A series of meetings were held between civil society activists from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Lebanon during the first two weeks of February 2013, following a few workshops held during 2012. The meetings and workshops were jointly facilitated by the undersigned.

The purpose of the meetings was to jointly propose several approaches for a new regional diplomatic process, which will create renewed momentum and ensure the success of the bilateral Israeli and Palestinian negotiations track -instead of the classic bilateral process. Below are the minutes of the meetings held and the key recommendations.

Key points discussed and agreed:

We, a group of Arab and Israeli civil society activists from the Middle-East region, call upon the leaders of the International Community and the Middle-East to launch a new regional diplomatic process to break the deadlock in current bilateral negotiations between Israel and the State of Palestine.

We are concerned by the continuous failures of the traditional bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations process. We believe that a new regional approach should be adopted by the Quartet in coordination with the Arab States and Israel, based on an International Conference which includes the Arab States and Israel, to ensure the success of the Israeli-Palestinian bilateral negotiations with a regional umbrella. With envision a process based on the following principles, closely followed by the international community:

  1. At the core of this new regional process, and the basis for the permanent end-game status agreements that define the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict, we envision the Arab Peace Initiative (API) of March 2002 and concurrently, we call for an official Israeli Peace Initiative (IPI) that accepts the API as the basis for these agreements.
  2. The process should be set with clear timelines, guarantees and diplomatic incentives to all parties. It is viewed that the conference must reach a solution within 12 months from its launch.
  3. The conference will focus on the Israeli-Palestinian track as its top priority, but will engage in the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks once applicable.
  4. The parties will commit to fulfill their respective and mutual obligations as set in the Roadmap document of 2002.
  5. The conference will re-launch some of the Multi-lateral tracks, especially regional security, water and refugees.

We are encouraged by the decision taken by the recent Arab Summit in Doha to send an Arab delegation (led by Qatar and the API Arab follow-up committee) to the World Capitals and the UN in order to promote a process with clear time-frame and benchmarks. We consider it as a fruitful step towards “regionalization” which will push forward the Israeli-Palestinian bilateral negotiations.

We reference and present here several proposals in line with the above principles, in order to demonstrate that the regional diplomatic process is feasible .We recommend that these proposals be considered by the new US administration, the Quartet and the regional players as the basis for the regional diplomatic framework.

Our focus is not on diplomatic principles – but on the need for courageous leadership in the region. We are confident that professional diplomats will finalize the formula. Yet, due to sense of urgency we share, we ask all leaders to demonstrate a sense of responsibility to the future of our region, for the sake of the current and future generations.

On behalf of the participants in the brainstorming task-force

Summarized and signed today, April 8, 2013.

 

Walid Salem

Chairman
Palestine
The Center for Diplomacy and Community Development (CDCD)

Koby Huberman

Co-Founder and Leader
Israel
The Israel Peace Initiative Group (IPI)