The Middle East Quartet: A progress report | Israeli Settlement

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The Middle East Quartet, comprising Russia, USA, EU, and UN, identified 2008 as a crucial year for the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and the period in which to realise agreements made at the Annapolis Conference on 22 November 2007. Quartet members committed to assisting parties to meet their specific obligations and to promoting a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement of the conflict in the Middle East.4 The deadline for an agreement by the end of 2008 is now looming and seems unlikely to be met. Indeed, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated: 'so far there has been no achievement in the negotiationsナ I cannot say that there has been an agreement on a single issue. The gap between the sides is very large.ヤ This report provides recommendations to Quartet members on how best to respond to ensure urgently needed progress. Unless there is a swift and dramatic improvement, it will be necessary to question what the future is for the Middle East Quartet.
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  UK Save the Children SWEDEN Save the Children THEMIDDLEEASTQUARTET: A PROGRESSREPORT REPORT EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 EST, 04:01 GMT THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2008  2 The signatories to this report are: CAFOD, CARE Deutschland – Luxemburg; CARE France; CARE Nederland;CARE Norge; CARE  Ő sterreich; CARE International UK, Christian Aid, DanChurchAid,diakonia, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, medico international, Medicos del Mundo,Oxfam International, Save the Children Sweden, Save the Children UK;United Civilians for Peace (a coalition of Dutch organisations –Oxfam Novib, Cordaid, ICCO and IKV Pax Christi), World Vision Jerusalem For more information, please contact Crisis Action on +44 (0)207 269 9451gemma.mortensen@crisisaction.org REPORT EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 EST, 04:01 GMT THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2008  CONTENTS  THE MIDDLE EAST QUARTET:  A PROGRESS REPORT 1. Executive Summary 42. Assessment of Quartet Progress 6a) Settlements 6b) Access and Movement 10c) Gaza 13d) Comprehensive Palestinian Security Strategy 18e) Donor Pledges 20f) Private Sector 223. Conclusions and Recommendations 244. Appendix – Quartet Berlin Statement, 24 June 2008 26 3 CONTENTS Front cover picture - David Silverman / Getty Images REPORT EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 EST, 04:01 GMT THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2008  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY  THE MIDDLE EAST QUARTET:  A PROGRESS REPORT 4 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As this report demonstrates, the lack of progress on keygoals calls the Quartet’s current approach into question.In its Berlin statement, the Quartet expressed the “urgent need for more visible progress on theground in order to build confidence and support  progress in the negotiations launched in Annapolis”.  This “visible progress” has notmaterialised. Analysis of the reality on the grounddemonstrates that in five of the ten areas in which theQuartet has laid down clear recommendations, therehas been either no progress or an actual deterioration inthe situation. Clearly, a new approach is warranted.Moreover, the Quartet’s capacity to encourage positivedevelopments has been weakest in the three areaswhere progress is now most urgent: settlements, liftingobstacles to movement and access, and bringing an endto the blockade of Gaza.The Middle East Quartet, comprising Russia, USA, EU,and UN, identified 2008 as a crucial year for the MiddleEast Peace Process (MEPP) and the period in which torealise agreements made at the Annapolis Conferenceon 22 November 2007. 3 Quartet members committedto assisting parties to meet their specific obligations andto promoting a just, comprehensive, and lastingsettlement of the conflict in the Middle East. 4 Thedeadline for an agreement by the end of 2008 is nowlooming and seems unlikely to be met. Indeed, thePalestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated: ‘so farthere has been no achievement in the negotiations… Icannot say that there has been an agreement on asingle issue. The gap between the sides is very large.” 5 The Quartet’s meeting in New York comes at a criticalmoment for the Quartet to demonstrate that it canplay an effective role in bringing peace to the MiddleEast.This report outlines the Quartet’s ownrecommendations across six areas that it considered tobe of vital importance for the broader peace process. Itassesses the impact that limited progress has had onthe daily lives of Palestinians and Israelis. The Quartet’sBerlin statement provides a clear picture of theprogress needed and, as the most recent declaration ofthe Quartet, will be used as a basis for this report. 6 Thestatement, like this report, focuses on  settlements,access and movement, Gaza, Palestinian securitysector reform, donor pledges, and the revival ofprivate sector activity in the oPt. The Quartet has rightly emphasised that progress in keyareas is the only way to prevent further deterioration inthe everyday lives of Palestinians and Israelis and in theoverall political process itself. The Quartet’s meeting inNew York provides an opportunity to re-group,recommit, and decide on additional steps that can betaken to ensure that parties comply with theirobligations under the roadmap and international law.This report provides recommendations to Quartetmembers on how best to respond to ensure urgentlyneeded progress. Unless there is a swift and dramaticimprovement, it will be necessary to question what thefuture is for the Middle East Quartet. 1 Available at www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/downloads/oxfam_gaza_lowres.pdf. 2 See www.unicef.org/infobycountry/oPt_statistics.html. 3 See Quartet Statements of 24 June 2008, 2 May 2008, and 17 December 2007 at www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jun/106215.htm, www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/may/104319.htm, and www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/dec/97671.htm. 4 See Quartet Statement at Annapolis Conference on 27 November 2008 at www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/nov/95667.htm and President Bush, ‘Joint Understanding read by President Bush at the Annapolis Conference’ 27 November2007 and speech at www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rm/2007/95695.htm. 5 Mahmoud Abbas quoted in Haaretz, Sunday 14 September 2008 at www.haaretz.com. 6 See Quartet Statements of 24 June 2008, 2 May 2008, and 17 December 2007 at www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jun/106215.htm, www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/may/104319.htm, and www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/dec/97671.htm. The humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continues (see ‘The Gaza Strip: AHumanitarian Implosion’). 1 Its population of 3.7 million people, 52 per cent of whom are children, strugglefor their basic needs. 2 Palestinian women, children, and men are increasingly dependent on aid as theirlivelihoods are destroyed. The only sustainable solution to the crisis is a comprehensive peace settlementbetween Israelis and Palestinians based on international law. As humanitarian and development and humanrights organisations, we believe that immediate steps can and must be taken to relieve suffering, as wellas to ensure that a peace agreement is eventually reached. REPORT EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 EST, 04:01 GMT THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2008
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