World figures call for new approach to peace talks

Ahram Online, Monday 13 Dec 2010

A group, calling themselves the Elders, has called on the international community to abandon their "flawed" attempts at peace and adopt a new approach in the Mideast based on international law and human rights

The Elders

A group of former officials and world figures urged the international community to adopt a new approach to the Middle East peace talks; one which would define borders and security arrangements.  

The group, named Elders, including former US president Jimmy Carter and former UN secretary general Kofi Anan, has called Washington's attempt at renewing a settlement construction ban in return for big incentives "flawed".

"We now urge a renewed effort, firmly based on international law and human rights. The overtures should aim at defining borders between Israel and a new Palestinian state and addressing security issues, without neglecting the other issues at the core of the conflict," the group declared in a statement.

The Elders warned that without a new strategy, the possibility of a two-state solution could slip further away, resulting in more violence as Palestinians continue to struggle against the Israeli occupation. Furthermore, millions of Palestinian refugees will continue to live without hope and Israel’s survival and security, contingent on Palestinian welfare, will remain under constant threat.

The group said Israel must halt all settlement activity throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and end its “illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza”.

It also called on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian lands, and to adhere to the 1967 borders when mapping out a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. This could include a "one-to-one" land swap to allow for minor adjustments, it added.

If these terms can be agreed upon, it will put to the Palestinians to recognise Israel's right to exist, the statement concluded.

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