On February 1, 2000, the Foreign Ministers of the Multilateral Steering Group of the Middle East Peace Process met in Moscow to reinvigorate the Multilateral Track of the Middle East Peace Process, an integral component of the Madrid framework.
The meeting was the first formal Multilateral Steering Group meeting held since 1995. As co-sponsors of the Middle East Peace Process, the meeting was chaired by Secretary of State Albright and Foreign Minister Ivanov.
Steering Group ministers expressed their strong commitment to the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. In this vein, they expressed their hope for further achievement and progress in the bilateral tracks. They recognize that progress in the multilateral tracks is related to and supports the bilateral tracks. They commended the parties for their dedication to resolving their differences through the negotiation of comprehensive peace agreements. They also expressed their support for the early participation of Syria and Lebanon in the multilaterals.
In recognition of the new possibilities for achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, Steering Group ministers pledged to invest the activities of the Multilateral Track with dedication and sustained commitment. This would enable the multilateral track to enhance regional cooperation by addressing issues of mutual concern and great importance to the region.
In discussing the role of the Multilateral Track, ministers agreed that one of the most effective ways the international community can support progress in the bilateral tracks is by enhancing regional cooperation through the dialogue and exchanges that take place among the parties in the Multilateral Working Groups. They underscored that regional cooperation will flourish in a positive and conducive environment. In this respect, they called for the faithful and expeditious implementation of all agreements reached among the parties in the bilateral and multilateral tracks and recognized the necessity to create a positive environment for the negotiations.
Steering Group ministers endorsed the institutionalization of the REDWG Monitoring Committee Secretariat in Amman, and the tangible progress achieved by the working groups on refugees, environment and water.
As a first step in the process of enhancing regional dialogue and cooperation, Steering Group ministers welcomed the proposals by the Gavel Holders of the Multilateral Working Groups on Water, Environment, Regional Economic Development and Refugees to hold formal Working Group Plenary meetings in the first half of 2000.
In that regard, Steering Group Ministers endorsed the proposals of the Gavel Holders to hold formal plenary meetings of the Water Working Group in Muscat on April 11-12; the Regional Economic Development Working Group (REDWG) in Amman on May 8-11, the Refugee Working Group in Ottawa on May 16-18, and the Environment Working Group in Tunis on May 31 - June 1.
Steering Group ministers emphasized the importance of reaching an agreed comprehensive agenda for the Working Group on Arms Control and Regional Security. In this regard, they called on the parties in the region to intensify their efforts to reach this agreement and to resume their work, with the help of the co-sponsors, with the goal of getting formal ACRS activities underway within a few months. The co-sponsors will keep the members of the Steering Group regularly advised of progress on this matter.
Steering Group ministers agreed that it was appropriate at this time to explore ways that the Multilateral Track could better focus its activities and projects in areas of direct interest to the parties and whose effects would be felt by the people of the region, as they move towards comprehensive peace. They also noted the desirability of examining the economic implications of peace and the support which may be required from the international community. While proceeding with agreed upon activities, ministers agreed to examine additional ways to structure multilateral meetings and programs more efficiently and effectively. In this regard, Steering Group ministers asked the co-sponsors and the Gavel Holders to conduct consultations with regional parties and other relevant parties on this matter, in preparation for the upcoming meetings of the working groups.
In this regard, the Steering Group Ministers asked senior officials of the Steering group, under the guidance of the co-sponsors, to discuss specific ideas to increase the effectiveness of and possible new directions for the multilateral and to report those recommendations at the next Steering Group meeting.
Steering Group ministers welcomed the offer of the EU to prepare, with the two co-sponsors, and host the next Multilateral Steering Group meeting in July 2000.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel <http://www.mfa.gov.il>
President William J. Clinton
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat
Between July 11 and 24, under the auspices of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat met at Camp David in an effort to reach an agreement on permanent status. While they were not able to bridge the gaps and reach an agreement, their negotiations were unprecedented in both scope and detail. Building on the progress achieved at Camp David, the two leaders agreed on the following principles to guide their negotiations:
1) The two sides agreed that the aim of their negotiations is to put an end to decades of conflict and achieve a just and lasting peace.
2) The two sides commit themselves to continue their efforts to conclude an agreement on all permanent status issues as soon as possible.
3) Both sides agree that negotiations based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 are the only way to achieve such an agreement and they undertake to create an environment for negotiations free from pressure, intimidation and threats of violence.
4) The two sides understand the importance of avoiding unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of negotiations and that their differences will be resolved only by good faith negotiations.
5) Both sides agree that the United States remains a vital partner in the search for peace and will continue to consult closely with President Clinton and Secretary Albright in the period ahead.
Source: Department of State of the United States <http://www.state.gov>
We went to Camp David carrying our well-known positions, positions that were adopted by several of our legislative bodies. The positions we adopted are, in our point of view, the minimum that we can accept. They are positions that are based on United Nations resolutions 242, 338 and 194. They are based on agreements signed between the Israelis and us, they are based on Israeli documents concerning the 1948 nakba (catastrophe) and the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, and they are based on UN Security Council resolutions dealing with Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.
We stressed to the Americans that, for a summit at such a level to succeed, it must be prepared for and prepared for well. We cautioned that, because of the lack of preparation, the prospect of its failure is high. The Americans agreed that a summit at this level needed preparation, and they agreed with us that time must be given for preparations. We agreed with Secretary Albright that we should have two weeks to prepare. We were later surprised by a telephone call from President Clinton inviting us to a summit that was to be held within a week.
We were faced with two choices, to go knowing very well that the summit would fail and that the Americans might blame us for its failure, or to refuse to attend and be accused of sabotaging the peace process. So we took the first choice.
We went to Camp David not to say NO to the Americans and the world Zionists. We went to say YES to a lasting and just peace, to say YES to international legitimacy, and when we failed to achieve that, we said NO. Again, we did not go to Camp David to not reach an agreement or to reject points for the sake of rejection so that it would be said that we stood strong. We went to reach an agreement; we dealt with every issue with a strong desire to reach an agreement that would end this conflict that has lasted the entire century.
To assist us in this effort we brought to Camp David eight young, bright legal advisors and map experts, who, on request, were ready to present documentation and advice that they had prepared for such occasions. We feel very proud of these fine energetic lawyers, in whom we have great trust and who we are very happy to have on our side.
Through the Americans the Israelis presented their vision of Jerusalem. They envisioned a Jerusalem where some villages around the city would come under Palestinian sovereignty. Neighbourhoods outside the walled Old City would remain under Israeli sovereignty, with the Palestinians having some type of self-rule. The quarters inside the Old City would be divided. The Jewish and Armenian Quarters would be sliced away from the Muslim and Christian Quarters and would be ruled under a special system. In their attempt to sell this to the Palestinians, they threw in sovereign headquarters for the Palestinian President inside the Old City.
Israel refused to accept moral and legal responsibility for the plight of the refugees. Israel only showed willingness to allow several hundreds to return every year on humanitarian causes. As for compensation, Israel said that any fund to be established would also compensate Jews who left Arab countries.
On borders, Israel demanded control over the Palestinian borders with Jordan and Egypt. Israel also asked to control 15-20 percent of the Jordan River and a sector of the Jordan Valley. Israel also wanted to annex 10.5 percent of the West Bank to absorb the settlements. But all West Bank settlements do not sit on more than 1.8 percent.
Israel stated it needed between three and five army bases for monitoring and intervention purposes. Israel also demanded that the air space be completely under its control. It asked for a presence at all international entry points to monitor persons, products and weapons. As for the state of Palestine, it demanded that it must be a demilitarized state.
If we were to summarize the positions of both sides, the Palestinians and Israel, it would be as follows:
The Israelis want control over a part of the Jordan Valley for a maximum 12-year period. That would keep the current military bases and settlements there untouched. The Israelis asked for six bases in the West Bank and three military monitoring areas. Israel demanded to have a presence at the international crossings to monitor those entering and leaving the area. Israel also demanded the entire air space and electromagnetic space be under its control. The Palestinians said they would accept an international force or a multinational force on the borders. What we won't accept is an Israeli presence, in any form, on Palestinian territory.
Israel wants to carve out 15-20 percent of the Jordan River and Dead Sea border and to annex 10.5 percent of West Bank land. The Palestinians rejected any carving of borders. Light border amendments and an exchange of lands equal in quantity and quality that does not exceed 2 percent is acceptable.
The Israelis agree to contribute to the establishment of an international fund for the compensation of Palestinian refugees. However, Israel wants the fund to compensate Jews who came to the country from Arab states. Israel agrees to the return of hundreds of refugees under a family reunification plan or as humanitarian cases. The Palestinians want Israel to take moral and legal responsibility for the refugee crisis. UN resolution 194 must be accepted so that all refuges are guaranteed the right of return, and by return we mean to Israel. Refugees who choose to return and those who do not must be compensated. The Absentee Treasurer created in Israel in 1949 to administer refugee money is responsible for the compensation. Host countries should also be compensated. An international fund could be established, but that fund would be responsible only for part of the compensation. We refuse to mix the issue of Palestinian refugees with Jewish immigrants.
Jerusalem, occupied in 1967, is the city within the walls that includes Al-Haram al-Sharif, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Muslim, Christian and Armenian Quarters. It is also the city outside the walls, with neighbourhoods like Sheikh Jarrah, Musrara, Damascus Gate, Saleh Eldin Street, and others.
The Israeli position divides Jerusalem into several sections and gives each section a different legal status.
1-The walled city:
Al-Haram al-Sharif: Israel is to have sovereignty and the Palestinians will be given guardianship The Muslim, Christian and Armenian Quarters are to remain under Israeli sovereignty. There will be a Palestinian presidential complex inside the Muslim Quarter, which will be given sovereign power.
2- Outside the walled city: sovereignty is to remain with Israel with the municipal functions of these neighbourhoods to be carried out by the municipality of Abu Dis. With the exception of two villages, villages surrounding Jerusalem, most of which are in area B, will come under Palestinian sovereignty. Israel will have a road that runs through the villages linking them to areas under their sovereignty. The Palestinians will only have one road linking them to the Haram.
The Palestinian position:
All of East Jerusalem should be returned to Palestinian sovereignty. The Jewish Quarter and Western Wall should be placed under Israeli authority, not Israeli sovereignty. It should be an open city with cooperation on municipal services.
That is our summary of the results of the Camp David negotiations. But the Israelis had a different understanding, which was revealed in subsequent local meetings. Israel wants 10.5 percent of the West Bank and rejects the idea of a land exchange. Israel wants five monitoring posts, with three roads leading to them. Three Israeli-administered early warning systems with a Palestinian liaison officer present at the stations. Israeli control over 8 percent of the Jordan Valley for a 12-15 year period. No right of return to Israel. Israel may accept the return of 10,000 Palestinians over a 15-year period under a family reunification plan. Air space to come under Palestinian sovereignty, but to be controlled by Israel through guiding systems. An end to the conflict. A demilitarized Palestinian state. Jerusalem. The same position as at Camp David.
That is the Israeli position as told to us 10 days ago. It shows that there are fundamental differences in the positions and that the gaps between the two sides remain very wide.
A declaration of an independent state is a right our people can execute at any time. In 1988, when we declared our state in exile, more than 100 countries recognized that declaration. But recognition of a state on the ground is different that that of a state in exile. And though many nations have said they are in favour of an independent state, many have hinted of the necessity to declare once prepared on the ground and or after an agreement between the sides is reached. And so we must now stop and think.
Committing to a date has its positive side. It shows that dates and promises are respected and kept, but such a commitment must be based on good preparation, not emotional reactions.
We need to carefully study the Israeli response to the declaration. If Israel responds negatively, we will need to study what measures it will take and how will we respond to them.
Source: PLO Negotiations Affairs Department <http://www.nad-plo.org >
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 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.
Source: United States Embassy to Israel <http://israel.usembassy.gov>
To this end, over a period of 10 days, I had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Barak in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and with Chairman Arafat in Gaza. During this period, I also attended the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, jointly chaired by President Mubarak and President Clinton. In addition, I paid a visit to Lebanon to discuss regional issues and the capture of three Israeli soldiers from the Shaba area of the occupied Golan.
Throughout my visit, the situation on the ground in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza was extremely tense. While I was in the region, more than 50 Palestinians were killed, and two Israeli reservists were lynched in Ramallah. Feelings on both sides were at a fever pitch and there was a real danger of the situation spiralling out of control. I found each side deeply mistrustful of the other’s true intentions. Both were talking, privately as well as publicly, the language of war.
This is the backdrop against which my peace efforts were set. The situation had, in my view, reached the brink of the abyss. My primary objective was therefore to get the two leaders to address public appeals to their respective populations for calm, and to ask them to indicate some specific measures that they were prepared to take in order to de-escalate the tension. To this end, I was in frequent telephone contact with international leaders such as President Clinton, President Mubarak, President Chirac, Prime Minister Amato of Italy and the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Norway and Germany. While in the region, I also met with the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom and the European Union representative, Mr. Javier Solana, as well as the Foreign Minister of Norway.
Unfortunately, it became apparent that the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground, and the consequent hardening of public opinion on both sides, had made it impossible for the two leaders to make statements that could be interpreted as conciliatory. In close consultation with President Clinton and President Mubarak, I devoted all my energies to persuading Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat to attend the summit that was to be held at Sharm el-Sheikh. This involved further intensive shuttling between the two sides.
Neither leader was enthusiastic, and Chairman Arafat in particular expressed reluctance to go to Sharm el-Sheikh at a time when, in his words, his people were under military occupation, economic siege and repeated missile and artillery attacks. I was accordingly glad when, on the morning of 14 October, just as I was preparing to leave for Egypt, Chairman Arafat informed me on the telephone that he was accepting my appeal for him to attend the summit. During the 48 hours in Sharm el-Sheikh prior to the opening of the summit, I met the President and the Foreign Minister of Egypt and I had many telephone conversations, including with the Presidents of the United States, France, and Tunisia, the Kings of Jordan and Morocco and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. I also spoke to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, so that he could pass on a message to the head of State, as well as with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.
The summit itself was in keeping with the atmosphere and events leading up to it. That is to say, it was clear that there was a lack of confidence between the two sides. Emotions were running high, and at times the proceedings became turbulent — especially in negotiating sessions at the Foreign Minister level. In procedural terms, the formal talks were focused largely on the agenda. But it was clear to all that this was a negotiation about substance. What in specific terms was to come out of the summit? Would it be possible to break the cycle of violence and return to the negotiating table? To put the issue in the starkest terms, would it be peace or war?
The Sharm el-Sheikh summit unfolded at two distinct levels. My senior advisers took part in the negotiating sessions of Foreign Ministers. Meanwhile, apart from the plenary sessions to open and close the summit, heads of delegation met on the margins, in intensive bilaterals. I myself took part in a series of meetings with the co-Chairmen, Presidents Mubarak and Clinton, and their respective foreign policy teams, and Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, as well as with other leaders of the two parties. I also met with His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan and Mr. Javier Solana of the European Union.
My aim throughout was to support the efforts of the co-Chairmen to promote an outcome of the summit that met the minimum needs of the two sides, in terms of an end to violence and restoration of the status quo ante, a renewed effort to revive the peace process and the establishment of a mechanism to inquire into the tragic events.
At times, the gap between them seemed unbridgeably wide. But throughout, I believed that nevertheless there would be an agreement. For in the end, peace remains the only strategic option for Israel and Palestinians. The difficult questions are, how long will the journey take, and how hard will the road to peace be?
Here I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the extraordinary efforts of President Clinton. He stepped off an overnight flight and straight into action. Over the next 28 hours, the President worked continuously with the parties, late into the night and early morning. It is very largely due to his own personal efforts that President Clinton was able to announce on 17 October, at the end of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, that Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat had agreed on three basic objectives and steps to realize them.
What was agreed at Sharm el-Sheikh can be summarized as follows. First, both sides 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 a recurrence of recent events. It was agreed that, to accomplish this, both sides would 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 of and reopening the Gaza airport. The United States undertook to facilitate security cooperation between the parties.
Secondly, it was agreed that the United States would develop with the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the United Nations Secretary-General, a committee to undertake fact-finding on the events of the past several weeks and to seek ways to prevent their recurrence. The committee’s report will be shared by the United States President with the Secretary-General and the parties prior to publication. A final report will be submitted under the auspices of the United States President for publication.
Thirdly, it was agreed that, 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 Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and subsequent understandings. President Clinton announced that, towards this end, the leaders had agreed that the United States would consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward.
In my view, the agreements reached in Sharm el-Sheikh are a vital first step back from the brink and towards a resumption of the peace process. It is essential that they should be faithfully implemented in their entirety by both sides. They may contain elements to which one side attaches more importance than does the other. But both parties need to demonstrate good faith — above all by their actions. It is not going to be easy. Mutual mistrust is deep. There are wounds in the families and communities concerned that may take a generation to heal. But we must move forward, painful though it is, so that the children and youth of today — angry and frustrated as they are — can have a better world to live in.
One of the lessons of the past few days is that there can be no lasting security without lasting peace. That is why we need to look beyond the violence and bitterness, the pain and the hurt, to a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in a just and lasting peace.
This leads me, if I may, to end by addressing a few words to the wider international community, and to you, the Ambassadors of the Member States. It is only natural that the events of the past few weeks should arouse strong feelings. I myself have strong feelings about those events. I believe deeply that every life lost is a human tragedy, and that all human life is of equal value. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities on both sides that have endured such pain and suffering. I want to see the violence ended and the peace process back on track. That is why I went to the region at such short notice and with such uncertain prospects of success.
But I also believe that the General Assembly can make a real difference. We are not yet certain whether or not normalcy will be restored. We can only wait and hope. The next few days are vital. Meanwhile, we should remember that, as I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, words can inflame or soothe, and everyone needs a restoration of calm and quiet so as to create the best possible atmosphere for a resumption of peace talks.
Source: United Nations <http://www.un.org>
Source: United States Embassy to Israel <http://israel.usembassy.gov>
The Israeli and Palestinian delegations conducted during the last six days serious, deep and practical talks with the aim of reaching a permanent and stable agreement between the two parties.
The Taba talks were unprecedented in their positive atmosphere and expression of mutual willingness to meet the national, security and existential needs of each side.
Given the circumstances and time constraints, it proved impossible to reach understandings on all issues, despite the substantial progress that was achieved in each of the issues discussed.
The sides declare that they have never been closer to reaching an agreement and it is thus our shared belief that the remaining gaps could be bridged with the resumption of negotiations following the Israeli elections.
The two sides take upon themselves to return to normalcy and to establish [a] security situation on the ground through the observation of their mutual commitments in the spirit of the Sharm el-Sheikh memorandum.
The negotiation teams discussed four main themes: refugees, security, borders and Jerusalem, with a goal to reach a permanent agreement that will bring an end to the conflict between them and provide peace to both people.
The two sides took into account the ideas suggested by President Clinton together with their respective qualifications and reservations.
On all these issues there was substantial progress in the understanding of the other side's positions and in some of them the two sides grew closer.
As stated above, the political timetable prevented reaching an agreement on all the issues.
However, in light of the significant progress in narrowing the differences between the sides, the two sides are convinced that in a short period of time and given an intensive effort and the acknowledgment of the essential and urgent nature of reaching an agreement, it will be possible to bridge the differences remaining and attain a permanent settlement of peace between them.
In this respect, the two sides are confident that they can begin and move forward in this process at the earliest practical opportunity.
The Taba talks conclude an extensive phase in the Israeli-Palestinian permanent status negotiations with a sense of having succeeded in rebuilding trust between the sides and with the notion that they were never closer in reaching an agreement between them than today.
We leave Taba in a spirit of hope and mutual achievement, acknowledging that the foundations have been laid both in re-establishing mutual confidence and in having progressed in a substantive engagement on all core issues.
The two sides express their gratitude to President Hosni Mubarak for hosting and facilitating these talks.
They also express their thanks to the European Union for its role in supporting the talks.
Source: Department of State of the United States <www.state.gov>
This EU non-paper has been prepared by the EU Special Representative to the Middle East Process, Ambassador Moratinos, and his team after consultations with the Israeli and Palestinian sides, present at Taba in January 2001. Although the paper has no official status, it has been acknowledged by the parties as being a relatively fair description of the outcome of the negotiations on the permanent status issues at Taba. It draws attention to the extensive work which has been undertaken on all permanent status issues like territory, Jerusalem, refugees and security in order to find ways to come to joint positions. At the same time it shows that there are serious gaps and differences between the two sides, which will have to be overcome in future negotiations. From that point of view, the paper reveals the challenging task ahead in terms of policy determination and legal work, but it also shows that both sides have travelled a long way to accommodate the views of the other side and that solutions are possible.
The two sides agreed that, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 242, the June 4 1967 lines would be the basis for the borders between Israel and the state of Palestine.
1.1 West Bank
For the first time both sides presented their own maps of the West Bank. The maps served as a basis for the discussion on territory and settlements. The Israeli side presented two maps, and the Palestinian side engaged on this basis. The Palestinian side presented some illustrative maps detailing its understanding of Israeli interests in the West Bank.
The negotiations tackled the various aspects of territory, which could include some of the settlements and how the needs of each party could be accommodated. The Clinton parameters served as a loose basis for the discussion, but differences of interpretations regarding the scope and meaning of the parameters emerged. The Palestinian side stated that it had accepted the Clinton proposals but with reservations.
The Israeli side stated that the Clinton proposals provide for annexation of settlement blocs. The Palestinian side did not agree that the parameters included blocs, and did not accept proposals to annex blocs. The Palestinian side stated that blocs would cause significant harm to the Palestinian interests and rights, particularly to the Palestinians residing in areas Israel seeks to annex.
The Israeli side maintained that it is entitled to contiguity between and among their settlements. The Palestinian side stated that Palestinian needs take priority over settlements. The Israeli maps included plans for future development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinian side did not agree to the principle of allowing further development of settlements in the West Bank. Any growth must occur inside Israel.
The Palestinian side maintained that since Israel has needs in Palestinian territory, it is responsible for proposing the necessary border modifications. The Palestinian side reiterated that such proposals must not adversely affect the Palestinian needs and interests.
The Israeli side stated that it did not need to maintain settlements in the Jordan Valley for security purposes, and its proposed maps reflected this position.
The Israeli maps were principally based on a demographic concept of settlements blocs that would incorporate approximately 80 percent on the settlers. The Israeli side sketched a map presenting a 6 percent annexation, the outer limit of the Clinton proposal. The Palestinian illustrative map presented 3.1 percent in the context of a land swap.
Both sides accepted the principle of land swap but the proportionality of the swap remained under discussion. Both sides agreed that Israeli and Palestinian sovereign areas will have respective sovereign contiguity. The Israeli side wished to count "assets" such as Israelis "safe passage/corridor" proposal as being part of the land swap, even though the proposal would not give Palestine sovereignty over these "assets". The Israeli side adhered to a maximum 3 percent land swap as per Clinton proposal.
The Palestinian maps had a similar conceptual point of reference stressing the importance of non-annexation of any Palestinian villages and contiguity of the West Bank and Jerusalem. They were predicated on the principle of a land swap that would be equitable in size and value, in areas adjacent to the border with Palestine and in the same vicinity as the annexed by Israel. The Palestinian side further maintained that land not under Palestinian sovereignty such as the Israeli proposal regarding a "safe passage/corridor" as well as economic interests are not included in the calculation of the swap.
The Palestinian side maintained that the "No-Man's-Land" (Latrun area) is part of the West Bank. The Israelis did not agree.
The Israeli side requested an additional 2 percent of land under a lease arrangement, to which the Palestinians responded that the subject of lease can only be discussed after the establishment of a Palestinian state and the transfer of land to Palestinian sovereignty.
1.2 Gaza Strip
Neither side presented any maps of the Gaza Strip. In was implied that the Gaza Strip will be under total Palestinian sovereignty, but details have still to be worked out. All settlements will be evacuated. The Palestinian side claimed it could be arranged in 6 months, a timetable not agreed by the Israeli side.
1.3 Safe passage/corridor from Gaza to the West Bank
Both sides agreed that there is going to be a safe passage from the north of Gaza (Beit Hanun) to the Hebron district, and that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip must be territorially linked. The nature of the regime governing the territorial link and sovereignty over it was not agreed.
Both sides accepted in principle the Clinton suggestion of having a Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighbourhoods and an Israeli sovereignty over Jewish neighbourhoods. The Palestinian side affirmed that it was ready to discuss the Israeli request to have sovereignty over Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem that were constructed after 1967, but not Jebal Abu Ghneim and Ras al-Amud. The Palestinian side rejected Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the Jerusalem metropolitan area, namely of Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev.
The Palestinian side understood that Israel was ready to accept Palestinian sovereignty over the Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, including part of Jerusalem's Old City. The Israeli side understood that the Palestinians were ready to accept Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and part of the Armenian Quarter.
The Palestinian side understood that the Israeli side accepted to discuss Palestinian property claims in West Jerusalem.
2.2 Open City
Both sides favoured the idea of an open city. The Israeli side suggested the establishment of an open city whose geographical scope encompasses the Old City of Jerusalem plus an area defined as the Holy Basin or Historical Basin.
The Palestinian side was in favour of an open city provided that continuity and contiguity were preserved. The Palestinians rejected the Israeli proposal regarding the geographic scope of an open city and asserted that the open city is only acceptable if its geographical scope encompasses the full municipal borders of both East and West Jerusalem.
The Israeli side raised the idea of establishing a mechanism of daily coordination, and different models were suggested for municipal coordination and cooperation (dealing with infrastructure, roads, electricity, sewage, waste removal, etc). Such arrangements could be formulated in a future detailed agreement. It proposed a "soft border regime" within Jerusalem between Al-Quds and Yerushalaim that affords them "soft border" privileges. Furthermore the Israeli side proposed a number of special arrangements for Palestinian and Israeli residents of the open city to guarantee that the open city arrangement neither adversely affects their daily lives nor compromises each party’s sovereignty over its section of the open city.
2.3 Capital for two states
The Israeli side accepted that the City of Jerusalem would be the capital of the two states: Yerushalaim, capital of Israel, and Al-Quds, capital of the state of Palestine. The Palestinian side expressed its only concern, namely that East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine.
2.4 Holy/Historical Basin and the Old City
There was an attempt to develop an alternative concept that would relate to the Old City and its surroundings, and the Israeli side put forward several alternative models for discussion; for example, setting up a mechanism for close coordination and cooperation in the Old City. The idea of a special police force regime was discussed but not agreed upon.
The Israeli side expressed its interest and raised its concern regarding the area conceptualized as the Holy Basin (which includes the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives, the City of David and Kivron Valley). The Palestinian side confirmed that it was willing to take into account Israeli interests and concerns provided that these places remain under Palestinian sovereignty. Another option for the Holy Basin, suggested informally by the Israeli side, was to create a special regime or to suggest some form of internationalization for the entire area or a joint regime with special cooperation and coordination. The Palestinian side did not agree to pursue any of these ideas, although the discussion could continue.
2.5 Holy Sites: Western Wall and the Wailing Wall
Both parties have accepted the principle of respective control over each side's respective holy sites (religious control and management). According to this principle, Israel's sovereignty over the Western Wall would be recognized although there remained a dispute regarding the delineation of the area covered by the Western Wall and especially the link to what is referred to in Clinton's ideas as the space sacred to Judaism of which it is part.
The Palestinian side acknowledged that Israel has requested to establish an affiliation to the holy parts of the Western Wall, but maintained that the question of the Wailing Wall and/or Western Wall has not been resolved. It maintained the importance of distinguishing between the Western Wall and the Wailing Wall segment thereof, recognized in the Islamic faith as the Buraq Wall.
2.6 Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount
Both sides agreed that the question of Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount has not been resolved. However, both sides were close to accepting Clinton's ideas regarding Palestinian sovereignty over Haram al-Sharif notwithstanding Palestinian and Israeli reservations.
Both sides noted progress on practical arrangements regarding evacuations, building and public order in the area of the compound. An informal suggestion was raised that for an agreed period such as three years, Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount would be under international sovereignty of the P5 plus Morocco (or other Islamic presence), whereby the Palestinians would be the "Guardian/Custodians" during this period. At the end of this period, either the parties would agree on a new solution or agree to extend the existing arrangement. In the absence of an agreement, the parties would return to implement the Clinton formulation. Neither party accepted or rejected the suggestion.
Non-papers were exchanged, which were regarded as a good basis for the talks. Both sides stated that the issue of the Palestinian refugees is central to Israeli-Palestinian relations and that a comprehensive and just solution is essential to creating a lasting and morally scrupulous peace. Both sides agreed to adopt the principles and references which could facilitate the adoption of an agreement.
Both sides suggested, as a basis, that the parties should agree that a just settlement of the refugee problem in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 242 must lead to the implementation of UN General Assembly resolution 194.
The Israeli side put forward a suggested joint narrative for the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian side discussed the proposed narrative and there was much progress, although no agreement was reached in an attempt to develop an historical narrative in the general text.
3.2 Return, repatriation and relocation and rehabilitation
Both sides engaged in a discussion of the practicalities of resolving the refugee issue. The Palestinian side reiterated that the Palestinian refugees should have the right of return to their homes in accordance with the interpretation of UNGAR 194. The Israeli side expressed its understanding that the wish to return, as per the wording of UNGAR 194, shall be implemented within the framework of one of the following programs:
A. Return and repatriation
1. To Israel
2. To Israel, swapped territory
3. To the Palestine state
B. Rehabilitation and relocation
1. Rehabilitation in the host country.
2. Relocation to a third country.
Preference in all these programs shall be accorded to the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon. The Palestinian side stressed that the above shall be subject to the individual free choice of the refugees, and shall not prejudice their right to their homes in accordance with its interpretation of UNGAR 194.
The Israeli side, informally, suggested a three-track 15-year absorption program, which was discussed but not agreed upon. The first track referred to the absorption to Israel. No numbers were agreed upon, but with a non-paper referring to 25,000 in the first three years of this program (40,000 in the first five years of this program did not appear in the non-paper but was raised verbally). The second track referred to the absorption of Palestinian refugees into the Israeli territory, which shall be transferred to Palestinian sovereignty, and the third track referred to the absorption of refugees in the context of family reunification scheme.
The Palestinian side did not present a number, but stated that the negotiations could not start without an Israeli opening position. It maintained that Israel's acceptance of the return of refugees should not prejudice existing programs within Israel such as family reunification.
Both sides agreed to the establishment of an International Commission and an International Fund as a mechanism for dealing with compensation in all its aspects. Both sides agreed that "small-sum" compensation shall be paid to the refugees in the "fast-track" procedure, claims of compensation for property losses below certain amount shall be subject to "fast-track" procedures.
There was also progress on Israeli compensation for material losses, land and assets expropriated, including agreement on a payment from an Israeli lump sum or proper amount to be agreed upon that would feed into the International Fund. According to the Israeli side the calculation of this payment would be based on a macro-economic survey to evaluate the assets in order to reach a fair value. The Palestinian side, however, said that this sum would be calculated on the records of the UNCCP, the Custodian for Absentee Property and other relevant data with a multiplier to reach a fair value.
Both sides agreed that UNRWA should be phased out in accordance with an agreed timetable of five years, as a targeted period. The Palestinian side added a possible adjustment of that period to make sure that this will be subject to the implementation of the other aspects of the agreement dealing with refugees, and with termination of Palestinian refugee status in the various locations.
3.5 Former Jewish refugees
The Israeli side requested that the issue of compensation to former Jewish refugees from Arab countries be recognized, while accepting that it was not a Palestinian responsibility or a bilateral issue. The Palestinian side maintained that this is not a subject for a bilateral Palestinian-Israeli agreement.
The Palestinian side raised the issue of restitution of refugee property. The Israeli side rejected this.
3.7 End of claims
The issue of the end of claims was discussed, and it was suggested that the implementation of the agreement shall constitute a complete and final implementation of UNGAR 194 and therefore end all claims.
4.1 Early warning stations
The Israeli side requested to have three early warning stations on Palestinian territory. The Palestinian side was prepared to accept the continued operations of early warning stations but subject to certain conditions. The exact mechanism has therefore to be detailed in further negotiations.
4.2 Military capability of the state of Palestine
The Israeli side maintained that the state of Palestine would be non-militarized, as per the Clinton proposals. The Palestinian side was prepared to accept limitation on its acquisition of arms, and be defined as a state with limited arms. The two sides have not yet agreed on the scope of arms limitations, but have begun exploring different options. Both sides agree that this issue has not been concluded.
4.3 Air space control
The two sides recognized that the state of Palestine would have sovereignty over its airspace. The Israeli side agreed to accept and honour all of Palestine civil aviation rights according to international regulations, but sought a unified air control system under overriding Israel control. In addition, Israel requested access to Palestinian airspace for military operations and training.
The Palestinian side was interested in exploring models for broad cooperation and coordination in the civil aviation sphere, but unwilling to cede overriding control to Israel. As for Israeli military operations and training in Palestinian airspace, the Palestinian side rejected this request as being inconsistent with the neutrality of the state of Palestine, saying that it cannot grant Israel these privileges while denying them to its Arab neighbours.
4.4 Timetable for withdrawal from the West Bank and Jordan Valley
Based on the Clinton proposal, the Israeli side agreed to a withdrawal from the West Bank over a 36-month period with an additional 36 months for the Jordan Valley, in conjunction with an international force, maintaining that a distinction should be made between withdrawal in the Jordan Valley and elsewhere.
The Palestinian side rejected a 36-month withdrawal process from the West Bank, expressing concern that a lengthy process would exacerbate Palestinian-Israeli tensions. The Palestinian side proposed an 18-month withdrawal under the supervision of international forces. As to the Jordan Valley, the Palestinian side was prepared to consider the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces for an additional 10-month period. Although the Palestinian side was ready to consider the presence of international forces in the West Bank for a longer period, it refused to accept the ongoing presence of Israeli forces.
4.5 Emergency deployment (or emergency locations)
The Israeli side requested to maintain and operate five emergency locations on Palestinian territory (in the Jordan Valley), with the Palestinian response allowing for a maximum of two emergency locations conditional on a time limit for the dismantling. In addition, the Palestinian side considered that these two emergency locations should be run by an international presence and not by the Israelis. Informally, the Israeli side expressed willingness to explore ways that a multinational presence could provide a vehicle for addressing the parties' respective concerns.
The Palestinian side declined to agree to the deployment of Israeli armed forces on Palestinian territory during emergency situations, but was prepared to consider ways in which international forces might be used in that capacity, particularly within the context of regional security cooperation efforts.
4.6 Security cooperation and fighting terror
Both sides were prepared to commit themselves to promoting security cooperation and fighting terror.
4.7 Borders and international crossings
The Palestinian side was confident that Palestinian sovereignty over borders and international crossing points would be recognized in the agreement. The two sides had, however, not yet resolved this issue, including the question of monitoring and verification at Palestine's international borders (Israeli or international presence).
4.8 Electromagnetic sphere
The Israeli side recognized that the state of Palestine would have sovereignty over the electromagnetic sphere, and acknowledged that it would not seek to constrain Palestinian commercial use of the sphere, but sought control over it for security purposes.
The Palestinian side sought full sovereign rights over the electromagnetic sphere, but was prepared to accommodate reasonable Israeli needs within a cooperative framework in accordance with international rules and regulations.
Dispute over Ma'aleh Adumim
The importance of Israel's recognition of the June 4, 1967 border is that since 1967 (and even today), Israel's official position has been that UN Security Council resolution 242 mandates withdrawal from "territories" conquered in the Six Day War. The Arab position, in contrast, is that the resolution requires withdrawal from "the territories." Israel's official refusal to recognize the June 4, 1967 borders is currently an obstacle to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in his efforts to reach an agreement with the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala). There is no Palestinian confirmation of Peres' claim that the Palestinians have accepted the formulation that a final-status agreement will be based on resolution 242.
Israel agreed to recognize the June 4, 1967 border as the basis for the border between Israel and Palestine after the Palestinians agreed in principle to discuss territorial swaps in the West Bank, as proposed by Clinton, that would enable Israel to annex parts of the West Bank adjacent to the Green Line (but not parts of Gaza). The maps presented by the Palestinians at Taba gave Israel 3.1 percent of the West Bank. That is less than the lower limit proposed in the Clinton plan (under which the Palestinians would receive 94 to 96 percent of the West Bank). Israel demanded 6 percent - the upper boundary of the Clinton plan - plus an additional 2 percent in the context of a leasing agreement. The Palestinians also rejected Israel's demand that the "no man's land" around Latrun not be considered part of the West Bank.
According to the document, Israel gave up all the Jordan Valley settlements, focusing instead on its security interests in that area. The dispute centred around the large stretch of territory between Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev, which contains both a fairly large Palestinian population and East Jerusalem's most important land reserves. The Palestinians retracted their earlier readiness to include these two settlements in the settlement blocs to be annexed to Israel after realizing that Israel also insisted on annexing the large tract that joins them, which would mean that Palestinian citizens would suddenly find themselves in sovereign Israeli territory. Barak instructed his chief negotiator, Gilad Sher, to tell the Palestinians that the map presented by then foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, which reduced the area of the settlement bloc (including the Ma'aleh Adumim-Givat Ze'ev tract) to only 5 percent of the West Bank, had no validity.
Another dispute that remained unresolved stemmed from Israel's refusal to accept the Palestinian demand for a 1 :1 ratio between the area of the West Bank annexed to Israel and the parts of Israel that would be given to the Palestinians in exchange. Israel proposed a ratio of 1:2, in its favour. In addition, the Palestinians rejected Israel's proposal that the Halutza Dunes in the Negev, the area of the "safe passage" between the West Bank and Gaza, and the part of Ashdod Port that would be set aside for Palestinian use all be considered part of the land swap. They insisted that the land they received be contiguous with either the West Bank or Gaza, and that it not include any land that was merely set aside for their use, over which they would not have sovereignty. (Akiva Eldar)
How long is the Western Wall ?
The Clinton proposal paved the way for understandings in Jerusalem, but it also created the principal dispute between the two parties.
An agreement was reached that East Jerusalem, which would be called Al-Quds, would be the capital of Palestine. Understandings were also reached regarding a division of East Jerusalem's neighbourhoods such that Jewish neighbourhoods would remain under Israeli sovereignty (other than Har Homa, which the first Jewish families are just moving into now, and Ras al-Amud), while Arab neighbourhoods would be transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. In addition, it was agreed that parts of the Old City - the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter and part of the Armenian Quarter - would go to the Palestinians.
But the Clinton proposal did not help the parties to draw mutually accepted borders between the open city - to which both sides agreed - and the surrounding Palestinian areas, on one side, and Israeli areas, on the other. The open city is territory that citizens of both countries can enter without passing through any checkpoints. The Palestinians wanted it to encompass all of Jerusalem, while the Israelis wanted it limited to the old city only.
And the Clinton proposal complicated negotiations on the most sensitive issue: the Western Wall. Clinton had referred to "the holy parts" of the Wall, thereby creating an opening for the Palestinian claim that only the exposed part of the Wall (the Wailing Wall) is considered holy to the Jews, and therefore only this part should be left under Israeli sovereignty. Palestinians claimed the Western Wall tunnels were part of Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount).
Since the Taba talks ended, many meetings and seminars have taken place in an effort to close the gaps, attended by politicians and experts from both sides and from other countries as well.
Symbols of sovereignty
Israel insisted that it retain sovereignty over the "safe passage" between Gaza and the West Bank, with the Palestinians receiving only usage rights to the land. With respect to air space, however, Israel adopted a more generous approach to the sovereignty issue. Nevertheless, it demanded rights to the use of Palestinian air space, including for air force training exercises.
The document reveals that the Palestinians expressed a willingness to accept the principle of limitations on their armaments and even took Israel's security needs into account (they agreed to three early warning stations and two "emergency locations," compared to the five "emergency locations" Israel had sought in addition to the early warning stations).
But in all matters relating to the symbols of sovereignty, the Palestinians took a harder line. They therefore insisted that an international force man the "emergency locations," rather than an Israeli one. And the issue of control over Palestine's international border remained unresolved for the same reason: the question of who would man the border control posts.
Source: Ha’aretz <www.haaretz.com>
Palestinian Proposal on Palestinian Refugees,
January 22, 2001, Taba
ARTICLE XX: REFUGEES
1. The Parties recognize that a just resolution of the refugee problem is necessary for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.
2. Israel recognizes its moral and legal responsibility for the forced displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian civilian population during the 1948 war and for preventing the refugees from returning to their homes, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194.
3. Israel shall bear responsibility for resolving the refugee problem.
The Basis for a Settlement of the Refugee Problem
4. A just settlement of the refugee problem, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 242, must lead to the implementation of United Nations General Assembly resolution 194.
Right of Return
5. In accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III), all refugees who wish to return to their homes in Israel and live at peace with their neighbours have the right to do so. The right of every refugee to return shall be exercised in accordance with the modalities set out in the Agreement.
6. a. A Palestinian refugee is any Palestinian who was prevented from returning to his or her home after November 29, 1947.
b. Without limiting the generality of the term “refugee”, a “refugee” in this Agreement shall include a refugee's descendants and spouse.
c. Without limiting the generality of the term “refugee”, all registered persons with UNRWA shall be considered refugees in accordance with this Article.
7. A Repatriation Commission shall be established in order to guarantee and manage the implementation of the right to return in accordance with this Article.
8. The Commission, inter alia, shall:
b. Determine priorities for certain categories of refugees and certain areas;
c. Determine procedures for repatriation;
d. Process applications;
e. Repatriate the refugees;
f. Provide assistance to returning refugees;
g. Ensure the protection of returning refugees.
10. The Parties should implement the decisions of the Commission and should take appropriate actions to facilitate the execution of the Commission's decisions.
11. The Commission shall define its structure and work procedures.
12. The Commission shall have its headquarters in ___ and may have offices at other locations, as it deems appropriate.
13. The Commission shall establish a mechanism for resolution of disputes arising from the interpretation, application or performance of this Article.
14. Refugees shall have the right to appeal decisions rendered by the Commission pursuant to this Article. The Commission shall establish a mechanism for appeals.
Modalities of Return
15. All refugees who currently reside in Lebanon and choose to exercise the right of return in accordance with this Article shall be enabled to return to Israel within two years of the signing of this Agreement.
16. Without prejudice to the right of every refugee to return to Israel, and in addition to refugees returning pursuant to paragraph 15 above, a minimum of XX refugees will be allowed to return to Israel annually.
17. The refugees who wish to return should declare their intention to the Commission, in accordance with procedures to be set out by the Commission, within 5 years of the date the Commission starts receiving these declarations. The exercise of the right of return subsequent to such declaration shall not be limited in time.
18. The Commission shall determine, according to transparent criteria, who will be allowed to return in any given year, in accordance with paragraph 16 of this Article.
19. Repatriation should be based on an individual voluntary decision, and should be carried out in a way that maintains the family unit.
20. The refugees should be provided with information necessary for them to make an informed decision with regard to all aspects of repatriation.
21. The refugees should not be compelled to remain in or move to situations of danger or insecurity, or to areas lacking in the basic infrastructure necessary to resume a normal life.
22. The refugees shall be permitted to return in safety, without risk of harassment, intimidation, persecution, or discrimination, particularly on account of their national origin, religious belief, or political opinion.
23. The Parties shall make such modifications to their internal laws as are necessary to facilitate the implementation of the right of return.
24. The Parties shall call upon states that currently host refugees to facilitate the early return of refugees in a manner consistent with human rights and international law.
Legal Status of Returning Refugees
25. Returning refugees should enjoy full civil and social rights and should be protected against discrimination, particularly in employment, education and the right to own property.
26. The returning refugees shall assume Israeli citizenship. This shall end his or her status as a refugee.
Restitution of Refugees' Real Property
27. Real property owned by a returning refugee at the time of his or her displacement shall be restored to the refugee or his or her lawful successors.
28. In cases where, according to criteria determined by the Repatriation Commission, it is impossible, impracticable or inequitable to restore the property to its refugee owner, the refugee shall be restituted in-kind with property within Israel, equal in size and/or value to the land and other property lost.
29. UNRWA should be maintained until this Article is fully implemented and UNRWA services are no longer needed. The scope of UNRWA services should change appropriately as the implementation of this Article proceeds.
30. The State of Israel shall compensate refugees for the property from which they were deprived as a result of their displacement, including, but not limited to, destroyed property and property placed under the custodianship of the “Custodian for Absentees' Property”. Compensation should cover loss of property and loss of use and profit from the date of dispossession to the current day expressed in today's value.
31. The State of Israel shall also compensate refugees for suffering and losses incurred as a result of the refugee' s physical displacement.
32. Refugees shall, as the case may be, receive repatriation assistance, in order to help them resettle in their places of origin, or rehabilitation assistance, in order to be rehabilitated in the place of their future residence. Funds for Repatriation Assistance and Rehabilitation Assistance should come from the International Fund described below.
33. The rights of return and compensation are independent and cumulative. A refugee's exercise of his or her right of return to Israel shall not prejudice his or her right to receive compensation pursuant to paragraph 30, nor shall a refugee' s receipt of compensation prejudice his or her right of return in accordance with this Article.
34. Unless property is collectively owned, material (and non-material) compensation should be awarded on an individual basis.
35. Pursuant to its responsibility for providing compensation to the refugees, set forth in Article 30, Israel shall provide the funds needed for such compensation. These funds should be transferred to the International Fund described below and disbursed by the Fund and the Compensation Commission in accordance with this Article.
36. In particular, and without limiting in any way Israel's responsibility in accordance with paragraph 35 above, resources available to the “Custodian for Absentees' Property” should be used to compensate the refugees for losses emanating from the dissipation of assets put under its trust. Furthermore, all the records of the “Custodian for Absentees' Property” pertaining to refugees' property shall be transferred to the Compensation Commission.
37. Additional funds from the International Fund referenced below may be used to supplement Israeli funds for compensation purposes.
Compensation for Communal Property
38. The State of Israel shall pay compensation to the state of Palestine for the Palestinian communal property existing within the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel.
39. The communal property referenced in paragraph 36 of this Article shall include real property as well as financial and other movable property.
40. Claims for compensation under paragraph 36 should be administrated and adjudicated by the Compensation Commission.
Compensation for Host Countries
41. The refugee host countries (i.e., Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority) shall receive compensation for the significant costs they bore in hosting the refugees.
42. A Compensation Commission shall be established to evaluate the Palestinian material and non-material losses, to administer the implementation of the provisions of this Article on compensation, and to administer and adjudicate claims of real property by refugees made pursuant to paragraphs 27 and 28.
43. The Commission shall set out the modalities and procedures for submission and adjudication of claims for compensation, and disbursement of payments.
44. The Commission shall be composed of representatives from the Parties, the United States, the EU, the United Nations, the World Bank and donor countries.
45. The Commission shall accept the records of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, as well as the records of the "Custodian for Absentees’ Property", made available to the Commission pursuant to paragraph 36 above, as prima facie evidence of the losses of the refugees. The Commission may also use UNRWA records and any other relevant records.
46. The Commission shall send a specialized technical team to evaluate the current value of the property for which compensation is due.
47. The parties should implement the decisions of the Commission and should take appropriate actions to facilitate the execution of the Commission's decisions. In addition, the state of Israel shall pass, within six months of the date of this Agreement, internal legislation that guarantees access by the individual compensation claimants or their authorized representative to the relevant Israeli state archives in order to facilitate the development of theirs claims.
48. The Commission shall have its headquarters in ___ and may have offices at other locations, as it deems appropriate.
49. The Commission shall establish a mechanism for the resolution of disputes arising from the interpretation, application or performance of this Article.
50. Refugees shall have the right to appeal decisions rendered by the Commission pursuant to the Agreement. The Commission shall establish a mechanism for appeals.
51. An International Fund shall be established to support and finance the implementation of the provisions of this Agreement related to the resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue.
52. The Fund shall have a Steering Committee responsible for setting priorities and policies for the use of international assistance consistent with the provisions of this Agreement on refugees.
53. The Steering Committee shall be composed of Palestine, the United States, the World Bank, the EU, donor countries, ____. The Steering Committee will be supplemented by the participation of affected or interested regional parties, as might be necessary. The Steering Committee will be responsible for mobilizing, coordinating and managing international financial and other assistance provided to enable implementation of the various aspects and dimensions of this Agreement related to refugees.
54. The World Bank and the United Nations shall be the Joint Secretariat for the Fund. The Secretariat shall be based at the World Bank.
55. The Steering Committee shall ask the World Bank to establish multilateral funding instruments to ensure that each aspect of this Agreement on refugees requiring financial assistance has corresponding instruments available to donors wishing to make use of multilateral mechanisms.
56. The World Bank shall have overall responsibility for ensuring that these funds are managed according to international standards of accounting and transparency. The Secretariat shall be responsible for monitoring the overall level of donor contributions and disbursements (both via multilateral and bilateral channels) to support the implementation of the refugee agreement.
57. Assistance from the Fund shall include, inter alia, support for return, compensation, repatriation assistance, rehabilitation assistance, transitional costs and related socio-economic assistance. Assistance for compensation shall be disbursed through the Compensation Commission.
58. Recipients of funds channelled through the Fund shall include, inter alia, refugees, relevant Palestinian Ministries and public bodies, host Government Ministries and public bodies, and international public or private bodies selected to implement project assistance or provide technical or transitional support.
59. The Parties should make appropriate modifications to their internal laws to facilitate the execution of this Article.
End of Claims
60. The full implementation of this Article shall constitute a complete resolution of the refugee problem and shall end all claims emanating from that problem.
61. The right of each refugee, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194, shall not be prejudiced until the refugee has exercised his right of return and received compensation under this Article or until the refugee has, based on his voluntary choice, received compensation and settled somewhere else.
“Non-Paper - Draft 2,” January 23, 2001, Taba
The significance of resolving the refugee problem
1. The issue of the Palestinian refugees is central to Israeli-Palestinian relations. Its comprehensive and just resolution is essential to creating a lasting and morally scrupulous peace.
2. The State of Israel solemnly expresses its sorrow for the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees, their suffering and losses, and will be an active partner in ending this terrible chapter that was opened 53 years ago, contributing its part to the attainment of a comprehensive and fair solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
3. For all those parties directly or indirectly responsible for the creation of the status of Palestinian refugeeism, as well as those for whom a just and stable peace in the region is an imperative, it is incumbent to take upon themselves responsibility to assist in resolving the Palestinian refugee problem of 1948.
4. Despite accepting the UNGAR 181 of November 1947, the emergent State of Israel became embroiled in the war and bloodshed of 1948-49, which led to victimization and suffering on both sides, including the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian civilian population who became refugees. These refugees have spent decades without dignity, citizenship and property ever since.
5. Consequently, the solution to the refugee issue must address the needs and aspirations of the refugees, while accounting for the realities since the 1948-49 war. Thus, the wish to return shall be implemented in a manner consistent with the existence of the State of Israel as the homeland for Jewish people, and the establishment of the State of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people.
6. A just settlement of the refugee problem in accordance with UNSCR 242 must lead to the implementation of UNGAR 194 (Palestinian position).
7. Since 1948, the Palestinian yearning has been enshrined in the twin principles of the "right of return" and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State deriving its basis from international law. The realization of the aspirations of the Palestinian people, as recognized in this agreement, includes the exercise of their right to self-determination and a comprehensive and just solution for the Palestinian refugees, based on UNGAR 194, providing for their return and guaranteeing the future welfare and well-being of the refugees, thereby addressing the refugee problem in all its aspects.
8. Regarding return, repatriation and relocation, each refugee may apply to one of the following programs, thus fulfilling the relevant clause of UNGAR 194:
b. To Israeli-swapped territory. For this purpose, the infrastructure shall be prepared for the absorption of refugees in the sovereign areas of the State of Israel that shall be turned over to Palestinian sovereignty in the context of an overall development program.
c. To the State of Palestine: the Palestinian refugees may exercise their return in an unrestricted manner to the State of Palestine, as the homeland of the Palestinian people, in accordance with its sovereign laws and legislation.
d. Rehabilitation within existing Host Countries. Where this option is exercised, the rehabilitation shall be immediate and extensive.
e. Relocation to third countries: voluntary relocation to third countries expressing the willingness and capacity to absorb Palestinian refugees.
9. See Article 6 of Palestinian paper as a Palestinian position.
Compensation and Rehabilitation
10. Each refugee may apply for compensation programs and rehabilitation assistance, as shall be detailed in Articles XX. For this purpose, an International Commission and an International Fund shall be established (Articles XX below) that shall have full and exclusive responsibility for the implementation of the resolution of the refugee problem in all its aspects, including the gathering and verification of claims, and allocation and disbursement of resources, to be conducted in accordance with the following principles:
b. Programs of a compensatory nature shall be devised on both per capita- and claims-based criteria, the former being of a fast-track nature (as detailed in Article XX below), and shall be managed according to a definitive and complete register of property claims to be compiled by an appropriate arm of the International Commission and Fund.
c. The Rehabilitation Assistance and Compensation Programs shall form an integral part of efforts to promote economic development and social regeneration of both the individuals concerned and the communities and societies in which they live or resettle, thus incorporating options or baskets of assistance (to be detailed).
d. Compensation for host countries will be in accordance with Article XX below.
e. The international community and the State of Israel shall be the principal contributors to the International Fund up to an agreed ceiling respectively. Israeli fixed assets that will remain in the State of Palestine following the Israeli withdrawal will be transferred to become assets of the International Fund in lieu of an amount of $XX, constituting an integral part of the overall lump-sum of $XX.
11. The refugees’ host countries shall receive compensation for the significant costs they bore in hosting the refugees. Future rehabilitation costs and investments shall be addressed according to the details of this agreement, via bilateral arrangements between the host countries and the International Commission.
12. The International Commission shall consist of the Palestinian State, host countries, Israel and members of the international community, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union and the G8, as well as other relevant international institutions. The International Commission shall have full and exclusive responsibility for implementing the resolution of the refugee issue in all its aspects. The mandate, structure and mode of operation of the International Commission shall be detailed in this agreement.
13. The phased termination of UNRWA shall be in accordance with a timetable to be agreed upon between the parties, and shall not exceed five years. The scope of UNRWA services should change appropriately as the implementation of this agreement proceeds (whereby the first phase shall include the transfer of the service and administrative functions of UNRWA to host governments and modalities for the transfer of relevant functions to the International Commission, as well as the discontinuation of the status of Palestinian refugee camp - new Palestinian text to be suggested).
Priority to Lebanese refugees
14. Preference in all the above programs shall be accorded to the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon.
Former Jewish refugees
15. Although the issue of compensation to former Jewish refugees from Arab countries is not part of the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian agreement, in recognition of their suffering and losses, the Parties pledge to cooperate in pursuing an equitable and just resolution of the issue.
End of claims
16. The Parties agree that the above constitutes a complete and final implementation of Article 11 of UNGAR 194 of 11 December 1948, and consider the implementation of the agreed programs and measures as detailed above constitute a full, final and irrevocable settlement of the Palestinian refugee issue in all its dimensions. No additional claims or demands arising from this issue shall be made by either Party. With the implementation of these articles there shall be no individuals qualified for the status of a Palestinian Refugee.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority <http://www.mofa.gov.ps>
Reaffirming that achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace is the political priority in the Middle East,
Desirous to find the effective means to end the current crisis, and in order to re-launch the peace process on the right track, by correcting the deficiencies of the negotiating process,
Jordan and Egypt propose the following:
First: Steps to end the current crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority:
In implementation of the understandings reached at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit that convened on 16 and 17 October 2000, and working towards the return to the state that prevailed prior to September, 2000:
(1) Both parties shall undertake, in one week from this agreement, concrete steps on each side to diffuse the current crisis, end confrontation, and restore calm;
(2) End the military, (financial), and economic siege, and the blockade on the free movement of materials and food supplies, imposed in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, as well as refrain from the use of internationally prohibited weapons. This shall be implemented during the same period;
(3) In parallel, Israel shall withdraw all its military forces, tanks, armoured vehicles, and weapons from their current positions in and around Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps to their locations that existed in September 2000;
(4) Immediate release and transfer of all outstanding arrears to the Palestinian Authority;
(5) In parallel to the implementation of all the above-mentioned steps, the Political/Security Committee at the high officials' level shall convene to monitor this implementation.
Second: Confidence-building measures:
In the light of the current climate of distrust, both parties will adopt measures aimed at restoring trust and confidence between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, through resuming the faithful implementation of their commitments as agreed or stipulated in the signed agreements, including:
a) The immediate resumption of implementing all articles of the Sharm el-Sheikh memorandum signed on 5 September 1999;
b) Total and immediate freeze of all settlement activities including those in East Jerusalem;
c) Mutual implementation of all security commitments;
d) The protection of all holy places and religious sites;
e) Mutual implementation of all other commitments as agreed upon by both parties.
Third: Rebuilding the negotiating process on the Palestinian track:
In conjunction with the confidence-building measures and steps mentioned previously under the first item, which aim to end the current crisis, both parties shall decide to resume work on all items on the agenda for the permanent status negotiations including Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, borders, settlements, security, water, and all other basic issues, without exception or prejudice, in accordance with signed agreements, with the aim of implementing fully Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. Both Parties agree that they will conclude these negotiations within one year from the date of their resumption. The negotiations between both parties must be based on the need to preserve and develop the progress that has been achieved during the period from November 1999 to January 2001, including all rounds of bilateral negotiations, the Camp David Summit and its aftermath, and the Taba round of negotiations held on 21-28 January 2001.
Fourth: To guarantee the adherence of both parties to the strict and faithful implementation of the above-mentioned items, it is proposed that the sponsors of the peace process, the European Union, Egypt, Jordan and the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall monitor the implementation and progress.
Source: Ha’aretz <www.haaretz.com>
The Government of Israel (GOI) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) must act swiftly and decisively to halt the violence. Their immediate objectives then should be to rebuild confidence and resume negotiations.
During this mission our aim has been to fulfill the mandate agreed at Sharm el-Sheikh. We value the support given our work by the participants at the summit, and we commend the parties for their cooperation. Our principal recommendation is that they recommit themselves to the Sharm el-Sheikh spirit and that they implement the decisions made there in 1999 and 2000. We believe that the summit participants will support bold action by the parties to achieve these objectives.
The restoration of trust is essential, and the parties should take affirmative steps to this end. Given the high level of hostility and mistrust, the timing and sequence of these steps is obviously crucial. This can be decided only by the parties. We urge them to begin the process of decision immediately.
Accordingly, we recommend that steps be taken to:
END THE VIOLENCE
· The GOI and the PA should reaffirm their commitment to existing agreements and undertakings and should immediately implement an unconditional cessation of violence.
· In the spirit of the Sharm el-Sheikh agreements and understandings of 1999 and 2000, we recommend that the parties meet to reaffirm their commitment to signed agreements and mutual understandings, and take corresponding action. This should be the basis for resuming full and meaningful negotiations.
1. The Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Palestine of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) invited the Members of the NAM Caucus of the Security Council, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Jordan, the representative of the UN Secretary-General, and the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, on 3 May 2001. The Meeting was opened by H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the Movement, and was addressed by H.E. President Yasser Arafat of Palestine. The Meeting was convened to consider the tragic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, the derailment of the Middle East peace process, and the dangerously deteriorating situation in the Middle East as a whole.
2. The Ministers reiterated the traditional support of the Movement for the Palestinian people and the realization of their inalienable rights, including the establishment of their Independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. They reiterated the Movement's support for the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis, including the principle of land for peace, and stressed the importance of the establishment of comprehensive peace in the Middle East region.
3. The Ministers also reiterated the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine. In this regard, they stressed the specific responsibilities of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. They welcomed the involvement of the Secretary-General in the Middle East peace process and they also expressed their support for the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
4. Guided by the clear positions taken by the XII Summit of NAM held in Durban, South Africa, in September 1998, as well as the Ministerial meetings held since the Summit, the Ministers specifically called for the following:
4.1 Reinvigorating the Middle East peace process.
The Ministers called upon the cosponsors of the peace process and all other concerned and interested parties to support existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements and their implementation, as well as to increase their engagement towards the successful and speedy conclusion of a final settlement. The Ministers expressed their support in this regard for the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative. In this regard they welcomed the commitment made and support expressed by President Arafat to the said initiative.
The security organizations of the Government of Israel (GOI) and of the Palestinian Authority (PA) reaffirm their commitment to the security agreements forged at Sharm al-Sheikh in October 2000 embedded in the Mitchell Report of April 2001.
The operational premise of the workplan is that the two sides are committed to a mutual, comprehensive cease-fire, applying to all violent activities, in accordance with the public declaration of both leaders. In addition, the joint security committee referenced in this workplan will resolve issues that may arise during the implementation of this workplan.
The security organizations of the GOI and PA agree to initiate the following specific, concrete, and realistic security steps immediately to re-establish security cooperation and the situation on the ground as they existed prior to 28 September.
1. The GOI and the PA will immediately resume security cooperation.
Israeli-Palestinian DCOs will be reinvigorated. They will carry out their daily activities, to the maximum extent possible, according to the standards established prior to 28 September 2000. As soon as the security situation permits, barriers to effective cooperation, which include the erection of walls between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, will be eliminated and joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols will be reinitiated.
US-supplied video conferencing systems will be provided to senior-level Israeli and Palestinian officials to facilitate frequent dialogue and security cooperation.
Israel will not conduct attacks of any kind against the Palestinian Authority Ra'is facilities: the headquarters of Palestinian security, intelligence, and police organization; or prisons in the West Bank and Gaza.
The PA will move immediately to apprehend, question, and incarcerate terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza and will provide the security committee the names of those arrested as soon as they are apprehended, as well as a readout of actions taken.
Israel will release all Palestinians arrested in security sweeps who have no association with terrorist activities.
In keeping with its unilateral cease-fire declaration, the PA will stop any Palestinian security officials from inciting, aiding, abetting, or conducting attacks against Israeli targets, including settlers.
In keeping with Israel's unilateral cease-fire declaration, Israeli forces will not conduct "proactive" security operations in areas under the control of the PA or attack against innocent civilian targets.
The GOI will re-institute military police investigations into Palestinian deaths resulting from IDF actions in the West Bank and Gaza in incidents not involving terrorism.
The PA will undertake pre-emptive operations against terrorists, terrorist safehouses, arms depots, and mortar factories. The PA will provide regular progress reports of these actions to the security committee.
Israeli authorities will take action against Israeli citizens inciting, carrying out, or planning to carry out violence against Palestinians, with progress reports on these activities provided to the security committee.
Joint Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be developed for each flash point. These SOPs will address how the two sides handle and respond to security incidents; the mechanisms for emergency contact; and the procedures to deescalate security crises.
Palestinian and Israeli security officials will identify and agree to the practical measures needed to enforce "no demonstration zones" and "buffer zones" around flash points to reduce opportunities for confrontation. Both sides will adopt all necessary measures to prevent riots and to control demonstration, particularly in flash point areas.
Palestinian and Israeli security officials will make a concerted effort to locate and confiscate illegal weapons, including mortars, rockets, and explosives, in areas under their respective control. In addition, intensive efforts will be made to prevent smuggling and illegal production of weapons. Each side will inform the security committee of the status and success of these efforts.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will adopt additional non-lethal measures to deal with Palestinian crowds and demonstrators, and more generally, seek to minimize the danger to lives and property of Palestinian civilians in responding to violence.
Source: Ha’aretz <http://www.haaretz.com>
Source: Department of State of the United States <www.state.gov>
1. This Declaration reflects the common understanding reached by the participating High Contracting Parties to the reconvened Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Conference of 15 July 1999, recommended by United Nations' General Assembly Resolution ES-10/6 in an Emergency Special Session, issued a statement as follows:
3. Taking into account art. 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and bearing in mind the United Nations' General Assembly Resolution ES-10/7, the participating High Contracting Parties reaffirm the applicability of the Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and reiterate the need for full respect for the provisions of the said Convention in that Territory. Through the present Declaration, they recall in particular the respective obligations under the Convention of all High Contracting Parties (para 4-7), of the parties to the conflict (para 8-11) and of the State of Israel as the Occupying Power (para 12-15).
4. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon all parties, directly involved in the conflict or not, to respect and to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances, to disseminate and take measures necessary for the prevention and suppression of breaches of the Conventions. They reaffirm the obligations of the High Contracting Parties under articles 146, 147 and 148 of the Fourth Geneva Convention with regard to penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties.
5. The participating High Contracting Parties stress that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which takes fully into account imperative military necessity, has to be respected in all circumstances.
6. The participating High Contracting Parties see the need to recall basic humanitarian rules with regard to persons taking no active part in the hostilities, which shall be treated humanely without any discrimination, and to recall the prohibition at any time and in any place whatsoever of acts of violence to life and person, torture, outrages upon personal dignity and of arbitrary or extra-judiciary executions.
7. The participating High Contracting Parties express their support for the endeavours of the humanitarian relief societies in the field in ensuring that the wounded and sick receive assistance, and for the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA) and other impartial humanitarian organisations. They also express their support for the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and of UN Special Rapporteurs in order to assess the situation in the field, and they take note of the reports and recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (E/CN.4/2001/114) and of the Commission of Inquiry (E/CN.4/2001/121).
8. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the parties to the conflict to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects and to distinguish at all times between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives. They also call upon the parties to abstain from any measures of brutality and violence against the civilian population whether applied by civilian or military agents and to abstain from exposing the civilian population to military operations.
9. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the parties to the conflict to respect and to protect at all times the fixed establishments and mobile medical units of the Medical Services and to facilitate the operations of the humanitarian relief societies in the field, including the free passage of their ambulances and medical personnel, and to guarantee their protection.
10. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the parties to the conflict to facilitate the activities of the ICRC, within its particular role conferred upon it by the Geneva Conventions, UNRWA and other impartial humanitarian organisations. They recognise and support their efforts to assess and to improve the humanitarian situation in the field. They invite the parties to the conflict to co-operate with independent and impartial observers such as the Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron (TIPH).
11. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the parties to the conflict to consider anew suggestions made at the meeting of experts of High Contracting Parties in 1998 to resolve problems of implementation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to respect and to ensure respect in all circumstances for the rules of international humanitarian law and to co-operate within the framework of direct contacts, including procedures of inquiry and of conciliation. They encourage any arrangements and agreements supported by the parties to the conflict on the deployment of independent and impartial observers to monitor, inter alia, breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention as a protection and confidence-building measure, with the aim to ensure effectiveness of humanitarian rules.
12. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention. They reaffirm the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof. They recall the need to safeguard and guarantee the rights and access of all inhabitants to the Holy Places.
13. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the Occupying Power to immediately refrain from committing grave breaches involving any of the acts mentioned in art. 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, such as wilful killing, torture, unlawful deportation, wilful depriving of the rights of fair and regular trial, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. The participating High Contracting Parties recall that according to art. 148 no High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself of any liability incurred by itself in respect to grave breaches. The participating High Contracting Parties also recall the responsibilities of the Occupying Power according to art. 29 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the treatment of protected persons.
14. The participating High Contracting Parties also call upon the Occupying Power to refrain from perpetrating any other violation of the Convention, in particular reprisals against protected persons and their property, collective penalties, and unjustified restrictions of free movement, and to treat the protected persons humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
15. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the Occupying Power to facilitate the relief operations and free passage of the ICRC and UNRWA, as well as any other impartial humanitarian organisation, to guarantee their protection and, where applicable, to refrain from levying taxes and imposing undue financial burdens on these organisations.
16. The participating High Contracting Parties stress that respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law in general is essential to improve the humanitarian situation in the field and to achieve a just and lasting peace. The participating High Contracting Parties invite the parties concerned to bring the conflict to an end by means of negotiation and to settle their disputes in accordance with applicable international law.
17. The participating High Contracting Parties welcome and encourage the initiatives by States Parties, both individually and collectively, according to art. 1 of the Convention and aimed at ensuring the respect of the Convention, and they underline the need for the Parties, to follow up on the implementation of the present Declaration.
18. The participating High Contracting Parties express their gratitude to the Depositary of the Fourth Geneva Convention for its good services and offices.
Source: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland <www.eda.admin.ch>
The extreme gravity of the situation in the Middle East requires each side to face up to its responsibilities: it is imperative to put an end to the violence.
The only basis for peace is UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and:
· reaffirmation and full recognition of Israel's inalienable right to live in peace and security within internationally recognised borders
· the establishment of a viable, independent and democratic Palestinian state and an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories
Israel needs the Palestinian Authority and its elected President, Yasser Arafat, as a partner to negotiate with, both in order to eradicate terrorism and to work towards peace. Its capacity to fight terrorism must not be weakened. The European Union renews its appeal to the Palestinian Authority to do everything to prevent acts of terrorism.
The European Union would remind the parties of the pledges demanded of them:
· The Palestinian Authority: the dismantling of Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's terrorist networks, including the arrest and prosecution of all suspects; a public appeal in Arabic for an end to the armed intifada.
· The Israeli Government: withdrawal of its military forces and a stop to extrajudicial executions; the lifting of closures and of all the restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people; a freeze on settlements and an end to operations directed against Palestinian infrastructures.
Implementation of these commitments requires resolute action by both the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
Immediate and unconditional implementation of the Tenet cease-fire plan and the Mitchell Committee recommendations remains the only way to resume political dialogue.
The European Union remains convinced that setting up a third-party monitoring mechanism would serve the interests of both parties. It is prepared to play an active role in such a mechanism.
Resolute and concerted action by the European Union, the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the Arab countries most concerned is essential and urgent. The European Council has mandated High Representative Javier Solana to continue appropriate contacts to this end.
The Union attaches great importance to an economic recovery programme focused on Palestine as a way of encouraging peace.
The European Union will continue its efforts to ensure that both States, Israel and Palestine, can live side by side in peace and security.
Peace in the Middle East can be comprehensive only if it includes Syria and Lebanon.
Source: Council of the European Union < http://europa.eu.int/european_council/>