Israel-Palestine Peace and Confidence-Building Conference
Toward Stable Coexistence of Mutually Interdependent States of Israel and Palestine

Summary

May 2003

1. Conference Goals

On May 19 and 20, government and business representatives and academics from Israel and Palestinian territories were invited to Japan under an initiative designed to build confidence between Israelis and Palestinians through discussions about mutual cooperation toward the establishment of a mutually beneficial economic relationship, and to explore ways in which Japan can contribute to peace. The conference took place at the Mita Conference Hall in Tokyo.

2. Participants

Israeli side: Dr. Yossi Beilin, Former Minister of Justice
Mr. Daniel Levy, Advisor to the former Minister of Justice
Ms. Nechama Ronen, Former Environment Ministry Director General and Previous Member of Knesset (Likud)
Ms. Eti Livni, Member of Knesset (Shinui)
Mr. Avi Shaked, businessman
Palestinian side: Mr. Yasir Abed Rabbo, Minister of Cabinet Affairs
Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, Director General, PECDAR (Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction)
Dr. Nabil Kassis, Minister of Planning
Mr. Talal Nasser Iddin, businessman
Mr. Samir Rantisi, Advisor to the Minister of Cabinet Affairs
Japanese side: Dr. Tatsuo Arima, Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process
Mr. Kohei Hashimoto, President, Institute for New International Political Systems (Coordinator)
Prof. Ryoji Tateyama, National Defense Academy
Prof. Akifumi Ikeda, Toyo Eiwa University
Mr. Kazuhiro Morimoto, Director, Middle East and Africa Office, Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry
Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

3. Theme

Roadmap to Coexistence: Toward the Establishment of a Stable Interdependent Relationship

  1. 1) The political endgame and how to get there
  2. 2) The psychological roadmap: fears on both sides and how to address them
  3. 3) A joint economic future
  4. 4) The role of the international community

4. Summary (based on key points from statements at the joint press conference)

(1) Japanese side (Mr. Hashimoto):

  1. The atmosphere during the conference was extremely constructive and friendly. The Japanese side stated that both Israeli and Palestinian sides were prepared to cooperate and seek the cooperation of the international community toward the achievement of a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict.
  2. Agreement was reached mainly on the following five points concerning approaches towards the peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestine as two states. It was also agreed that they will meet annually in Japan.
    1. (i) The end to all forms of terror and violence
    2. (ii) A two-state solution in the Peace Process
    3. (iii) Both parties to declare in a clear manner the acceptance of the Roadmap by both sides
    4. (iv) The end of the occupation
    5. (v) Economic cooperation

(2) Palestinian side (Mr. Rabbo):

  1. The environment and atmosphere for the conference were excellent, and there was in-depth debate over current and future issues. It was agreed that the conference should be held annually on a continuing basis to discuss what has been achieved and how planning for the future should be approached. Both parties discussed the current political situation and approaches to the "Roadmap," and affirmed that the "Roadmap" must actually be accepted formally by both sides.
  2. Participants agreed that it would be necessary to promote the formation of peace camps both in Israeli and Palestinian sides, and to foster cooperation between them, and that it would be necessary to create a new environment working through public opinion and the people on both sides.
  3. There was also debate over how public opinion could be brought around concerning such aspects as possibility to achieve a settlement based on the "two-state vision" and future economic cooperation.
  4. Concerning the fact that the conference was held while suicide bombings continued:
    • Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has made statements clearly opposing all forms of violence against citizens and prohibiting illegal possession of weapons.
    • A conditional and selective response to the "Roadmap" will result in its collapse. It is vital that both Israeli and Palestinian sides fulfill their respective obligations concerning the security and political aspects. Establishment of an independent Palestinian state and resolution of many other issues, such as the final status of the state, refugees, Jerusalem, and the occupation will be credible to public opinion in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Both sides are seeking solutions to the wider issues behind the conflict. That is what we of the peace camp have demonstrated here. That is why the Roadmap must be implemented unconditionally.

(3) Israeli side (Dr. Beilin)

  1. I want to say that both Israeli and Palestinian sides are prepared to pay a valuable price for peace. I would like to thank Japan for hosting this conference. Japan has played a leading role in a multilateral truck in the environmental field, participated by the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Israel and other countries. This conference was not a one-off event, and the next conference will be held in the near future.
  2. We have also discussed the "Roadmap." Though the violence continues, we have been given this opportunity for an exchange of views in Japan, and an opportunity to appeal for unreserved and unconditional support for the "Roadmap," including the support of the Israeli government.
  3. In the area of economic relations, we discussed what can be achieved now, and what we need to do in the future. We also talked about the psychological aspects of the present conflict and confrontation.
  4. Through initiatives such as this, I hope that we will be able to offer both sides a conclusive solution to peace in the Middle East. There are various issues, including the economy, Jerusalem, refugees, security, the occupation, and water problems. Forward-looking solutions can be found for these issues. Israelis and Palestinians are partners, and we can implement joint projects (relating to the economy). These things are achievable only with outside support from those who recognize the importance of stability in the Middle East.

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