Major report recommends two-state solution as only end to Arab-Israeli conflict

NEW YORK— The so-called Middle East Quartet comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union have released a report on the Arab-Israeli conflict which analyzes the impediments to a resolution and offers recommendations such as urging the Israeli government to stop building settlements and Palestine to end its incitement of violence.

The Quartet suggest that each side must “independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution” and to “refrain from unilateral steps that prejudice the outcome of the final negotiations.” the UN said in a press release.

A two-state solution is put forward in the report as the only way to achieve lasting peace between the two that would also take into account the Palestinian aspirations for a state and Israel’s security concerns.

The UN, which is a member of the Quartet, said in a statement: “Following the release of the report, the UN Secretary-General encouraged the parties to engage with the Quartet to implement the findings “to rebuild hope among Palestinians and Israelis in a political solution and to create the conditions to return to meaningful negotiations.”

“He underscored that there is a strong need for affirmative steps to reverse negative trends on the ground which risk entrenching a one-State reality of “perpetual occupation and conflict” which is incompatible with the national aspirations of both peoples.”

The group of four identify, “continued violence, terrorist attacks against civilians and incitement to violence; settlement construction and expansion; and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control in Gaza,” as barriers to an enduring peace.”

In order to restore meaningful negotiations, the Quartet encourage both Israel and Palestine to consider the following recommendations:

· Both sides should work to de-escalate tensions by exercising restraint and refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric.
· The Palestinian Authority should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism.

·  Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development.

·  Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements. Progress in the areas of housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture, and natural resources, along with significantly easing Palestinian movement restrictions, can be made while respecting Israel’s legitimate security needs.

·  The Palestinian leadership should continue their efforts to strengthen institutions, improve governance, and develop a sustainable economy. Israel should take all necessary steps to enable this process, in line with the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee recommendations.

·  All sides must continue to respect the ceasefire in Gaza, and the illicit arms buildup and militant activities must be terminated.

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