At its meeting in Munich on 12 February 2016, the Middle East Quartet reiterated its concern that current trends are imperiling the viability of the two-state solution. Underlining its commitment to supporting a comprehensive, just, and lasting resolution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict, the Quartet agreed to prepare a report on the situation on the ground.
This report does not provide a complete review of the humanitarian, political, legal, and security aspects of the situation, or address final status issues. It focuses on major threats to achieving a negotiated peace and offers recommendations to advance the two-state solution.
The Quartet reiterates that a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues.
The Quartet recalls its previous statements and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and pledges its active support for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). In this regard, the Quartet reiterates its commitment to continue working in coordination with key stakeholders, including regional countries and the UN Security Council, to restore hope in a political solution.
While the majority of people on both sides and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas express their support for the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, the Quartet remains seriously concerned that continuing on the current course will make this prospect increasingly remote. In particular, each of the following trends is severely undermining hopes for peace:
- Continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, and incitement to violence are greatly exacerbating mistrust and are fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful resolution;
- The continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use, and denial of Palestinian development is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution; and
- The illicit arms build-up and militant activity, continuing absence of Palestinian unity, and dire humanitarian situation in Gaza feed instability and ultimately impede efforts to achieve a negotiated solution.
The Quartet stresses the urgent need for affirmative steps to reverse each of these trends in order to prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.
The Quartet reiterates that unilateral actions by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.
The Quartet stresses that while a permanent status agreement that ends the conflict can only be achieved through direct bilateral negotiations, important progress can be made now towards advancing the two-state solution on the ground.
The Quartet calls on each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution.
To that end, the Quartet emphasizes the importance of both parties complying with their basic commitments under existing agreements in order to promote this two-state reality and lay the groundwork for successful negotiations.