Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
30 September 1996
D i v i s i o n f o r P a l e s t i n i a n R i g h t s
DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO THE MIDDLE EAST
February - August 1996
New York, September 1996
Since April 1991, at the request of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat has prepared a compilation of statements, declarations, documents and other material pertaining to the various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the question of Palestine and the Middle East peace process entitled "Approaches towards the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine".
In January 1994, the bulletin was renamed "Developments related to the Middle East peace process". It includes information material related to the bilateral Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, the multilateral negotiations on Middle East regional issues, and other aspects of the Middle East peace process.
This issue covers the period from February to September 1996.
This bulletin and its back issues can be found in the
United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) at:
212-963-7197 (server: DPA4)
on the Internet at:
Printed copies of this publication, and its back issues, can be obtained from:
United Nations Secretariat
Division for Palestinian Rights
New York, New York 10017
Remarks by Prime Minister Peres and United States Secretary of State
Christopher at a news conference, Jerusalem, 5 February 1996 1
Remarks by Chairman Arafat and United States Secretary of State
Christopher at a news conference, Gaza, 7 February 1996 2
Text of the joint statement by Israel, Jordan and the PLO regarding the Declaration
on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties on Water-related Matters
and New and Additional Water Resources, Oslo, 13 February 1996 3
Text of the Declaration on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties
on Water-related Matters and New and Additional Water Resources
Oslo, 13 February 1996 4
Text of the Final Statement issued at the conclusion of the Summit of Peacemakers,
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 13 March 1996 10
Text of a statement issued by the White House concerning the amendment of the Palestine National Charter,
Washington, D.C., 24 April 1996 11
Remarks by President Clinton and Prime Minister Peres at signing
of United States-Israel Counter-terrorism Cooperation Accord
Washington, D.C., 30 April 1996 11
Text of a letter from Chairman Arafat to Prime Minister Peres on the amendment
of the Palestine National Charter, 4 May 1996 13
Text of the Israeli-PLO joint communiqué on permanent status negotiations,
Taba, Egypt, 6 May 1996 14
Text of the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the Temporary International
Presence in the City of Hebron, 9 May 1996 16
Excerpts from new Israeli Government guidelines,
Jerusalem, 17 June 1996 17
Excerpts from a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the presentation
of the Government to the Knesset, Jerusalem, 18 June 1996 21
Text of the European Council declaration on the Middle East peace process,
Florence, 22 June 1996 23
Fact Sheet: The Middle East Peace Process
(update of 11 March 1996)
Remarks by Prime Minister Peres and United States Secretary of State
Christopher at a news conference
Jerusalem, 5 February 1996
After their meeting in Jerusalem, on 5 February 1996, Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres and United States Secretary of State Warren Christopher made the following remarks:
Prime Minister Peres
We know that we are handling a very difficult dispute, a conflict. But there are some understandings that have created a common denominator for the continuation of the negotiations. To the agenda that was known before the Wye Plantation meetings, the following points were added: agreement to use the negotiations with Syria and Lebanon to bring an end to the wars in the Middle East, to make it comprehensive, something I believe is important to all the parties. Secondly, we went much deeper into the economic foundations which are necessary for the support of peace and for making peace durable and meaningful to all the people. We started a very serious discussion on normalization and a beginning on the security arrangements. It's quite a wide scope. And may I say that as one who has a little bit of experience in negotiations, I remember all the beginnings of all the negotiations. We never arrived at the full agreement at the first stage. It was always a chain of overcoming hurdles and difficulties. But this time, I think, we started at least in an agreeable manner to negotiate, and I feel that today the situation is no longer the one that used to be before the negotiations started.
We know that the Secretary is taking all the troubles in the world to continue his road to Damascus. From our standpoint, his coming now, and being here and in Damascus is really to prepare and look for the continuation of the negotiations - whether it will be in a sort of a Wye Plantation, or somewhere else, or somewhere different. But it's like cutting one mountain, then another mountain, then another mountain, to make the road open for the continuation of the negotiations. We on our side are still very much interested to see if we can make peace with Syria and Lebanon even in this year and, no matter what will happen in the country, we intend to continue the negotiations without any interruption.
I personally feel obliged to the great work that the Secretary was doing together with the support and guidance of the President and with the team that goes with him. We think it's a highly responsible, so difficult, undertaking. And it's being done with great dignity and devotion. I am very grateful for it, and thank you very much.
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much. I'm always glad to return to Israel, particularly on a beautiful day like this. I've just come, as you know, from the Balkans. In Sarajevo I witnessed the devastation and human suffering that can be caused by war. Here, I see the tremendous promise and the tremendous step forward that can be done in the context of peace. As the Prime Minister has said, I have been traveling regularly to this region. But just in the few weeks that have transpired since I have been here, there have been a number of important steps taken. There have been the first steps in normalization between Tunisia and Israel with the agreement to open interest sections. There have been steps toward normalization between Oman and Israel. There's been the elections of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, laying the foundations for their own functioning efforts there. And, as the Prime Minister has said, there's been another round of talks at the Wye Plantation. I went there twice, and in the last round of talks I spent two interesting evenings there, and I can say that, from my standpoint, the negotiations are qualitatively different than they were in the past. A meaningful dialogue has now been established between the parties, and they are now discussing a whole range of issues openly and candidly with the ability to exchange ideas with an openness and candor that has not been present before. Neither side, of course, is prepared to compromise anything that it regards as essential, but they are building bridges to overcome their differences. They are exploring ways to reconcile their needs.
I am convinced that Israel and Syria are now laying the foundation, laying the groundwork, for the peace treaty which we all hope will come. They have deepened their understanding in this very last round of each other's security needs. They have deepened their understanding as to what is necessary for normalization. They began addressing ways to meet each other's security needs which, of course, lie at the foundation of these discussions. Clearly much work remains to be done, but I would say there is no doubt that in these negotiations, and especially with the acceleration of the Wye Plantation, we have come a long way; come a long way toward the historic peace between Israel and Syria - a peace with dignity and with security. That's what President Clinton has directed me to try to help achieve, and that certainly is what the people of Israel deserve.
Remarks by Chairman Arafat and United States Secretary of State
Christopher at a news conference
Gaza, 7 February 1996
On 7 February 1996, at a press conference in Gaza, the following opening remarks were made by Chairman Yasser Arafat and United States Secretary of State Warren Christopher:
I have to offer to the Secretary, Mr. Christopher, our best wishes and regards and thanks for giving us - although he is very busy on the Syrian track - a chance to discuss some very important issues together, especially after the election, which has been held here, which was a very successful election, and gave the proof that our people had voted, not only for the presidential election or the legislative council, but the vote was the peace process, the mandate for the peace process, which is a very important signal and especially this big number and big issue of the voters who are participating in the voting, especially the number of the women were more than the number of the men, which, for us, we are proud of it, we are very proud of it. And again, I have to thank your excellency for this very fruitful discussion which we have just now, and I promise you that we will follow up with this peace process with all our ability. And we are sure we will do with your support this peace process in the accurate way and to its main target. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a great pleasure to be here at the entrance to Gaza. I have a chance to congratulate the Chairman in person on the elections. I also want to congratulate the Palestinian people. Their turnout in very large numbers is a very strong reflection of their commitment to democracy. Of course, these elections are only one step toward the organization of an entity here. Now the other institutions of local government need to be put in place. The Palestinian Council needs to be convened. There needs to be established an independent judiciary so as to ensure respect for law and human rights.
As Chairman and I discussed, it is also essential for the members of the Council to fulfil their commitment to amend the covenant and also to take all possible steps to prevent terror. As the Palestinians go about these crucial tasks of organization, they will certainly have the strong backing of the United States. We will make every effort to mobilize international support for economic development and democratization, including our own bilateral assistance programmes. I am pleased to announce that the United States will be allocating $2.7 million to help with the democratization process in Gaza and on the West Bank.
Mr. Chairman, in just two and a half years the peace has begun to bring great benefits to the Palestinian people as can be seen here in Gaza and elsewhere. You have gained control of your lives, you have conducted democratic elections. Now I hope you will have the chance to build a society based upon principles of political and economic freedom, and I want to ensure you that we will stand by you and the Palestinian people as we have in the past as you go about this task. Thank you very much.
Text of the joint statement by Israel, Jordan and the PLO regarding the Declaration
on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties on Water-related
Matters and New and Additional Water Resources
Oslo, 13 February 1996
The following is the text of a joint statement by Israel, Jordan and the PLO regarding the Declaration on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties on Water-related Matters and New and Additional Water Resources, made on 13 February 1996 at Oslo, by representatives of Jordan, Israel and the PLO:
Declaration on Principles
for Cooperation on Water-Related Matters
and New and Additional Water Resources
As part of the Programme adopted by the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources (MWGWR) of the Middle East Peace Process, the Government of Norway has sponsored certain activities of the agenda.
Within this context comparative studies on water legislation, institutions and pricing of the Core Parties were commissioned and as an outcome of these studies the Parties, facilitated by the Government of Norway and the Office of Gavel holder, have identified common denominators in their water resources management systems and proclaimed this Declaration on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties on Water-related Matters and New and Additional Water Resources.
Although there are still problems related to water which need to be solved, the Declaration looks to the future with a view to provide a foundation, through its voluntary implementation for multilateral cooperation to bring additional water resources to the people in the region.
The Parties to the Declaration, the Government of Norway, the Gavel holder, and the co-sponsors of the Middle East peace process express their hope that the other core Parties will adhere to this Declaration.
The Parties have signed this Joint Statement in the presence of and with the support of representatives of Norway and the co-sponsors of the Middle East peace process, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. The Parties wish to express their special gratitude to the Government of Norway for facilitating the conclusion of the Declaration.
FOR THE HASHEMITE FOR THE PLO FOR FOR THE STATE
KINGDOM OF JORDAN: THE BENEFIT OF THE OF ISRAEL:
In the presence of:
Jan Egeland Richard Le Baron Yuri Fokin
State Secretary of the Gavel holder Russian Ambassador
Norwegian Ministry of United States of America to Norway
Initialled: February 13, 1996.
Text of the Declaration on Principles for Cooperation among the
Core Parties on Water-related Matters and New and
Additional Water Resources
Oslo, 13 February 1996
The following is the text of the Declaration on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties on Water-related Matters and New and Additional Water Resources, issued on 13 February 1996 at Oslo, by representatives of Jordan, Israel and the PLO:
Declaration on Principles
for Cooperation among the Core Parties
On Water-related Matters and
New and Additional Water Resources
As part of the Programme adopted by the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources (MWGWR) of the Middle East peace process, the Government of Norway has sponsored certain activities of the agenda.
Within this context comparative studies on water legislation, institutions and pricing of the Core Parties were commissioned and executed.
As an outcome of these studies the Parties, facilitated by the Government of Norway and the Office of Gavel holder, have identified common denominators in their water resources management systems and proclaimed this Declaration on Principles for Cooperation among the Core Parties on Water-related Matters and New and Additional Water Resources. Although the Core Parties in the Middle East Peace Process are considered to be Jordan, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, and the PLO for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority, for the purposes of this Declaration, the term the Core Parties are those who are signatories to this Declaration.
The Core Parties agree that this Declaration and the cooperation thereunder will not affect or alter in any form or manner any of the bilateral or other agreements or undertakings among them, nor does it prohibit or constrain any bilateral arrangements, understandings or agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation in water-related matters.
The Core Parties view this Declaration as an expression of:
The role of the multilateral talks in promoting cooperation and confidence-building in the field of water resources and in the importance of cooperation for the promotion of matters of mutual interest.
A joint resolve to cooperate among them in the development of new and additional water resources.
The importance of water resources management on the basis of locally compatible legal. economic and institutional frameworks and principles.
The recognition that cooperative efforts among them will facilitate the development of new and additional water resources for their joint benefit.
The ability to cooperate on the basis of the common denominators identified within their respective water management systems.
The Core Parties proclaim as objectives of their cooperation:
- identifying the needs of new and additional water resources;
- identifying potential new and additional water resources and the development thereof;
- combining their cooperative efforts in the development of new and additional water resources; and
- enhancing their water supply, and increasing the efficiency of its use.
The Declaration consists of three parts, namely: Common denominators, Principles of cooperation on new and additional water resources, and Cooperation on other water-related matters.
The Core Parties identified and agreed to the following common denominators in their water legislation as a basis for cooperation among themselves:
1. Water resources in legislation
Their respective water legislations apply to all types of water resources including waste water and desalinated water.
2. Ownership and administration of water resources
All water resources of each party are publicly owned and/or centrally controlled. They are used for the benefit of their respective societies. The Core Parties promote public participation in water resources management. Well drilling, water production and supply are allowed only by permit or license. A Central Water Authority/Government Agency exists in each of the Core Parties, and exercises effective control over water resources.
Domestic uses occupy the first priority in the allocation of water resources.
4. Drought measures
The Core Parties will take appropriate measures in periods of drought and water scarcity.
5. Water quality and protection
Water quality standards for various water uses have been adopted by each of the Core Parties; water preservation is an overriding concern, and enforcement powers exist in the hands of competent authorities to prevent water pollution, and to mitigate any negative environmental impacts on them at the expense of the polluters.
6. Data and record-keeping
Obligations exist, pursuant to the legislation of each Core Party, to measure, monitor and keep proper record of all water production, supplies and consumption.
7. Compliance and enforcement
Proper sanctions against non-compliance are explicit in the respective legislation of each of the Core Parties. Enforcement of the water legislation is the norm.
8. Water charges
Water is not supplied free of charge in any of the Core Parties. Tariff structures, taking into account different extents of cost recovery, apply to domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors. These tariffs are periodically reviewed and adjusted.
PRINCIPLES OF COOPERATION ON NEW
AND ADDITIONAL WATER RESOURCES
For the purpose of this Declaration:
1.1 New and additional water resources are only those potential water resources which are not existing water resources, and which are not part of new and additional water resources developed pursuant to bilateral agreements.
1.2 Existing water resources are the individual resources of each of the respective parties' renewable, non-renewable and waste water resources.
1.3 Cooperating Parties are those of the Core Parties, signatories to this Declaration, which actively participate in the development of any specific project relating to new and additional water resources.
1.4 A New and Additional Water Resources Project, hereinafter the Project, means a project among Cooperating Parties to develop new and additional water resources by specific agreement.
2. General principles
2.1 The development of new and additional water resources will not adversely affect the development or utilization of existing water resources.
2.2 All arrangements with respect to new and additional water resources will be limited in time and subject to periodic mutual review.
3. Mechanisms of cooperation
3.1 Cooperation among the Core Parties will be carried out by their respective water institutions through joint bodies on a ministerial and managerial level to be established, as appropriate, for each respective Party.
3.2 Each Project requires the consensus of all the Cooperating Parties for implementation
4. Ownership and utilization
4.1 New and additional water resources, developed in joint effort by the Core Parties for the benefit of some or all of them, will be considered as part of their own water resources only to the extent of the share allocated to them
4.2 Details concerning the utilization and ownership will be the subject of separate agreements for each Project.
4.3 Each Core Party can apply its legislation, within its respective jurisdiction, on the share allocated to it by each Project.
5. Technical, economic and financial issues
5.1 Projects will be technically, economically, and financially sustainable.
5.2 The Cooperating Parties will carry their respective share of the project financing including the costs of operation, maintenance, and amortization of the Project. Due regard will be given to less developed Cooperating Parties and joint efforts will be made to assist in the obtaining of financing on favourable terms, provided that no such efforts affect any of the bilateral donor/recipients arrangements or protocols.
5.3 The Cooperating Parties agree to participate jointly in the raising of the funds needed for the Project implementation, and to secure the funds needed for the operation and maintenance of the new water system.
5.4 The cost to each of the Cooperating Parties of water derived from new and additional resources will be based upon the cost of production, operation, maintenance and amortization.
5.5 Water derived from the new and additional resources will not be subject to levies on account of conveyance, storage, treatment, or protection in excess of levies which the owner of the project would normally incur.
5.6 Cooperating Parties may, by mutual consent, trade the use of their respective shares of the waters from new and additional resources, provided that such trading does not cause harm to the shares allocated to any other Cooperating Parties.
6. Environmental management
6.1 All Projects will be based on environmentally sound principles.
6.2 The Cooperating Parties give preference to those Projects which utilize advanced technological water usage methods.
6.3 Each Cooperating Party is responsible for the protection of the Project against environmental pollution originating within its jurisdiction.
7. Water protection
7.1 Each Cooperating Party is responsible for the prevention of harm to those parts of the Projects under its jurisdiction.
7.2 Such responsibility includes
the preservation of water quality and the prevention of unauthorized withdrawals.
8. Operation and maintenance
The Cooperating Parties will set the standards for the operation and maintenance of the Projects.
9. Areas of cooperation
It is understood that the following potential areas of cooperation in the development of new and additional water resources for the Cooperating Parties will be further studied in order to determine their feasibility:
9.1 acquisition and import of water including the possibility of carrying such waters through existing or new supply systems (wheeling);
9.2 development of desalination plants;
9.3 rainfall enhancement; and
9.4 any other relevant area of cooperation.
COOPERATION ON OTHER WATER-RELATED MATTERS
Cooperation on other water-related matters, although originating among the Core Parties, will be open to regional and extra-regional parties of the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources.
1. Cooperation on specific sectors
The Parties express their desire to cooperate among themselves and with other interested Parties on the following other water-related matters:
1.1 weather forecasting, climatology, weather modification, and meteorology;
1.2 environmental conservation;
1.3 sustainable water-related natural resources management and desertification control;
1.4 enhancement of public awareness and participation; and
1.5 human resources development
2. Proposed areas of cooperation
The Core Parties will in due time explore possible cooperation among themselves and with other interested parties in the following areas:
2.1 collection, filing, processing, transmission and exchange of water data and related information.
2.2 preparation of plans for flood-protection and utilization; with emphasis on development of early warning systems;
2.3 development of norms, standards and specifications for water devices, equipment and infrastructure;
2.4 transfer and adoption of advanced technology throughout the chains of water storage, conveyance and application, including automation and controls of water systems; particularly related to reduction of crop water requirements;
2.5 water-energy interactions, with emphasis on desalinization;
2.6 establishment of a regional centre; and
2.7 identification of ways to achieve optimal use of water in the agricultural sector.
3. Mechanism of cooperation
3.1 The Cooperating Parties will decide on the mechanism of their cooperation on other water-related matters set out in this section.
3.2 All decisions with respect to cooperation on other water-related matters will be adopted by consensus.
4. Specific cooperation
4.1 The Core Parties agree to hold regional seminars on various water-related matters;
4.2 The Core Parties agree to publish the results of their cooperation in a regional publication.
5. Extended cooperation
The Cooperating Parties may by consensus agree to include additional water-related matters in their cooperation.
Text of the Final Statement issued at the conclusion of the Summit of Peacemakers
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 13 March 1996
The following is the text of the Final Statement issued, on 13 March 1996, by the Co-Chairmen of the Summit of Peacemakers, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt:
Issued by Co-Chairmen, President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak
and US President Bill Clinton:
The Summit of Peacemakers has just concluded. This meeting took place at a time when the peace process confronts serious threats. The summit had three fundamental objectives: to enhance the peace process, to promote security and to combat terror.
Accordingly, the participants here today:
- Express their full support for the Middle East peace process and their determination that this process continue in order to accomplish a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.
- Affirm their determination to promote security and stability and to prevent the enemies of peace from achieving their ultimate objective of destroying the real opportunity for peace in the Middle East.
- Re-emphasize their strong condemnation of all acts of terror in all its abhorrent forms, whatever its motivation and whoever its perpetrator, including recent terrorist attacks in Israel, consider them alien to the moral and spiritual values shared by all the peoples of the region and reaffirm their intention to stand staunchly against all such acts and to urge all Governments to join them in this condemnation and opposition.
To that end, we decided:
A. To support the Israel-Palestinian agreement, the continuation of the negotiating process, and to politically and economically reinforce it, to enhance the security situation for both, with special attention to the current and pressing economic needs of the Palestinians.
B. To support continuation of the negotiation process in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
C. To work together to promote security and stability in the region by developing effective and practical means of cooperation and further assistance.
D. To promote coordination of efforts to stop acts of terror on bilateral, regional and international levels; ensuring instigators of such acts are brought to justice; supporting efforts by all parties to prevent their territories from being used for terrorist purposes; and preventing terrorist organizations from engaging in recruitment, supplying arms, or fund raising.
E. To exert maximum efforts to identify and determine the sources of financing for these groups and to cooperate in cutting them off, and by providing training, equipment and other forms of support to those taking steps against groups using violence and terror to undermine peace, security or stability.
F. To form a working group, open to all summit participants, to prepare recommendations on how best to implement the decisions contained in this statement, through ongoing work, and to report to the participants within thirty days.
Text of a statement issued by the White House concerning the amendment of the Palestine National Charter
Washington, D.C., 24 April 1996
The following is the official text of the statement made on 24 April 1996, at the White House, by the White House Press Secretary concerning the amendment of the Palestine National Charter:
President Clinton warmly welcomes the Palestine National Council's vote to revoke the sections of the Palestinian Covenant that called for the destruction of the State of Israel. By an overwhelming majority, the Palestine National Council has honoured an important commitment made in the Interim Agreement signed here in September 1995. It is a major step forward on the road to a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The President applauds this action as a decisive statement, at this difficult moment, that those who champion peace will not be deterred by the murderous acts of those desperate to prevent the people of the Middle East from building a better future.
Remarks by President Clinton and Prime Minister Peres at signing of United States-Israel Counter-terrorism Cooperation Accord
Washington, D.C. 30 April 1996
On 30 April 1996, at Washington, D.C., the following remarks were made by United States President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres at the signing of the United States-Israel Counter-terrorism Cooperation Accord:
Mr. Prime Minister, members of the Israeli and American delegations, ladies and gentlemen. For the past three years, Israel and the United States have worked hand in hand to advance the peace process in the Middle East. Today, with this US-Israel Counter-terrorism Cooperation Accord, we strengthen our partnership to stop the enemies of peace. With every new step along the path of peace, its enemies grow more and more desperate. They know a new day is dawning in the Middle East, that the vast majority of its people want to enjoy the blessings of a normal life. Their answer, more violence and terror, more bullets and bombs, may seem senseless, but it is the product of cold calculation. By murdering innocent people, they aim to kill the growing hope for peace itself.
We will not do what the enemies of peace want. We will not let our anger turn us away from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. Maintaining our resolve for peace does not mean, however, turning the other cheek. We must do everything in our power to stop the killing and bring the terrorists to justice. That is the only way to give those who have chosen peace the confidence they need that they have made the right choice, and the courage to keep moving forward. This agreement does just that by deepening the cooperation between our two countries in the fight against terrorism. Prime Minister Peres and I worked on it during my visit to Israel last month, in the wake of a terrible string of suicide bombings. Now we have agreed upon areas for greater cooperation on information sharing, on research and development, on training and technical assistance, on investigation, prosecution and extradition. In each one, we will look at very practical ways in which we can work together better.
I am pleased to sign this accord. And I'm also pleased that the budget I signed just last week included the $50 million I requested earlier this year for our joint anti-terrorism efforts in this year, including today's accords. I thank the Congress for their prompt action here and for the bipartisan support it received. To my friend the Prime Minister and the people of Israel, let me say the United States through Israel - stands with Israel through good times and bad because our countries share the same ideals: freedom, tolerance, democracy. We know that wherever those ideals are under siege in one country, they are threatened everywhere. We have never been more determined to achieve and to defend those ideals and to achieve our goal of a just and lasting peace for all the people of the Middle East.
Prime Minister Peres
I would like to thank from the depths of my heart, in the name of the people of Israel, the President, his delegation, his team, and him personally for really showing the deepest understanding that one can hope for, the immediate response whenever it is necessary, and the friendship that he has offered time and again over the last years. I see the difference between the camp of terror and the free world. The camp of terror is operating under orders, is disciplined, is organized. The camp of freedom keeps its freedom. You cannot lead the camp of freedom unless you have a leader of great inspiration and outstanding capacity. In my own judgement, Bill Clinton has this great capacity to inspire the whole free world with his ideas, with his determination, with his capacity to distinguish what is right and what is wrong, what is immediate and what is long-range, what is support and what is response.
I feel myself very lucky to see a person like him standing ahead and trying to lead the whole world to peace, and to peace for everybody, not just for us, the Israelis, but also for our neighbours; not just for the Middle East but for Bosnia, Haiti, all other places. We are departing by the end of this century from a history of bloodshed and with Godspeed, let's hope that we're entering a different world of peace and understanding. The President played a major role in bringing peace between us and the Jordanians, between us and the Palestinians. He and the Secretary of State are opening a new chapter to bring peace between us, Syria and Lebanon that may be the last peace which is necessary in order to make the peace comprehensive and all-embracing. Mr. President, I really, with a full heart of things, would like to express both our admiration and gratefulness to you, to your Administration, to the American Congress, to the American people. The world is a better place to live in with this sort of a policy and this sort of leadership. Thank you very much.
Text of letter from Chairman Arafat to Prime Minister Peres on the amendment of the Palestine National Charter
4 May 1996
The following is the text of a letter, dated 4 May 1996, from Chairman Yasser Arafat to Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres regarding the amendment by the Palestine National Council (PNC) at its twenty-first session of the text of the Palestine National Charter:
Mr. Shimon Peres
Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Mr. Peres,
I convey my best wishes to your excellency, and I would like to convey to you the recent historic resolution adopted by the Palestine National Council at its twenty-first session held in Gaza city.
As part of our commitment to the peace process, and in adhering to the mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel, the PNC met in Gaza city between 22 and 25 of April 1996, and in an extraordinary session decided that the Palestine National Charter is hereby amended by cancelling the provisions that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel on 9 and 10 September 1993.
Please find enclosed copies of the official Arabic and English texts of the PNC resolution.
We remain committed to the peace process.
) Yasser Arafat
Chairman of the Executive Committee of
Palestine Liberation Organization
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian National Council, at its 21st session held in the city of Gaza,
Emanating from the declaration of independence and the political statement adopted at its nineteenth session held in Algiers on 15 November 1988, which affirmed the resolution of conflicts by peaceful means and accepted the two-States solution,
And based on the introduction of the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, which included the agreement of both sides to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security, while recognizing their mutual legitimate and political right,
And reaffirming their desire to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process,
And based on international legitimacy represented by the United Nations resolutions relevant to the Palestinian question, including those relating to Jerusalem, refugees and settlements, and the other issues of the permanent status and the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973),
And affirming the adherence of the Palestine Liberation Organization to its commitments deriving from the DOP (Oslo 1), the provisional Cairo Agreement, the letter of mutual recognition signed on 9 and 10 September 1993, the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Oslo 2) signed in Washington, D.C., on 28 September 1995, and reconfirm the resolution of the Central Council of the PLO adopted in October 1993, which approved the Oslo Agreement and all its annexes,
And based on the principles which constituted the foundation of the Madrid Peace Conference and the Washington negotiations, decides:
1. The Palestine National Charter is hereby amended by cancelling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel 9-10 September 1993.
2. Assigns its legal committee with the task of redrafting the Palestinian National Charter in order to present it to the first session of the Palestinian Central Council.
Text of the Israeli-PLO joint communiqué on permanent status negotiations
Taba, Egypt, 6 May 1996
The following is the text of the Joint Communiqué on the permanent status negotiations, signed by Israel and the PLO on 6 May 1996 in Taba, Egypt:
ISRAEL-PLO PERMANENT STATUS NEGOTIATIONS
First Session - Taba, May 5-6, 1996
Delegations of Israel and the PLO met in Taba, Egypt, on May 5-6, 1996 for the first session of the permanent status negotiations.
The two sides conveyed their gratitude to President Mubarak and the Egyptian Government for their hospitality in hosting the first session of the permanent status negotiations.
The two sides reaffirmed their determination to put an end to decades of confrontation and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security, and their desire to achieve a just, durable and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process.
The two sides reiterated their recognition of their mutual legitimate and political rights, and their adherence to the mutual recognition and commitments in the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel on September 9th and 10th 1993.
The two sides agreed that their negotiations on permanent status would be based on the Declaration of Principles of 1993 and the Interim Agreement of 1995.
The two sides reconfirmed their understanding that the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) in accordance with the Declaration of Principles.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to pursue their aim of achieving a permanent, just and comprehensive peace settlement and to continue to combat terror in order to pave the way for a Palestinian- Israeli future devoid of terror and violence, a future of peace, security and stability.
The two sides further agreed to form a steering negotiation group comprising 4-5 persons from each side that would develop the concept of the permanent status agreement, define the framework and modalities of the negotiations, and then establish working groups as required.
The steering negotiation group will meet periodically, both formally and informally, at such times and places as agreed by the two sides with the aim of advancing the negotiations in the most effective manner.
Israel and the PLO agreed that the negotiations on permanent status between them will be conducted on the basis of Article V of the Declaration of Principles, which reads as follows:
TRANSITIONAL PERIOD AND PERMANENT STATUS NEGOTIATIONS
1. The five-year transitional period will begin upon the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.
2. Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period, between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian people representatives.
3. It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbours, and other issues of common interest.
4. The two parties agree that the outcome of the permanent status negotiations should not be prejudiced or preempted by agreements reached for the interim period.
Both sides agreed to expedite their common work in the People to People programme, as initiated by the Government of Norway.
Both sides decided to expedite the work of their various committees in order to ensure in coordination the full implementation of the Interim Agreement.
Text of the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron
9 May 1996
The following is the text of the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron signed by the parties on 9 May 1996:
Agreement on the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron
(9 May 1996)
1. Pursuant to Article VII of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, dated September 28, 1995, the two sides agree to the establishment of a Temporary International Presence in the city of Hebron (TIPH). This agreement will remain in force until such time as Israeli forces redeploy from Hebron, whereupon it will be superseded by a new agreement to be negotiated by the two sides and the TIPH established by this Agreement will be replaced by a new TIPH to be established under the new agreement (the new TIPH).
2. A Temporary International Presence will be established in the city of Hebron. As detailed in paragraph 4 below, the TIPH will, in anticipation of the Israeli redeployment in Hebron, act as an advance party for the new TIPH, assist in promoting stability and in monitoring and reporting the efforts to maintain normal life in the city of Hebron, thus creating a feeling of security among Palestinians in the city of Hebron. The organizational structure, operational guidelines, logistics, support and privileges and immunities of the TIPH shall be in accordance with the modalities on the establishment of the TIPH established by Norway with the agreement of the two sides.
3. The two sides shall request Norway to provide 50-60 persons, citizens of Norway, as TIPH personnel, consisting of field observers, office staff and support personnel, as agreed between the two sides. Consistent with its stated task, the TIPH personnel shall have no military or police functions.
4. The tasks of the TIPH personnel will be:
a. to begin preparations for the establishment of the new TIPH;
b. to contribute by their presence to a feeling of security to the Palestinians of Hebron;
c. to help promote stability and an appropriate environment conducive to the enhancement of the well-being of the Palestinians in Hebron and their economic development; and
d. to provide reports as set out in paragraph 6 below.
5. In order to facilitate the carrying out of the TIPH tasks, a building will be chosen in the city of Hebron as a seat for the TIPH.
6. The TIPH will report to the following:
a. On specific events - to a Joint Hebron Committee (JHC), comprising two representatives from each side. The senior Palestinian representative will be the Mayor of Hebron and the senior Israeli representative will be the head of the Civil Administration in the city of Hebron. A representative of the TIPH will be invited on a bi-weekly basis to participate in the JHC meeting in order to report on the TIPH activities.
b. Periodically - to the Monitoring and Steering Committee established pursuant to the Interim Agreement.
7. The members of the TIPH shall wear distinctive uniforms with a special emblem, as agreed by the two sides, and their vehicles shall be marked with the same emblem. TIPH members may carry pistols for self-defence purposes.
8. The TIPH will enjoy freedom of movement for the performance of its tasks within the city of Hebron. Such freedom of movement shall not be restricted, except for reasons of imperative military necessity, and then only as an exceptional and temporary measure.
9. The TIPH and its members shall, in conformity with the modalities referred to in paragraph 2, be accorded such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the fulfilment of their tasks, and for the independent exercise of their functions, including immunity of the TIPH premises. The presence and activities of the personnel assigned by Norway to the TIPH will be in accordance with Israel's responsibility for security in Hebron consistent with the DOP and dates of its implementation.
10. The expenses of the TIPH will be borne by Norway.
11. The TIPH may commence its operation immediately after the signing of this Agreement and continue to function for a period of three months or until such earlier date on which this agreement is superseded by a new agreement pursuant to paragraph 1 above. With the consent of the two sides, the TIPH may extend the period or change the scope of its operation, as agreed.
) Joel Singer (
) Saeb Erakat
Excerpts from new Israeli Government guidelines
Jerusalem, 17 June 1996
Following are excerpts from the “Guidelines of the Government of Israel” presented to the Knesset (as communicated by Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bureau on 17 June 1996):
GUIDELINES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL
The Government presented to the Knesset will act on the premise that the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is eternal and indisputable, that the State of Israel is the State of the Jewish people, whose democratic government guarantees equality for all its citizens, and whose main goal is the ingathering and integration of the Jewish people.
The striving for national unity, social justice, and personal liberty, and the search for genuine peace with all of our neighbours while safeguarding national and personal security, shall serve as the basis for the Government's policies.
The Government will work to achieve the following goals:
1. Achieving peace with all our neighbours, while safeguarding national and personal security.
2. Reinforcing the status of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
3. Increasing immigration to Israel, and integrating new immigrants in all walks of life.
4. Creating conditions for a free, thriving economy and social welfare.
5. Strengthening, broadening and developing settlement in Israel.
6. Promoting values of the State of Israel as a Jewish, democratic State, while maintaining a proper balance between the will of the majority and the rights of individual and minorities.
7. Broadening education and strengthening the bond to Jewish heritage and the realization of Zionism.
I. PEACE, SECURITY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS
1. The Government of Israel will work to broaden the circle of peace with all of its neighbours, for the good of Israel's citizens and the region's inhabitants, while safeguarding Israel's vital interests.
2. The Government will reinforce and develop its peaceful relations with Egypt and Jordan.
3. The Government of Israel will conduct negotiations with Syria without pre-conditions.
4. The Government will work to raise the level of relations with other Arab countries which have connections with Israel: Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, and will work towards mutual recognition and cooperation with Arab countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations.
5. The Government of Israel will use all means at its disposal to bring home the prisoners of war and missing in action and all those who worked for the security of the State, and will insist on this point during negotiations with all relevant parties.
6. The Government will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, with the intent of reaching a permanent arrangement, on the condition that the Palestinians fulfil all their commitments fully.
7. The Government of Israel will propose to the Palestinians an arrangement whereby they will be able to conduct their lives freely within the framework of self-government. The Government will oppose the establishment of a Palestinian State or any foreign sovereignty west of the Jordan River, and will oppose "the right of return" of Arab populations to any part of the Land of Israel west of the Jordan River.
8. In any political arrangement, Israel shall insist on ensuring the existence and security of Jewish settlements and their affinity with the State of Israel. The Government of Israel will continue to bear full responsibility for the Jewish settlements and their residents.
9. The Government views the Golan Heights as essential to the security of the State and its water resources. Retaining Israeli sovereignty over the Golan will be the basis for an arrangement with Syria.
10. The State of Israel will keep strengthening the Israel Defence Forces and other security forces to deter potential enemies, prevent war and defend the State and its citizens.
11. The Government will exercise its right to use the IDF and security forces to act against the threat of terrorism everywhere, to ensure the well being of the country's residents and the Jewish people.
12. The Government will act to remove the threat to the northern border and will ensure economic development to residents in the north.
13. The Government's privatization policy will take into account the essential nature of the defence industries to the country's security.
14. The Government will promote Israel's foreign relations to enhance its security and peace, and to further the goal of economic and cultural growth.
15. The Government will nurture its special, close relationship with the United States, on the basis of the commitment of both to the values of liberty, justice, democracy, and the commonality of their interests.
16. The Government will act to strengthen relations with Russia and other CIS States, bearing in mind Russia's status in the international community and the interests shared by Israel and these countries.
17. The Government of Israel will continue efforts to have Israel added as an associate member of the European Union, and will act to strengthen its ties with Europe.
18. The Government will strengthen its relations in all spheres with countries in East Asia, especially economic ties with the fast-developing market in the region.
19. The Government will strive to develop relations with all countries desiring peace and will increase Israel's involvement in international organizations.
20. The Government will initiate and cooperate in international efforts against terrorist organizations and those countries which shelter and aid such organizations.
21. The Government will act with determination against any manifestation of anti-semitism throughout the world, and will work to enhance the ties and mutual responsibility between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
1. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is one city, whole and undivided, and will remain forever under Israel's sovereignty.
2. Freedom of worship and access to the holy places will be guaranteed to members of all faiths.
3. The Government will thwart any attempt to undermine the unity of Jerusalem, and will prevent any action which is counter to Israel's exclusive sovereignty over the city.
4. The Government of Israel, through its ministries and through the Jerusalem Municipality, will allocate special resources to speed up building, improve municipal services for Jewish, Arab and other residents, and to reinforce the social and economic status of the greater Jerusalem area.
III. RELIGION AND STATE
1. The Government will act to bring the religious and secular closer through mutual understanding and respect. The Government will retain the status quo on religious matters. Whenever it becomes clear that the status quo was violated, the Government will look into steps to undo the change, including introducing legislation.
2. The Law of Conversion shall be changed so that conversions to Judaism in Israel will be recognized only if approved by the Chief Rabbinate.
3. The Government will initiate research of the history of the Land of Israel and the Jewish People, including archeological excavation, while preserving the dignity of the dead.
4. The Government will make prayer arrangements for Jews at holy sites in accordance to the guidelines of religious law.
IV. IMMIGRATION AND ABSORPTION
1. Recognizing the shared fate and the joint struggle for the existence of the Jewish people, and to achieve the main goal of the State of Israel -- the ingathering of the Jewish people in its homeland -- the Government will act with determination to increase immigration from all countries, rescue persecuted Jews, and create social and economic conditions for a speedy and successful integration of immigrants.
2. The Government will put immigration and absorption at the top of its priorities in the belief that effective action on its part will turn Israel into a center which will draw immigrants from prosperous and deprived countries alike. The Government will initiate a strategic, long-term programme to tap the immigration potential from various countries, estimated at one million immigrants in the coming decade.
3. The Government will work to bridge the gaps between new immigrants and veteran residents, and will create conditions to facilitate their smooth and successful integration into Israeli society. The Government will work through information, education and law enforcement to prevent calumny and slander against immigrant groups or individuals on the basis of their origin, and will deal with manifestations of discrimination or mistreatment of immigrants by the government bureaucracy.
4. The Government will introduce legislation to ensure the rights of immigrants.
5. The Government will work to bring to Israel Ethiopians who wish to immigrate and are eligible under law or government decisions.
1. Settlement in the Negev, the Galilee, the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley, and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is of national importance, to Israel's defence and an expression of Zionist fulfilment. The Government will alter the settlement policy, act to consolidate and develop the settlement enterprise in these areas, and allocate the resources necessary for this.
2. The Government of Israel will safeguard its vital water supplies, from water sources on the Golan Heights and in Judea and Samaria.
3. The Government of Israel will examine the difficulties facing private farms,
, and propose recovery plans that will allow them to exist as independent economic entities under free market conditions.
4. The Government will uncompromisingly combat all attempts to impair the rights of all residents to exercise their full civil and economic rights, without forced mediation by -- or dependence on -- any union, movement, organization or party.
Excerpts from a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the presentation of the Government to the Knesset
Jerusalem, 18 June 1996
On 18 June 1996, at Jerusalem, speaking before the Knesset, Prime Minister of Israel Benyamin Netanyahu presented the new Israeli Government. Following are excerpts from his speech:
We promised this would be a Government of renewal, of a new way.
We are not talking of cosmetic changes, of the same package in different wrapping, but of a fundamental change, deep and substantive, that will march Israel forward to its goals.
Indeed, the new Government will be a Government of a new way. First in its approach to security and peace.
It is possible to reach a real peace with our neighbours. This is not an easy task, but it is within reach. We need patience, determination and persistence to achieve this goal.
We want a stable and lasting peace, not a temporary, fleeting agreement. We want peace that will last for our children and our grandchildren, not just for tomorrow's newspapers.
Such a peace is based first of all on the security of Israel and its citizens.
The test of peace agreements is security, and on this we shall not compromise. We will not compromise on the security of Israel's citizens, and we will not countenance attacks on our children - be it in Jerusalem or Hebron, Tel Aviv or Ariel, Kiryat Shmona or Kfar Darom.
The reality we are inheriting is not simple. In the last years, the security situation has deteriorated throughout the country and its borders. To stop this deterioration we will have to wage a continuous battle against terror.
The participants in terror should know that they will encounter a harsh response. I refer not only to the terrorists themselves but to their patrons and those who sent them, to their operators and collaborators.
Security is essential if we are to make progress towards real peace arrangements with our neighbours.
Our interlocutors must know that if they wish to advance to this end, they must diligently fulfil all their obligations. They must also know, that if necessary, the Israel Defence Forces and security forces will have full freedom of action, whenever necessary, to fight against terror.
I want to call today to our neighbours in the Palestinian Authority and say to them: on this basis of ensuring security, we are ready to start a real partnership with you for peace, cooperation and good, neighbourly relations.
The Government of Israel will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority on the condition that it will fulfil all its obligations. The negotiations will deal with the implementation of the interim agreement and the issues of the permanent arrangement, which will allow both sides to live in peace and security.
I believe that the permanent status arrangement will be lasting if a balance is created between two basic needs: minimal Israeli involvement in the lives of the Palestinians, and maximum security for Israel in the face of terror and threats of war.
We must build a new reality, which will grow from the shared lives of Israelis and Palestinians.
It is the lack of security which causes closures, paralysis and economic stagnation. With security, we will be able to create freedom of movement, an open economy and prosperity for all.
Mr. Speaker, Members of Knesset,
Clearly, we must first reinforce the primary circle of peace.
The Government of Israel will act to strengthen its ties with Egypt and Jordan. In my discussions with President Mubarak of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, we expressed our mutual desire to work together to deepen, broaden and strengthen the cooperation and mutual ties between our countries.
We will work to raise the level of relations with other Arab States which have ties with Israel: Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania.
Broadening the circle of peace with all our neighbours, while safeguarding the vital interests of our country is a foremost goal of the Government.
From this podium I address the leaders of all Arab countries with a call for peace. I call especially on our immediate neighbours, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, Lebanese President Elias Hrawi, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and all other Arab leaders.
Come, let us conduct direct negotiations for peace, negotiations without pre-conditions which will advance the Middle East to an era of stability and prosperity.
This is the key: no pre-conditions. Each side will be able to present its views and position without requiring that the other side agree to these positions in advance.
We will not dictate our views to you and you will not dictate your views to us. We will sit and negotiate seriously, prudently and responsibly to reach an agreement...
We will encourage this spirit. We will encourage pioneering settlement in the Land of Israel: in the Negev, the Galilee, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan. The settlers are the real pioneers of our day, and they deserve support and appreciation.
But above all, we will guard and strengthen Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, undivided under the sovereignty of the State of Israel.
Text of the European Council declaration on the Middle East peace process
Florence, 22 June 1996
The following declaration on the Middle East peace process was adopted by the European Council at its meeting at Florence, Italy, held on 21 and 22 June 1996:
DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
1. The European Council strongly reaffirms that peace in the Middle East region is a fundamental interest of the European Union. The peace process is the only path to security and peace for Israel, the Palestinians and the neighbouring States. The European Union remains dedicated to supporting it. Alongside the co-sponsors, the European Union's aim is that Israel and its neighbours may live within secure, recognized and guaranteed borders and the legitimate rights of the Palestinians shall be respected.
2. The European Union encourages all parties likewise to re-engage themselves in the peace process, to respect and implement fully all the agreements already reached and to resume negotiations as soon as possible on the basis of the principles already accepted by all parties under the Madrid and Oslo frameworks. These cover all the issues on which the parties have agreed to negotiate, including Jerusalem, noting its importance for the parties and the international community, not least the need to respect the established rights of religious institutions.
3. The European Union recalls the essential principles on which successful conclusion of the negotiations should be based. They have been enshrined in United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978). The key principles - self-determination for the Palestinians, with all that it implies, and land for peace - are essential to the achievement of a just, comprehensive and durable peace.
4. On this basis the European Union will continue to support the early resumption of the final status negotiations which opened on 5 May and the negotiations between Israel and Syria, as well as the opening of negotiations between Israel and Lebanon, fully respecting the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Lebanon. The European Union remains committed to supporting the cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon.
5. The European Union considers important the commitments the parties have made regarding security. It welcomes the cooperation which the Palestinian Authority has extended to Israel in this field. It condemns all acts of terrorism and will continue to support the parties in their fight against it, its perpetrators and its political, economic and social causes.
6. The European Union recognizes the serious effects which the recent border closures are having on the Palestinian economy. It acknowledges the recent partial easing of the closure. While recognizing Israel's security needs, it encourages Israel to lift completely the remaining restrictions.
7. The European Union appeals to all parties in the region to avoid and prevent actions which would prejudice the successful resumption of negotiations and thereby impede the course of the peace process.
8. The European Union pays tribute to the leaders in the region who have chosen the path of peace. It will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the work already begun is pursued and brought to its conclusion.
Fact Sheet: The Middle East Peace Process
(update of 11 March 1996)
The following is the text of the fact sheet on the Middle East peace process released by the Bureau of Public Affairs of the United States Department of State and updated on 11 March 1996:
The current phase of the Middle East peace process was launched at the Madrid conference convened by the United States and the former Soviet Union on 30 October and 1 November 1991.
The co-sponsors' letter of invitation to the conference laid out the framework for the negotiations, including:
- A just, lasting, and comprehensive peace settlement based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973);
- Direct bilateral negotiations along two tracks - between Israel and the Arab States and between Israel and the Palestinians; and
- Multilateral negotiations on region-wide issues, such as arms control and regional security, water, refugees, environment, and economic development. These talks would complement the bilateral negotiations.
The bilateral negotiations are conducted on four separate negotiating tracks: Israel-Syria, Israel-Lebanon, Israel-Jordan, and Israel-Palestinian.
The first major breakthrough in the negotiations occurred on the Israeli-Palestinian track. Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization conducted secret negotiations, in parallel with the Washington talks, which culminated in the signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements at a White House ceremony on 13 September 1993.
As part of the agreement, Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. For its part, the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in peace and security, accepted United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and renounced use of terrorism and violence.
The United States pledged to support efforts to implement the Israel-PLO agreement. ‘Not simply to give peace a chance, but to ensure that it will not fail’ - in Secretary Christopher's words - the United States and the Russian Federation co-sponsored an international donors conference in Washington, D.C., 1 October 1993. The Conference to Support Middle East Peace mobilized international resources to produce tangible improvements in the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
More than 46 countries and international institutions participated, pledging more than $2 billion in aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank over the next five years. More than $740 million was pledged for the first year alone.
The Israel-PLO economic agreement signed in Paris on April 29, 1994, (and now incorporated into the Interim Agreement) set the parameters for Israeli-Palestinian economic relations in Gaza and Jericho. The protocol covers trade and labour relations as well as money, banking, and taxation issues.
At a ceremony in Cairo on May 4, 1994, Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat signed the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area. The new agreement set out terms for implementation of the Declaration of Principles and included annexes on withdrawal of Israeli military forces and security arrangements, civil affairs, legal matters, and economic relations.
Yasser Arafat's early July 1994 visit to Gaza and Jericho, during which he swore in members of the Palestinian Authority, and his subsequent return to Gaza, was one more step in the implementation process.
On 29 August 1994, Israel and the PLO signed the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities in a meeting at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza. The expansion of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank over education, taxation, social welfare, tourism, and health was completed by December 1994.
On 28 September 1995, President Clinton hosted a White House ceremony at which Israel and the Palestinians signed the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip as provided for in the Declaration of Principles. The agreement contains 31 articles and seven annexes (redeployment and security, elections, civil affairs, legal matters, economic relations, cooperation programmes, and prisoner release).
To demonstrate the international community's support for the Interim Agreement, Secretary Christopher hosted a ministerial-level meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on Palestinian assistance, chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Godal on 28 September 1995. The AHLC agreed on the importance of supporting projects that address basic infrastructure needs and create employment opportunities for Palestinians. A series of follow-up meetings were designed to launch the second phase of the development effort. First, the World Bank chaired a Consultative Group meeting in Paris on October 18 and 19 to review projects at a technical level. A Conference on Assistance to the Palestinians then convened in Europe 9 January 1996, where donors announced pledges for specific projects.
Following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, on 28 September 1995, President Clinton hosted a Washington summit attended by King Hussein, President Mubarak, Prime Minister Rabin, and Chairman Arafat. The leaders reviewed progress toward a comprehensive peace and considered ways together to reinforce and accelerate that progress.
On 29 September 1995, Secretary Christopher, Foreign Minister Peres, and Chairman Arafat convened the first meeting of the US-Israel-Palestinian Trilateral Committee. The parties agreed: to promote cooperative efforts to foster economic development in the West Bank and Gaza; to explore the means to increase the availability and more efficient use of water resources; to consult on matters of mutual interest; and to promote cooperation on regional issues.
Israel and the Palestinians are implementing the Interim Agreement. The redeployment of Israeli forces from six West Bank cities and surrounding villages has been completed. Chairman Arafat and members of the Palestinian Council were elected on 20 January. The successful election was a historic opportunity for the Palestinian people to choose their leaders democratically. In the aftermath of the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Rabin 4 November, Prime Minister Peres pledged to implement the agreements with the Palestinians and Jordan.
Important progress also has been achieved on the Israel-Jordan track. On 14 September 1993 - just one day after the signing of the Israel-PLO agreement - Israel and Jordan signed a substantive Common Agenda mapping out their approach to achieving peace.
On 1 October 1993, Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan and Israeli Foreign Minister Peres met at the White House with President Clinton. They agreed to set up two groups: a bilateral economic committee and a US-Jordan-Israel Trilateral Economic Committee.
On 25 July 1994, President Clinton hosted a meeting between King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin at the White House. This historic meeting culminated in the signing of the Washington Declaration, which marked the end of the state of war between Israel and Jordan.
On 17 October 1994, Prime Minister Rabin and Prime Minister Majali initialled the text of a peace treaty. Jordan and Israel signed the full peace treaty in a ceremony on 26 October in the Arava. President Clinton's participation in the signing ceremony underscored the United States commitment to the peace process. Israel and Jordan moved quickly to complete the fourteen annexes to their peace treaty in such areas as energy, trade, tourism, agriculture, transportation, and navigation. Israel and Jordan are actively implementing the treaty's provisions.
Under the United States-Jordan-Israel Trilateral Economic Committee, Israel and Jordan have completed the first phase of the Jordan Rift Valley (JRV) Joint Master Plan. The second phase, an 18-month Integrated Development Study of the JRV, began in October 1995. The parties have outlined a number of projects dealing with the environment, water, energy, transportation, and tourism. They are establishing a tourism development initiative around the Dead Sea and a Red Sea Marine Peace Park with assistance from the United States Government. They are also exploring the establishment of a free-trade zone in Aqaba-Eilat, with a view to making it an economic hub for the northern peninsula of the Red Sea. Israel and Jordan, together with the United States, are also conducting feasibility studies on expanding the Aqaba airport and developing telecommunications.
President Mubarak hosted a historic meeting in Cairo on 2 February 1995, bringing together for the first time those parties who have concluded peace agreements. The summit represented the determination of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the PLO to work together to advance the negotiations and counter the efforts of those who oppose peace in the Middle East.
Following the Cairo summit, President Clinton and Secretary Christopher hosted the Blair House ministerial meeting with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians in Washington on 12 February 1995.
Commerce Secretary Ron Brown's meeting in Taba, on 7 and 8 February 1995, with senior Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian trade officials marked another historic step in furthering cooperation on economic development and achieved an important statement by the parties in support of efforts to end the boycott of Israel.
In another sign of the widening circle of peace in the Middle East, following a trilateral meeting on 22 January with Israeli Foreign Minister Barak and Tunisian Foreign Minister Ben Yahia, Secretary Christopher announced that the two countries had agreed to set up interests sections by 15 April. Morocco and Israel established liaison offices on 1 November 1994. Oman and Israel signed an agreement on 27 January to implement an exchange of trade offices.
In its role as full partner and active intermediary in the peace process, the United States also continues to seek progress on the other two bilateral tracks - Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon. President Clinton has said ‘We will press forward with our efforts until the circle of peace is closed, a circle which must include Syria and Lebanon if peace is to be complete.’
On 16 January 1994, President Clinton met with President al-Assad of Syria in Geneva. President al-Assad stated his country's commitment to work together to ‘put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.’ He called for ‘... a new era of security and stability in which normal, peaceful relations among all shall dawn anew.’
During 1994, Secretary Christopher held detailed talks with Prime Minister Rabin and President al-Assad during visits to the region. President Clinton included a stop in Damascus on his October 1994 trip to the Middle East. After meeting with President al-Assad, President Clinton stated that ‘Syria has made a strategic choice for peace with Israel’ and is ready to ‘commit itself to the requirements of peace through the establishment of normal peaceful relations with Israel.’
Negotiations between Israel and Syria entered a new phase in 1995. On 24 May 1995, Secretary Christopher announced that Syria and Israel reached a set of understandings on security arrangements. On 27 and 28 June, the chiefs of staff of Israel and Syria met in Washington under United States auspices to discuss security arrangements. A new phase of intensive talks under United States auspices began on 27 December near Washington. Two more rounds of these talks, interspersed with Secretary Christopher's travel to the Middle East, occurred in January and February. The talks have recessed in the aftermath of the terrorist incidents in Israel. Prime Minister Peres and President al-Assad have expressed their commitment to achieving a peace agreement.
The multilateral talks
Thirty-six parties attended the Moscow organizational meeting in January 1992. There was consensus to establish five working groups: Arms Control and Regional Security, Environment, Regional Economic Development, Refugees, and Water Resources. A steering group also was established to coordinate the activities of the various working groups.
The eighth round of working group plenaries began from 18 to 22 June 1995 with meetings of the environment and water resources working groups in Amman. All five of the multilateral working groups have been making progress and moving to concrete projects which bear significantly on the long-term peace, stability, and prosperity of the region. Following are examples of their work:
- The Arms Control and Regional Security Working Group, chaired by the United States and the Russian Federation, has a wide range of near-term and long-term security issues on its agenda. At its most recent plenary meeting, the group agreed to the establishment of regional security centres in the region.
- The Environmental Working Group, chaired by Japan, endorsed an environmental code of conduct in October 1994. The group is now moving ahead on a number of projects involving Gulf of Aqaba oil spill contingencies, waste-water treatment and reuse, combating desertification, and environmental health effects of pesticides.
- The Regional Economic Development Working Group, chaired by the European Union, has put together an action plan of projects and has set up a monitoring committee with subgroups on finance, trade, infrastructure, and tourism. Two of these sectoral committees are now working on the creation of a regional tourism association and a regional business council.
- The Refugee Working Group, chaired by Canada, addresses job creation and human resources development, family reunification, data bases, public health, child welfare, and economic and social infrastructure. The group has sponsored more than $100 million in projects for Palestinian refugees.
- The Water Resources Working Group, chaired by the United States, is focusing on water data availability, water management practices, enhancement of water supply, and regional water management/cooperation. Important initiatives include a water data bank project, a study of water supply and demand in the region, a declaration on principles of cooperation among the core parties on water-related matters, and the establishment of the Middle East Desalination Research Centre in Oman.
At its meeting on 17 and 18 May 1995, the steering group entrusted Switzerland to ‘shepherd’ activities in the fields of civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights and of intercultural understanding within the working groups. The Swiss also will act as an adviser to the co-sponsors on the human dimension of the multilateral process.
The multilaterals are not a substitute for the bilateral negotiations They are designed to complement them and to enhance the possibility of progress in the bilateral tracks. Syria and Lebanon have not yet agreed to join the multilateral process.
The activities of the multilateral working groups are fostering new bilateral and private sector initiatives. One of the more significant of these is the Middle East/North Africa Economic Summits, the first of which was held in Casablanca, Morocco,on 30 October and 1 November 1994. Secretary Christopher led the United States delegation to the Casablanca conference, which brought together nearly 1,000 of the world's business leaders with government representatives of regional and developed countries to encourage regional economic cooperation and integration, private sector investment, and strengthened public-private partnership in economic development.
Participants at the second summit, held in Amman from 29 to 31 October 1995, reached agreement on:
- The establishment of a Bank for Economic Cooperation and Development in the Middle East and North Africa;
- The establishment of the Middle East-Mediterranean Travel and Tourism Association;
- The establishment of a Regional Business Council; and
- The formal inauguration of the Economic Summit Executive Secretariat.
Egypt will host a third economic summit in 1996. Qatar will host a summit in 1997.
* * *
1. Release of the Office of the Spokesman, United States Department of State, Jerusalem, 5 February 1996, via the Internet <
2. Ibid., 7 February 1996.
3. Israel Information Service Gopher, Information Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Jerusalem,
14 February 1996, via the Internet <
> and <
4. Ibid., 14 March 1996.
5. Release of the Office of the Press Secretary, the White House, 24 April 1996, via the Internet <
6. Israel Information Service Gopher, Information Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Jerusalem,
1 May 1996, via the Internet <
> and <
7. Ibid., 5 May 1996.
8. Ibid., 6 May 1996.
9. Ibid., 16 May 1996.
10. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East & South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-96-118, 18 June 1996, pp. 32-36; also Information Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Jerusalem, via the Internet <
11. Israel Information Service Gopher, Information Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Jerusalem,
19 June 1996, via the Internet <
> and <
12. Via the Internet. From EUROPA, the European Union’s WWW server <
13. Based on the Release of the Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State, 11 March 1996, via the Internet <