Division for Palestinian Rights

DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO THE MIDDLE EAST

PEACE PROCESS 

  

Issue 26 • January-December 2011

Statement by the Government of Chile recognizing the State of Palestine

Santiago, 7 January  2011

·

Joint statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and

Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov on the situation in North

Africa and the Middle East

Brussels, 24 February 2011

·

 Proposal on peace initiative presented by leaders from Israel’s industry and security agencies

Tel Aviv, 6 April 2011

·

Remarks by US President Barack Obama on the Middle East and North Africa

Washington D.C., 19 May 2011

·

Statement by the EU and Russia on the Middle East Peace Process

Ninzhny Novgorod, 10 June 2011

·

Conclusions by the Council of the EU on the Middle East Peace Process

Brussels, 18 July 2011

·

Remarks by Quartet Representative Tony Blair on the Middle East Peace Negotiations

Jerusalem, 5 September 2011

·

Press Release by the European Parliament on Palestine’s bid for statehood

Brussels, 29 September 2011

·

Remarks by EU High Representative Ashton after EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on the Middle East Peace Process

Luxembourg, 10 October 2011

·

Conclusions by the Council of the EU on the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

Luxembourg, 10 October 2011

·

Press Release on the Quartet Envoy’s activities on the Middle East Peace Process  

Jerusalem, 27 October 2011

·

Press Release by the Quartet Representative on the transfer of Palestinian Tax and Custom Revenue to the Palestinians

Jerusalem, 23 November 2011

·

 Statement by the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis response on the occasion of the  International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Brussels, 28 November 2011

·

Resolution by the Parliament of Iceland on an independent and sovereign Palestine

Reykjavik, 29 November 2011

<

This bulletin and its back issues can be found in the

United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) at:

*

Printed copies of this publication, and back issues, can be obtained from:

United Nations

Division for Palestinian Rights

New York, New York 10017

 Tel:   917-367-5570

Fax: 212-963-4199


Statement by the Government of Chile recognizing the State of Palestine

Santiago, 7 January 2011

On 7 January 2011, the government of Chile issued a statement, recognizing the State of Palestine. The following is the text of the statement:

1. The State of Chile has permanently and consistently supported the right of the Palestinian people to constitute as an independent State, coexisting in peace with the State of Israel. Likewise, it has fully endorsed the right of the State of Israel to exist within safe and internationally recognized borders.

 

2. To achieve these objectives, the Government of Chile strongly supports and deems it essential to reinvigorate the process of negotiations between both parties, with the support of the International Community, in order to reach a full, definitive and satisfactory peace agreement, in accordance with the Resolutions adopted by the United Nations Organization.

 

3. In this context, the Government of Chile has decided today to grant its recognition to the existence of the State of Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign State.

 

4. In addition, the Government of Chile reports that in the month of March, President Sebastián Piñera will visit Israel and Palestine, to ratify his support to negotiations aimed at achieving, as soon as possible, an agreement between both States and strengthening the friendship and cooperation ties between Chile and the States of Israel and Palestine.

 

5. The Government of Chile avails itself of this opportunity to express a special acknowledgment to the Jewish and Palestinian communities in Chile, for their valuable contribution to the country's social, cultural, political and economic development over many decades and for their full integration to our society. Their fraternal coexistence has been a clear example of good relations that we hope will serve as an inspiration for the States of Israel and Palestine.

Joint statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and

Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov on the situation in North

Africa and the Middle East

Brussels, 24 February 2011

On 24 February 2011, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherin Ashton and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov issued a statement on the Middle East peace process. The following is the text of the statement:

Reaffirming the positions set forth by Brussels and Moscow in recent days, as well as expressing support for the statement by the Council of the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council press statement issued on 22 February 2011, the High Representative and the Minister declare the following.

We condemn and consider unacceptable the use of military force to break up peaceful demonstrations, as well as any other manifestations of violence and insist on an immediate cessation of such actions. In particular, we strongly condemn the violence and the use of force against civilians in Libya, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. We express deep regret and condolences for the loss of human lives. We urge all parties involved to show responsibility, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and ensure the safety of civilians and foreign nationals.

Massive protests expose a range of problems that have accumulated within societies. These problems should be addressed by peoples of relevant countries through national dialogue involving all political forces and society strata aimed at reaching public consensus regarding the ways out of the crisis and conducting the much-needed transformations. Democratization processes should evolve in peaceful forms and within a legal framework.

Supporting the peoples of Arab countries in their aspirations for a more just and prosperous life, the European Union and Russia stand ready to provide economic and other assistance to interested countries at their request.

The High Representative and the Minister stress in particular that current upheavals in countries of the region should not be used as a pretext for preserving an impasse in the efforts to establish comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. On the contrary, these efforts should be intensified. The achievement of a just settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a crucially important component of the efforts aimed at stabilization and sustainable development of the region as a whole. As members of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators, the European Union and Russia will seek at its Ministerial meeting in Paris in mid-March the adoption of effective decisions encouraging the parties to resume Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and opening the way to a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East within the existing international legal framework without any attempts to prejudge the final status issues through unilateral actions, first of all through settlement activities.

The High Representative and the Minister reaffirm their support for the efforts to re-establish Palestinian unity on the basis of principles enshrined in the Arab Peace initiative.

/…

Proposal on peace initiative presented by leaders from Israel’s industry and security agencies

Tel Aviv, 6 April 2011

On 6 April 2011, leaders from Israel’s industry and security agencies presented a proposal on a peace initiative with the Palestinians.  The following is the text of the proposal:

The State of Israel,

  • Reaffirming that Israel’s strategic objective is to reach a historic compromise and permanent status agreements that shall determine the finality of all claims and the end of the Israeli Arab conflict, in order to achieve permanent and lasting peace, lasting and guaranteed security, regional economic prosperity and normal ties with all Arab and Islamic states,
  • Recognizing the suffering of the Palestinian refugees since the 1948 war as well as of the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries, and realizing the need to resolve the Palestinian refugees problem through realistic and mutually agreed-upon solutions,
  • Realizing that wide-scale multilateral economic cooperation is essential in order to ensure the prosperity of the Middle East, its environmental sustainability and the future of its peoples,
  • Recognizing the Arab Peace Initiative of March 2002 (API) as a historic effort made by the Arab states to reach a breakthrough and achieve progress on a regional basis, and sharing the API statement “that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties,”

Therefore Israel accepts the API as a framework for regional peace negotiations and presents the IPI as an integrated response to the API, and as a vision of the regional final-status agreements to be negotiated and signed between the Arab states, the Palestinians and Israel, based on the following proposed principles:

1) CONFLICT RESOLUTION PRINCIPLES

The key principle of all regional peace agreements shall be Israeli withdrawals, guaranteed security, normal relations and end of all conflicts, while recognizing the security needs of all parties, the water resources challenges, the demographic realities on the ground, and the interests and needs of the followers of the three monotheistic faiths; Furthermore, the Israeli Palestinian conflict shall be resolved on the principle of two states for two nations: Palestine as a nation state for the Palestinians and Israel as a nation state for the Jews (in which the Arab minority will have equal and full civil rights as articulated in Israel’s Declaration of Independence). On this basis, the following parameters are proposed:

1a) Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution Parameters

1. Statehood and Security – A sovereign independent Palestinian state shall be formed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on territories from which Israel withdrew. The state shall be demilitarized, exercising full authority over its internal security forces. The International community shall play an active role in providing border security and curbing terrorist threats.

2. Borders – The borders shall be based on the June 4, 1967, lines, with agreed modifications subject to the following principles: the creation of territorial contiguity between the Palestinian territories; land swaps (not to exceed 7% of the West Bank) based on a 1:1 ratio, including the provision of a safe corridor between the West Bank and Gaza, under de facto Palestinian control.

3. Jerusalem – The greater Jerusalem area shall include the two capitals of the two states. The line shall be drawn so that: Jewish neighborhoods shall be under Israeli sovereignty; the Arab neighborhoods shall be under Palestinian sovereignty; special arrangements shall be implemented in the Old City, ensuring that the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall shall be under Israeli sovereignty; the Temple Mount shall remain under a special no-sovereignty regime (“God Sovereignty”), with special agreed-upon arrangements, ensuring that Islamic holy places shall be administered by the Moslem Waqf, and Jewish holy sites and interests shall be administered by Israel. The implementation of these arrangements will be supervised by an Israeli-International committee.

4. Refugees – The solutions for the Palestinian refugees shall be agreed upon between Israel, the Palestinians and all regional parties in accordance with the following principles: Financial compensation shall be offered to the refugees and the host countries by the international community and Israel; the Palestinian refugees wishing to return (as mentioned in UNGAR 194) may do so only to the Palestinian state, with mutually agreed-upon symbolic exceptions.

1b) Israeli-Syrian Conflict Resolution Parameters

1. Borders – Israel shall withdraw from the Golan to a border-line to be designed based on the June 4, 1967 status, with agreed minor modifications and land swaps based on a 1:1 ratio, reflecting the 1923 international border. The agreement shall be mutually implemented in stages, based on the Sinai model, over a period not to exceed 5 years.

2. Security Arrangements –A comprehensive security package shall be mutually agreed, defining, inter alia, the scope of demilitarized zones on both sides of the border and the deployment of peace keeping international forces.

1c) Israeli-Lebanese Conflict Resolution Parameters

1. Borders – Israel and Lebanon shall establish permanent peace based on UNSCR 1701, subject to which Israel concluded its withdrawal to the international border.

2. Lebanese Sovereignty – In addition to the full implementation of UNSCR 1701, Lebanon shall exercise full sovereignty over its territory through the Lebanese army.

1d) State of Peace

In each of the Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian and the Israeli-Lebanese peace agreements the respective parties agree to apply between them the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law governing relations among states in time of peace; to settle all disputes between them by peaceful means; to develop good neighborly relations of co-operation between them to ensure lasting security; to refrain from the threat or use of force against each other and from forming any coalition, organization or alliance with a third party, the objectives or activities of which include launching aggression or hostility against the other party.

2) REGIONAL SECURITY PRINCIPLES

1. The parties will create regional security mechanisms, addressing shared threats and risks arising from states, terrorist organizations, marine pirate groups, and guerrilla organizations. to ensure the safety and security of the peoples of the region.

2. The parties shall build regional frameworks to jointly fight against crime and environmental threats.

3) ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES

Based on significant economic support by the international community, the parties shall implement wide-scale regional cooperation projects in order to ensure the stabilization, viability and prosperity of the region, and to achieve optimal utilization of energy and water resources for the benefit of all parties. Such projects will improve transportation infrastructure, agriculture, industry and regional tourism, thus addressing the rising danger of unemployment in the region. In the future, the parties shall create the “Middle East Economic Development Bloc” (inviting all Middle Eastern countries to join), aiming at reaching a special status in the EU, the US and the International Community.

4) STEPS TOWARDS NORMAL RELATIONS PRINCIPLES

Israel, the Arab States and the Islamic States commit to implement gradual steps towards establishing normal relations between them, in the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative, which shall commence upon the launching of peace negotiations and shall be gradually upgraded to full normal relations (including diplomatic relations, open borders and economic ties) upon the signing of the permanent status agreements and throughout their implementation.

Remarks by President Obama on North Africa and the Middle East

 Washington, 19 May 2011

On 19 May 2011, President Obama delivered a speech on the Middle East Peace Process. The following are excerpts of the   remarks:

 /…

The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa.  Square by square; town by town; country by country; the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith.

/…

For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security, prosperity, and empowerment to ordinary people.

My Administration has worked with the parties and the international community for over two years to end this conflict, yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on for decades, and sees a stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward.

I disagree.  At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.

As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.

The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people – not just a few leaders – must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.

Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away. But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat.  Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

These principles provide a foundation for negotiations.  Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.

Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.

I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. He said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” And we see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate…Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow”

That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.

/…

/…

Statement by the EU and Russia on Middle East Peace Process

Nizhny Novgorod, 9-10 June

On 9-10 June 2011, EU and Russia summit issued a statement on the Middle East peace process. The following is the text of the statement:

As regards international issues developments in North Africa and the Middle East were subject to a comprehensive discussion with detailed exchanges in particular on Libya and Syria. Both sides agreed that all violence must be ended and also shared concerns about situation in Yemen. On the Middle East Peace Process, both sides welcomed the Palestinian reconciliation deal and stressed the need for a Ministerial Quartet meeting soon. There was a short exchange of views on Iran.

 

Conclusions by the Council of the EU on the Middle East Peace Process

Brussels, 18 July 2011

On 18 July 2011, the EU Council adopted the following conclusions:

The EU continues to believe that urgent progress is needed towards a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU reiterates its concern at the continuing stalemate in the Peace Process and calls on the parties to show the highest sense of responsibility and to resume direct and substantive talks.

The EU stresses the central role of the Quartet and fully supports the High Representative in her continued efforts for the Quartet to create a credible perspective for the re-launching of the peace process.

The EU has set out and will continue to promote actively its position with regard to parameters as contained in Council Conclusions of December 2009, December 2010 and May 2011.

Remarks by Quartet Representative Tony Blair on the Middle East Peace Negotiations

Jerusalem, 5 September 2011

On 5 September 2011, Quartet Representative Tony Blair delivered remarks on the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. A summary of the remarks is produced below:

 “Anything by way of economics can never be a substitute for politics,” Tony Blair stressed, in what is his seventieth visit to the region since taking up the Quartet Representative role.

But as far as making progress is concerned, there is “an intimate relationship between economics, politics and security” meaning building the economy “helps politics to work.”

Asked about what he thinks will happen in the region in the next few weeks as the Palestinian Authority plans to go the United Nations, Tony Blair emphasised the need to return to direct negotiations and said he was trying to find a framework that would bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.

“We should try as hard as we possibly can to find a way through that allows us to get back to the only thing that will resolve this, and that is a negotiation toward a viable independent state of Palestine and a secure state of Israel recognised by the region,” Tony Blair said.

Resolution by the European Parliament on Palestine’s bid for statehood

Brussels, 29 September 2011

On 29 September 2011, The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Palestine's bid for statehood. The following is the text of the resolution:

1967 borders, Jerusalem as capital

Parliament reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as capital of both states, and stresses that direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should resume without delay.

The resolution underlines that "no changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties should be accepted".

Common EU position needed

Parliament calls on the EU's foreign affairs High Representative and Member States to find a common EU position on the Palestinian request and to avoid divisions among Member States. MEPs also underline that Member States and the international community should reconfirm their strong commitment to the security of the Israel.

Stop settlement construction

Parliament calls on the Israeli Government to stop all construction and extension of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. MEPs also insist that rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip should cease and a permanent truce should be agreed.

Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton following the

Foreign Affairs Council meeting  

Luxembourg, 10 October 2011

On 10 October 2011, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton made the following remarks on the Middle East peace talks:

/…

We discussed the Middle East peace talks. As a follow-up to the Quartet statement which you saw in New York, I hosted a meeting of the Quartet envoys in Brussels yesterday. We discussed how to move forward on the action points within the statement and how to continue to engage with the Israeli and Palestinian partners to resume substantive negotiations as soon as possible. I will be speaking to President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu this evening, and the Quartet envoys will be in touch with the parties as well to invite them to meet in the coming days. We want to make sure that we really do get the progress that is so necessary if were going to be able to support the people of Israel and the people of Palestine into the future. And we support calls, and all ministers referred to this, to refrain from provocative actions and avoid steps that will go against our efforts to restart negotiations. Not surprisingly, the announcement – or re-announcement – of the 1,100 settlement dwellings in Gilo was mentioned by some, and deplored.

Council of EU Conclusions on the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

Luxembourg, 10 October 2011

On 10 October 2011, the EU Council adopted the following conclusions:

1. The EU reiterates its full support to the High Representative in her continuing efforts on behalf of the EU to create a credible perspective for the re-launching of the Peace Process.
2. The EU reiterates its appeal to the parties to resume negotiations under the terms and within the timelines indicated in the Quartet Statement of 23 September 2011. The EU welcomes the positive statements of both parties in that regard. The EU underlines the Quartet’s crucial role in facilitating the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians and recalls its readiness to support all efforts to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. The EU fully supports the Quartet’s call on the parties to refrain from provocative actions and to respect the obligations of both parties under the roadmap.
3. The EU deplores the recent Israeli decision to advance settlement expansion in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo, which runs counter to the Quartet’s efforts. The EU also calls upon both sides to avoid steps that run counter to the Quartet’s efforts to restart negotiations.
4. The EU reaffirms its clear positions on negotiations, with regard to parameters, principles and issues, including the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council in December 2009, December 2010, May 2011 and July 2011, as well as the Statement delivered on behalf of the EU at the Security Council on 21 April 2011.
5. The EU continues to follow closely developments regarding to the Palestinian initiative at the UN.”

Press Release on the Quartet Envoy’s activities on the Middle East Peace Process  

Jerusalem, 27 October 2011


On 26 October 2011, Quartet Envoys and Quartet Representative Tony Blair met separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem to begin the implementation of objectives as outlined in the Quartet statement of 23 September 2011. The following is the text of a press release issued by the Quartet:

Both Parties expressed their readiness to engage with the Quartet, on the basis of its statement of 23 September, to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or preconditions.

The Parties agreed with the Quartet to come forward with comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months in the context of our shared commitment to the objective of direct negotiations leading toward an agreement by the end of 2012.

Envoys reiterated the Quartet call of 23 September upon the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective.

Quartet Envoys agreed with the parties to meet regularly for the next 90 days to review progress.

Press Release by the Quartet Representative Tony Blair on the transfer of Palestinian Tax and Custom Revenue to the Palestinians
Jerusalem, 23 November 2011

On 23 November 2011, Quartet Representative Tony Blair issued a press release calling on Israel to resume the transfer of Palestinian tax and customs revenue to the Palestinians. The following is an excerpt of the press release:

"I continue to call on the Israeli government to release the clearance revenues it is withholding from the Palestinian Authority without delay and resume their transfer on a regular basis.

Israel should release the Palestinians' funds, consistent with previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

The funds are vital for the functioning of the PA and Israel's withholding of these Palestinian funds threatens the salaries of some 180,000 employees, including Palestinian security officials who are working to provide security in the West Bank.

Only those who oppose peace and Israeli-Palestinian cooperation benefit from the withholding of PA funds."

Statement by the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis response on the occasion of the  International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Brussels, 28 November 2011

On 28 November 2011, the Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, issued a statement on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The text of the statement is reproduced below:

Since 2000, the European Commission has provided almost €600 million in humanitarian aid to help meet the basic needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Particular attention is paid to those refugees who do not receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near-East (UNRWA) and other organizations, especially those living in the 42 unofficial 'gatherings' in Lebanon, lacking the legal status to benefit from UNRWA's aid programme.

In 2011, the Commission's assistance supported:

§ getting food assistance to 1,130,000 people;

§ provided healthcare and psychosocial support for 471,000 vulnerable Palestinians;

§ made clean water available to 413,000 people in Gaza, West Bank and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon;

§ provided shelter for 655 Palestinians in Lebanon and contributed to the protection and care of children and adult Palestinian refugees.

The Commissioner concluded by saying that "We fully support the legitimate right of the Israeli people to live in peace and security but would remind the authorities that this right does not relieve Israel from its obligation to respect international humanitarian law. This said, International Humanitarian Law must be respected by all parties involved."

Resolution by the Parliament of Iceland on an independent and sovereign Palestine

Reykjavik, 29 November 2011

The Parliament of Iceland adopted a resolution (38 votes in favour and 13 abstentions ), recognising an independent and sovereign State of Palestine within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders. The following is the text of the resolution:

Althingi resolves to entrust the government to recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders. Also, Althingi urges Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile through the means of peace agreements on the basis of international law and resolutions of the United Nations, including the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.

Althingi reaffirms that the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and also recalls the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes in accordance with resolutions reaffirmed by the United Nations. Althingi demands that the conflicting parties in the Arab-Israeli Conflict cease warfare and acts of violence forthwith and respect human rights and humanitarian law.

* * *