05 June 2007

A Question Of Viability

Israel and Palestine: a Question of Viability. A Christian Aid report June 2007. We believe in life before deathIn further response to the reader who thought I ought to say more about the struggle for peace in the Middle East, in addition to my post yesterday exploring the effects of the 1967 Six Day War on the rise of political Islam, may I commend to you the Christian Aid report launched at Chatham House yesterday?

Israel and Palestine: a question of viability

Failure to secure a lasting solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is causing poverty to deepen, and allowing violence and despair to persist. Poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) has increased more than threefold since the Oslo peace process began in 1993, while violence on both sides has escalated. Combined with the regional and global implications of this conflict, there is an urgent need to address the situation as a whole – and without delay – if further human misery is to be avoided, and before the rapidly changing facts on the ground preclude any lasting solution.

The international Quartet comprising the United Nations, European Union, USA and Russia, has repeatedly voiced its commitment to a viable Palestinian state but has yet to define what this means. Meanwhile, Israel is imposing de facto changes that erode the very foundations of a viable Palestinian state.

Christian Aid believes the way forward requires a long-term, just and peaceful solution that brings an end to occupation and guarantees viability for both Palestinians and Israelis. This requires a radical shift from the current political stalemate to a position where Palestinians, Israelis and the international community create the political will to take the bold steps necessary to implement such a viable solution.

Christian Aid has consulted with its Palestinian and Israeli partners, as well as other experts from the region and from Europe and the US, to consider what viability means for Palestinians and Israelis. In this document we explore the elements of and process towards a viable solution and bring it to the political debate. We demonstrate how viability is the defining characteristic of a lasting solution to the conflict, and provide a checklist against which any solution can be analysed to answer the question: is it viable?

Checklist for viability

Essential elements for viability are:
  • an end to occupation: the bedrock of viability
  • self-determination and sovereignty: exercise free political will and be free from external control
  • effective governance: a coherent political system and government control over the collection and use of financial resources
  • protection of rights: for Palestinians and Israelis
  • security for all: the security of Israelis is indivisible from that of Palestinians
  • freedom of movement: between and within the West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • control over natural resources: land, water, minerals, sea – for the benefit of the whole population
  • economic growth and prosperity: an end to aid dependency.
The process towards viability must be:
  • guided by international law
  • impartial
  • and must hold both sides to account, bringing an end to impunity.