IPCRI CALL FOR QUARTET SUMMIT IN GAZA LED BY PRESIDENT BUSH FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THE DISENGAGEMENT
President George W. Bush
President of the USA
The White House
Dear President Bush,
In the coming weeks the Government of Israel will commence with the process of disengagement from Gaza and the north of the West Bank. The disengagement is expected to be completed by mid-September. As you are well aware, this is a very complex process for both Israel and Palestine. Its success will enable the sides to move forward towards the implementation of your vision of “two States for two peoples living side-by-peace in peace”.
The success of the disengagement will be measured by the absence of violence, or by a low level of violence – meaning internal violence on both sides, and of course, cross-the-lines violence – Israelis and Palestinians against each other. Furthermore, success will be measured by the ability of the Palestinians to take over Gaza and govern maintaining law and order.
You and your government have taken on considerable and admirable commitments to make this process work. Your special envoy, Mr. Wolfensohn and his team have added a dimension of seriousness and determined expertise that is crucial to help the sides reach and implement the right decisions in order to have a significant and rapid positive impact on peoples’ lives.
The entire process is really quite remarkable given the extreme levels of violence that the region has faced in the past five years. The situation is still quite volatile and everything must be done to strengthen moderates in the area who are working to bring the sides back to the negotiations table.
The Road Map for Peace provides the basic formula for how to proceed, yet the political will and political support for implementing the Road Map seem to be somewhat lacking. Both Mr. Abbas and Mr. Sharon could use a boost of political support and encouragement to move rapidly into the implementation of the Road Map.
We would like to humbly offer some advice of what could be done that could make a substantial advance in the process. We would like to suggest that the leaders of the Quartet (and perhaps others) led by yourself, Prime Minister Blair in the position of holding the presidency of the European Union, President Putin and Secretary-General Annan convene a summit meeting in Gaza following the completion of the Israeli disengagement and the Palestinian take over. This summit could be a great boost in support of the continuation of the process as well as voicing support for Mr. Abbas and other moderates in Palestinian Society.
The summit would be a grand opportunity to call on the parties to resume the implementation of the Road Map. It would be a good time to announce the appointment of an additional special envoy of the Quartet who would take on the monitoring and verification roles embodied within the Road Map. The summit would be an opportune time to announce continued international financial support for the construction and development of the Palestinian economy. It would be an opportune time for Mr. Abbas to announce the date of Palestinian Parliamentary elections as well.
The summit meeting could include a congratulatory meeting in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Sharon and his government as well as a unique opportunity to bring Mr. Abbas and Mr. Sharon together for a joint meeting between them.
This is a win-win strategy for all involved. We hope that you will accept our advice and we look forward to seeing you here in Palestine and Israel.
Dr. Gershon Baskin and Mr. Hanna Siniora