The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lurma Rackley, PR Director

CARE Position on Middle East Quartet Progress


On the
occasion of the meeting of the Middle East Quartet (composed of Russia,
United States, European Union and United Nations) in New York this
week, CARE urges the international community and the parties to the
conflict to take immediate steps to alleviate the deepening
humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza. The Quartet identified
2008 as a crucial year for the Middle East peace process and the period
in which to realize agreements made at the Annapolis Conference on
November 22, 2007.

Earlier this year, leading international
humanitarian organizations expressed concern about the humanitarian
crisis in the Middle East and how impediments to movement and access
were inhibiting the delivery of aid and services. Six months later,
access issues continue to hinder CARE's ability to adequately meet
people's basic needs. Other international nongovernmental organizations
report similar difficulties in carrying out their humanitarian and
development projects and operations and also express concerns about the
deterioration in living conditions for ordinary civilians in both Gaza
and the West Bank.

CARE urges the Quartet to redouble its efforts to press all parties to:

  • Enforce
    the full implementation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access,
    which was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in
    Jerusalem on November 15, 2005, as a first step toward addressing
    obstacles to access and movement.
  • Work with the Israeli
    and Palestinian authorities to ensure security concerns are addressed
    and establish procedures as a first step toward reversing the policy of
    closure, to manage the crossings and restore full humanitarian and
    commercial access to Gaza, including specifically:
    • Access to urgent medical treatment abroad;
    • Essential maintenance and rehabilitation of public services (water, sewage, electricity, public health);
    • Resumption
      of normal fuel imports to enable Gaza's electricity plant to function
      and ambulances and ordinary transport to run; and
    • Ease of movement in and out of Gaza for humanitarian agencies' staffs.
  • Agree to a timeline to:
    • Widen the definition of humanitarian goods and needs;
    • Provide greater support for Egypt to negotiate an opening to the Rafah crossing;
    • Secure the opening of Karni crossing; and
    • Reactivate all stalled humanitarian and development projects.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.