"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Letter from the President of the United States to the Honourable George J. Mitchell, Chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, November 15, 2000
Letter from the President of the United States to the Honourable George J. Mitchell, Chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, December 6, 2000
Letter from the Secretary General of the United Nations to the Honourable George J. Mitchell, Chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, May 14, 2001
Letter from Minister Dan Naveh on behalf of the Government of Israel to the Honourable George J. Mitchell, Chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, May 15, 2001
Comment of the Government of Israel on the Report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, May 15, 2001
Letter from Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, May 15, 2001
Official Response of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Final Report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, May 15, 2001
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: In the name of God Almighty; to His Excellency, Bill Clinton; His Highness, King Abdullah; Your Majesty, King Hussein; His Excellency, Prime Minister Barak; Mr. Chairman Arafat; U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Mr. Javier Solana, high representative of the European Union: we spent the past two days since we started our summit in constructive discussions and extensive dialogue about all the aspects of the escalating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories -- discussions aimed, at restoring the situation back to normal, through withdrawing the occupying forces, lifting the blockade, putting an end to violent acts -- taking measures aiming at restoring trust and confidence to the two Palestinian and Israeli sides, with a view to resuming the peace efforts after the situation is stabilized in the region.
Before I give the floor to His Excellency, President Bill Clinton, the President of the United States of America, in his capacity as the key sponsor of the peace process, to present his report on the outcome of our relentless efforts over the two days, I would like to stress the fact -- I would like to stress a number of key points that we should take into account in the stage to come.
First, the outcome we have reached in this summit may not meet the expectations of all peoples. However, they constitute at the same time a basis on which we can build, if we have good intentions, and if the real desire to achieve peace is there.
Secondly, the most important thing in the vision of all peoples in the days to come is the extent to which the two parties are committed to implement what has been agreed upon precisely, and how far they are willing to push the peace process forward. Hence, the following days will witness redeployment of the Israeli forces, lift the blockade imposed on three million Palestinian people, reopening airports, ports, crossing points, in order to pacify the Palestinian streets and bring matters back to normal.
Number three, our ultimate objective must and will be reaching a just and comprehensive peace. We do appreciate the leading role assumed by the United States of America, the key sponsor of the peace process, and the sponsorship of Mr. Bill Clinton. And we highly commend the role he assumed, including his strenuous efforts he exerted during this summit, which were crowned in reaching an agreement.
It's my fervent hope that the peace process will go on as planned, and that we avoid having recourse to provocative acts, confrontations. Rather, we have to establish a constructive dialogue in order to settle all the unresolved problems, to arrive at a peace agreement in a context of full respect of religious sanctities, and the right of peoples to live in peace and stability.
And now I give the floor to His Excellency, President Bill Clinton, the President of the United States of America.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: First of all, I want to thank President Mubarak and his able team for making it possible for us to have this meeting that we have held in this magnificent and beautiful place. I especially want to thank President Mubarak for Egypt's consistent and pivotal partnership in the peace process and for playing a critical role in our efforts here. I also want to thank His Majesty King Abdullah for his steadfast leadership for peace, which again was in evidence.
I would like to thank the E.U. High Commissioner Javier Solana, my long-time friend, who worked with me to bring an end to violence in the Balkans, and now is working in the Middle East. And especially I want to thank Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has been here now in the region for more than a week, and who has worked tirelessly to bring an end to violence and to make this meeting possible.
But of course, the greatest credit for the progress we have made today belongs to Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, who have had to overcome the difficulties of these last several days. And we all recognize that theirs was the primary decision to make.
Our meeting has not been easy because the last two weeks have been so hard. A tragic and terrible confrontation costing many lives and injuries, threatening everything that we have worked to achieve between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the region and over the past seven years now.
Even as we meet, the situation in the territories remains tense. Yesterday again was violent.
This is a reminder of the urgency of breaking the cycle of violence. I believe we have made real progress today. Repairing the damage will take time and great effort by all of us.
When we leave here today, we will have to work hard to consolidate what we have agreed. Let me summarize what has been agreed so there will be no misunderstanding.
Our primary objective has been to end the current violence so we can begin again to resume our efforts towards peace. The leaders have agreed on three basic objectives and steps to realize them.
First, both sides have agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end of violence. They also agreed to take immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end to violence and incitement, maintain calm, and prevent recurrence of recent events.
To accomplish this, both sides will act immediately to return the situation to that which existed prior to the current crisis, in areas such as restoring law and order, redeployment of forces, eliminating points of friction, enhancing security cooperation, and ending the closure and opening the Gaza airport. The United States will facilitate security cooperation between the parties as needed.
Second, the United States will develop with the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the United Nations Secretary General, a committee of fact-finding on the events of the past several weeks and how to prevent their recurrence. The committee's report will be shared by the U.S. President with the U.N. Secretary General and the parties prior to publication. A final report shall be submitted under the auspices of the U.S. President for publication.
Third, if we are to address the underlying roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there must be a pathway back to negotiations and a resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement based on the U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent understandings. Toward this end, the leaders have agreed that the United States would consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward.
We have made important commitments here today against the backdrop of tragedy and crisis. We should have no illusions about the difficulties ahead.
If we are going to rebuild confidence and trust, we must all do our part, avoiding recrimination and moving forward. I'm counting on each of us to do everything we possibly can in the critical period ahead.
I am sure it will be a disappointment to some of you, but one of the things that all the leaders agreed was that our statement should stand on its own and we should begin by promoting reconciliation and avoiding conflict by forgoing questions today.
Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: [In Arabic] -- Bill Clinton, for your statement and the speech you just made. And there is no time whatsoever to respond to any media conferences. I declare this summit adjourned.
END 1:55 P.M. (L)
November 15, 2000
May 16, 2001
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We enclose herewith the comments of the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the Secretary General of the United Nations on our report.
The Government of Israel stated that "the Committee's Report provides a constructive and positive attempt to break the cycle of violence and facilitate a resumption of bilateral negotiations for peace."
The Palestinian Authority stated that "the findings and recommendations of the Report offer Palestinians and Israelis a sensible and coherent foundation for resolving the current crisis and preparing a path to resuming meaningful negotiations."
We are grateful for the generally positive tone of all of the comments, and we are struck by the convergence of the parties' views on our report.
Beyond these general statements, the parties' detailed comments understandably restate many of the arguments previously made to us. In our view this does not detract from the positive nature of their comments. We hope these responses will encourage you to use the report in your continuing and commendable effort to end the escalating violence.
We view that escalation with deep concern. We reiterate our belief that there must be an immediate and unconditional cessation of violence, the rebuilding of confidence, and the resumption of negotiations. We stand ready to assist you in any way you deem appropriate in your ongoing effort to achieve these objectives.
We have honored that part of your mandate that prohibits public release of the report prior to authorization by the President. As you know, however, large portions of the report have been obtained by the press. Accordingly, we request approval to make the report and the enclosed comments public as soon as possible.
We repeat our previously expressed gratitude to the parties for their cooperation, and to you and the Administration for your support.
With best wishes.
THE SHARM EL-SHEIKH FACT-FINDING COMMITTEE
The Committee has also asked the parties "to renew their formal commitments to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and to abstain from incitement and hostile propaganda." (Report, page 22) The Report particularly urges the parties not to use words "in a manner that suggests collective responsibility." (Report, page 22) We agree with the Committee's sentiments. Even as we submit this report, the GOI continues to create a climate of hate against Palestinians in general and against the Palestinian National Authority in particular. Israeli President Moshe Katsav very recently made statements attempting to remove Palestinians from the pale of humanity:
Unfortunately, these are not the only statements by highly placed GOI officials or political leaders demonizing the Palestinian people as a whole or arguing that Palestinians are collectively guilty for any act of violence directed at Israel or its occupation.
As the Committee noted, hate speech must be condemned. The statement of the Israeli president and other Israeli officials, particularly in the current volatile situation, helps to create an atmosphere in which Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and other noncombatants can occur with impunity. We join the Committee in condemning all hate speech and other incitement regardless of the source.
Respect for Holy Places
The Committee also addressed the need to ensure that places deemed holy by Muslims, Jews, and Christians are afforded respect, protection and preservation. The Report recommends the creation of a "joint initiative" to preserve and protect such places. These views are also consistent with Palestinian concerns for allowing full freedom of movement for worshippers of all faiths, particularly with respect to access to the holy sites in Jerusalem by both Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Conclusions Form a Comprehensive Package
Perhaps most importantly, the Committee has linked all these elements into a comprehensive package to truly end the crisis and prevent its recurrence. The Report provides a sophisticated analysis of how Israel's occupation, particularly its settlement and lethal force policy, is inextricably tied to Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation, and how security cooperation can only be sustained in the context of meaningful political negotiations:
A resolution to the current crisis requires that this package of recommendations provided by the international community be implemented comprehensively with a view towards implementing U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 that require an end to the Israeli occupation. As the Committee recognized, there is a need to have the Israeli government rearticulate its commitment to these principles by "[making...] clear to the PA that a future peace would pose no threat to the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian State to be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." (Report, page 29)
We accept these findings and are committed to working with the international community to prepare a road map for the effective implementation of all the measures recommended in the Report including those to be taken by the PNA to promote security in those areas of the Occupied Territories under its security administration.
THE LEGAL CONTEXT
As noted above, the Committee's findings represent a political document and not a legal judgment. The Report alludes to the international context when it states that "[i]f the parties are to succeed in completing their journey to their common destination, agreed commitments must be implemented, international law respected, and human rights protected," but fails to explicitly set forth that context. (Report, page 3) The PLO wishes to directly address this deficiency in the Report by providing a record of the internationally accepted legal standards that apply to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Fourth Geneva Convention
During the June War of 1967, Israeli armed forces occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, passed in 1968, restated the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and applied this international principle specifically to the Israeli occupation of Arab territory. Since then, all serious efforts to end the Israeli-Arab conflict have depended on implementation of this resolution requiring the Israeli withdrawal from Arab territory acquired by force and the subsequent termination of all states of belligerency.
Security Council Resolution 1322, consideration of which forms part of this Committee's mandate, makes explicit reference to several other Security Council resolutions, h/ all of which emphasize the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention ("Convention") to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the illegality of Israel's unilateral annexation of Jerusalem and of the steps Israel has taken to change the city's character. The international community, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has repeatedly affirmed that the Convention applies de jure to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the International Court of Justice has noted that the Geneva Conventions are customary international law as well. Israel itself originally recognized the Convention's de jure applicability but subsequently reversed itself.
The Committee's recommendations are in line with the Convention, and appear directly linked to the Convention's application. Israel's settlement policy, for example, is "illegal under international law" precisely because of the application of Article 49 of the Convention which prohibits the transfer of an Occupying Power's civilian population into the territory it occupies.
The Committee's recommendation that Israel cease using lethal force against Palestinian civilians and its differentiation between terrorism and legitimate protest is based, in part, on Article 47 of the Convention which affirms "the inviolability of rights" granted to the civilian population that can in no circumstances be suspended or evaded and Article 50 of the Convention which imposes a special burden on the Occupying Power to protect children from the effects of war and accompanying hardships.
The Report's recommendation that Israel lift the closures of Palestinian towns and cities, stop the demolitions of homes and agricultural property including the uprooting of trees, and release Palestinian revenues back to the PNA are consistent with Article 33 of the Convention.
The Committee's work itself can provide the basis on which States can fulfill their Article 1 duty under the Convention to take steps to ensure that the GOI complies with all provisions of international humanitarian law.
Human Rights Law
In addition to international humanitarian law, the GOI's conduct in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is also subject to human rights instruments to which Israel is party, as well as customary international human rights rules. While the GOI has in the past denied the applicability of international human rights instruments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the various mechanisms created by these instruments have reaffirmed their applicability. These include, inter alia, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee has acknowledged this applicability in its call for the parties to respect international law and respect human rights.
General rules of international law also apply to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Most significant in this context is the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, recognized implicitly by the Committee in its call to Israel to make a statement recognizing that the goal of the peace process is to establish a viable and contiguous Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.
ISSUES FOR FURTHER ATTENTION
International Protection Force
We note that the Committee did not oppose an international protection force but felt that such a protection force "would need the support of both parties." (Report, page 24) The Committee does not indicate that an International Protection Force is inadvisable, and consequently, further discussion on this matter is warranted. We believe that such a force remains necessary, particularly in light of the fact that Palestinians continue to be killed by Israeli forces in increasing numbers.
Israel's Continuing Assassination Policy
On May 14, 2001, Israeli forces assassinated five Palestinian policemen near Ramallah. This premeditated killing indicates a new GOI strategy of delegating authority to local Israeli commanders to initiate attacks against Palestinian civilians and PNA officials and police. However, Israel's assassination policy started much earlier, and was openly encouraged by officials of the previous Israeli government.
In light of the open advocacy, and indeed escalation, of Israel's extra judicial execution or assassination policy, the Committee's failure to adequately address Palestinian concerns is difficult to understand. Articles 27, 32 and 33 of the Convention clearly stipulate that Israel's planned and systematic policy of assassinations, directed against specific Palestinian officials and local leaders, is a grave breach and a war crime. The international community has now made it clear, particularly through the precedents of the International War Crimes Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, that all of those involved in the planning, instigating, ordering, or commission of grave breaches or who otherwise aid and abet in the planning, preparation or execution of grave breaches must be held individually responsible for the crime. This remains true whether those responsible are soldiers, government officials or even heads of state.
Although Israel has not signed or ratified the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention of 1977, the Protocol does provide guidance in interpreting international humanitarian law concerning assassination and arguably reflects customary law. Attacks on persons considered activists, or allegedly involved in encouraging resistance to Israel's occupation, clearly contravene Articles 51, 75, and 85 of the Protocol which consider such attacks grave breaches and war crimes.
Implementation of the Committee's Recommendations
The Report's findings fail to address the question of implementation of the recommendations, perhaps wishing to leave the matter to discussion with the parties and the international community. Although there are a number of models that have been utilized by the international community to stop the worst abuses of international law, this Response will be limited to a discussion of the most important elements required for any implementation effort. The international community, however, should discuss the actual models by which these elements are incorporated with the parties at the earliest possible date.
1. Third Party Involvement: Neither party should be permitted to play the role of both judge and jury. A fundamental problem with the implementation of many of the past agreements between the Palestinians and Israelis has been the lack of objective third party involvement. This failure has allowed one side to blame the other for alleged violations without an objective third party voice to determine the veracity of the complaint. It would be extremely counter-productive if implementation of the Committee's findings are not verified and/or enforced by third parties respected and trusted by both Palestinians and Israelis. Such involvement, once agreed to, must be able to make its decisions without possibility of a veto by either party. The Committee recommends that the parties consider requesting the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) to expand its efforts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. However, if this is to be done, TIPH's mandate must be changed to address deficiencies in the ability of the current force to stop abuses of international law.
2. Findings of Fact: Third party involvement could alleviate the possibility of either party drawing negative conclusions on the other's implementation of an existing obligation without sufficient reason. The third party would investigate allegations of non-compliance and issue findings of fact on the allegations.
3. Dispute Resolution Mechanism: In order to address disagreements over implementation of the Report's recommendations, a peaceful and speedy dispute resolution mechanism must be created.
Implementation of Past Agreements
Finally, a number of agreements have been signed between the PLO and Israel governing certain aspects of the relations between them and imposing certain obligations on each. The Committee has recognized that these obligations need to be fulfilled but fails to identify the most important of these unfulfilled obligations:
Ø Section 2(d) of Article XI of the Interim Agreement calls for Israel to have withdrawn from all of the West Bank, with the exception of Israeli settlements and Israeli military bases. Today, almost three years after the deadline for Israel's third withdrawal, Israeli troops remain in control of 82% of the West Bank.
Ø Section 1 of Article XVI of the Interim Agreement and Annex VII thereof provides for the release of Palestinian political prisoners as well as the release of political prisoners from Arab countries. The release was to take place in three phases, the last of which was to occur during the permanent status negotiations. Israel has yet to comply with this provision.
Ø Article X of the Protocol Concerning Redeployment and Security Arrangements annexed to the Interim Agreement require Israel to open a safe passage route connecting the West Bank with the Gaza Strip for "the movement of persons, vehicles and goods." The Interim Agreement provides for the opening of a northern and a southern safe passage route as well as specifying the locations of designated crossing points. These commitments have also not been met.
Ø Israel has also failed to move forward on the issue of displaced persons (i.e. those who were displaced from their homes in the West Bank and Gaza during or after the 1967 War) by attempting to move the issue to one of the final status issues, in contravention to its obligations under Article XII of the Declaration of Principles and Article XXVII of the Interim Agreement.
Ø Article 40 of Annex I to the Interim Agreement, which requires Israel to increase the water allocation for Palestinians, has also yet to be fulfilled.
The failure of Israel to take steps to mitigate the consequences of its occupation pursuant to its obligations under these agreements has also been an underlying cause for Palestinian frustration and desperation, and the Committee is correct in noting that the agreements must be implemented if political negotiations are to be meaningful or if security cooperation is to be sustainable.
Israel's emphasis on security considerations alone, while taken very seriously by the Palestinians, cannot dictate the course of peace talks or attempts to end the current crisis. The PNA has repeatedly expressed its desire to resume security cooperation with Israel within the context of those elements necessary to make such cooperation sustainable. The Committee has correctly identified that security cooperation is not sustainable without meaningful political negotiations and that such negotiations cannot exist while Israel continues to colonize the territory from which it is ostensibly negotiating a withdrawal.
Most importantly, the Report provides the international community with a package of guidelines on most, if not all, of the elements necessary to create the peaceful conditions that can promote meaningful political negotiations whose goal must remain the timely end of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and a two-state solution based on international law. These elements must be considered and implemented in tandem if any one element is to be successful.
We are also encouraged that the Report complements the recent Egyptian-Jordanian Initiative to end the crisis. Both the Report and the Egyptian-Jordanian Initiative represent a fair basis for resolution of the current crisis. As such, we recommend that the U.N. Security Council adopt both documents as a basis for ending the current crisis and implementing international law, including all applicable U.N. Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
We accept this Report with the same sense of purpose with which it was written. Indeed, much has been accomplished already in Oslo, Washington, Cairo and elsewhere, but such progress will be lost if the international community does not give the Committee's recommendations the same level of consideration we are willing to provide the Report. This Report will inform Palestinian policy and must equally inform Israeli policy. For this Report to be considered by the GOI with the seriousness it deserves, the international community must also allow the Report to inform individual state policies towards the region.
We would hope that in their response to the Report, all member states and international bodies attending the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit in October 2000, together with the Committee Members, will join us in requesting a meeting at the highest level for all the parties in order to develop a mechanism for the timely implementation of the Committee's recommendations. We believe that this is within the spirit of former President Bill Clinton's October 17, 2000 statement at Sharm El-Sheikh and the logical conclusion to be drawn from the Report.
Too many innocent lives have already been lost or unalterably damaged and there are already too many people mourning in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as in Israel. With that impetus in mind, we consider this Report not an end, but a beginning to a resolution of not only the current crisis, but also the underlying occupation. We are prepared to exert every effort in conjunction with the international community to make certain that the entire package presented in this Report becomes a reality.
1/A copy of the statement is attached.
2/Copies of the President's letters are attached.
3/ When informed of the planned visit, Ambassador Dennis Ross (President Clinton's Middle East Envoy) said that he told Israeli Minister of Interior Shlomo Ben-Ami, "I can think of a lot of bad ideas, but I can't think of a worse one." See Jane Perlez, "US Envoy Recalls the Day Pandora's Box Wouldn't Shut," The New York Times, January 29, 2001.
4/U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2000 (Israel), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, February 2001, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/nea/index.
5/Government of Israel, First Statement, 28 December 2000 (hereafter "GOI, First Statement"), ¶187. B'Tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) reported that 70 police were injured. See Events on the Temple Mount - 29 September 2000: Interim Report, http://www.btselem.org/files/siteNiolent Events/ Temple Mount 2000 eng.as.
6/Disturbances also occurred within Israel's Arab community, resulting in thirteen deaths. These events do not fall within the mandate of this Committee and are the subject of an official GOI inquiry.
7/GOI, First Statement, T118.
8/Id., ¶110. According to the GOI, the Palestinian Minister of Posts and Telecommunications declared at a rally in Lebanon in March 2001 that the confrontation with Israel had been planned following the Camp David Summit. See Government of Israel, Second Statement, 20 March 2001 (hereafter, "GOI, Second Statement"), ¶2. The PA provided the Committee a translation of a letter from the Minister, dated March 12, 2001, in which the Minister denied saying that the intifada was planned, and that his statement in Lebanon was misquoted and taken out of context. We were told by an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) intelligence officer that while the declaration itself was not definitive, it represented an "open-source" version of what was known to the IDF through "other means"; knowledge and means not shared by the IDF with the Committee.
9/Palestine Liberation Organization, Preliminary Submission of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the International Commission of Inquiry, December 8, 2000, p. 10. Note: submissions to the Committee from the Palestinian side were made by the PLO.
10/Palestine Liberation Organization, A Crisis of Faith: Second Submission of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, December 30, 2000 (hereafter "PLO, Second Submission"), p. 16.
11/See GOI, First Statement, ¶286.
12/Palestine Liberation Organization, Third Submission of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Sham El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, April 3, 2001 (hereafter "PLO, Third Submission"), p. 51.
13/GOI, Second Statement, ¶4.
14/GOI, First Statement, ¶19.
15/ PLO, Third Submission, p. 25.
16/ Id., pp. 46-50.
17/Id., pp. 27-28.
18/PLO, Second Submission, p. 14.
19/Id., pp. 14-15.
20/GOI, Second Statement, ¶82.
21/GOI, First Statement, ¶99.
22/ GOI, Second Statement, 19, referring to the Exchange of Notes Between the Prime Minister of Israel and the Chairman of the PLO, 9-10 September 1993.
23/ Id., 21.
24/ Testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, 102nd Congress, May 22, 1991.
25/ On March 21, 1980, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, speaking on behalf of the Carter Administration, stated: "U.S. policy toward the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is unequivocal and has long been a matter of public record. We consider it to be contrary to international law and an impediment to the successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process."
On September 1, 1982, President Ronald Reagan announced what came to be known as The Reagan Plan for the Middle East, stating that: "[T]he immediate adoption of a settlements freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated."
On December 16, 1996, at a press conference, President Bill Clinton stated: "It just stands to reason that anything that preempts the outcome [of the negotiations]. . .cannot be helpful in making peace. I don't think anything should be done that would be seen as pre-empting the outcome." Asked if he viewed the settlements as an obstacle to peace, President Clinton replied, "Absolutely. Absolutely."
On April 5, 2001, a U.S. State Department spokesman, speaking for the current administration, stated: "Continuing settlement activity does risk inflaming an already volatile situation in the region"; he described that activity as "provocative."
26/ There are 400 settlers in the "H2" sector of central Hebron, and 6,000 in the Kiryat Arba settlement on the eastern edge of the city. See "An Introduction to the City of Hebron," published by the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, http://www.tiph.org.
27/ Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook 2000, http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/ factboogeos/gz.html.
28/ Ha 'aretz, English Language Edition, April 10, 2001, p. 5.
29/ GOI, First Statement, ¶286.
30/ Id., ¶ 189.
31/B'Tselem, Illusions of Restraint: Human Rights Violations During the Events in the Occupied Territories, 29 September-2 December 2000, December 2000, p. 4.
32/GOI, First Statement, 306. "The stated policy of the IDF is that whenever a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories dies at the hands of a soldier, an investigation is to be made by the Department of Military Police Investigations (MPI), except in cases defined as `hostile terrorist activity."" See B'Tselem, Illusions of Restraint, p. 24. See also, Alex Fishman, "The Intifada, the IDF and Investigations," Yediot Aharonot (in English, Richard Bell Press, 1996, Ltd.), January 19, 2001.
33/GOI, Second Statement, ¶69-80.
34/PLO, Third Submission, p. 69.
35/Id., p. 60.
36/GOI, Second Statement, ¶78.
37/ GOI, First Statement, ¶305.
38/ Israel Defense Forces, The Ethical Code of the Israel Defense Forces, http://www.idf.il/english/ doctrine/doctrine. stm.
39/See, e.g., U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2000 (Occupied Territories), http://www.stateov/g/drl/r1s/hrrpt/2000/nea/index . See also, B'Tselem, Illusions of Restraint, pp. 15-16, reporting on the alleged practice of separating rubber bullets into individual rounds, as opposed to firing them properly in a bound cluster of three. Separation increases range and lethality.
40/GOI, Second Statement, ¶92.
a/ The texts of the statements of the Government of Israel to the Committee may be found on the website of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, www.mfa.gov.il
b/ Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, 1993, at Article V(3).
c/ The Report references the Palestinian National Authority as the "Palestinian Authority" or "PA." Whenever this Response refers to the "Palestinian Authority" it is using the Report's own designation. The "Palestinian National Authority" is the same as the "Palestinian Authority."
d/ The poll appeared in the May 3, 2001 edition of Yediot Aharonot, an Israeli daily.
e/ Nadav Shragai, Cabinet Approval for E. Jerusalem Ring Road, Ha'aretz, Page 1, May 14, 2001
f/Greer Fay Cashman, Katsav: We'd Never Stoop to Palestinians ' Brutality, Jerusalem Post, A4, May 11, 2001.
g/ Phil Reeves, God Must Kill "Evil" Arabs, Says Rabbi, The Independent, April 10, 2001.
h/UN SC 1322 makes explicit reference to Security Council Resolutions 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 672 (1990), 1073 (1996), and all other relevant Security Council resolutions.