As Israel and the Palestinians are set to relaunch direct negotiations on
Thursday, the sides will lay out their positions on the core issues.What
follows is a scorecard of where each side stands on these issues: borders,
security, refugees and Jerusalem.
PM won't discuss freeze before talks
Editor's notes: Does Abbas want a deal?
BORDERS While the Palestinians have
demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu acknowledge that the starting
point for a discussion on borders is the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon
adjustments, Netanyahu has consistently refused to do so.
His position is
that UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted after the Six Day War, does not
require a full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, more exactly called the 1949
armistice lines. Instead, Netanyahu argues that Israel must have defensible
borders, something that in his mind is incompatible with a full withdrawal to
the 1967 lines.
Regarding settlements, unlike previous governments, where
government spokesmen made clear that any agreement would necessitate a complete
removal of the settlements in the territories that will become a Palestinian
state, Netanyahu has been careful not to talk about the need to uproot
There are some key members in his inner circle, moreover,
who believe that in a future peace agreement, Jews should be able to live in a
future Palestinian state, just as there is an Arab minority in the Jewish
SECURITY In last year’s Bar-Ilan University speech, in which Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted publicly the idea of a twostate solution,
he said that any future Palestinian state must, however, be
“We must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to
import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace
to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hizbullah and Iran,” he said, spelling
out what – in his mind – demilitarized meant.
Since then Netanyahu has
spoken increasingly about the need for an Israeli presence on the eastern border
of a future Palestinian state, to ensure that weapons are not smuggled into it,
as is the case with arms to Hizbullah coming from Syria, and weapons for Hamas
in Gaza coming through Sinai.
And, with the US withdrawing from Iraq,
there is increasing concern – again – about having to protect Israel some day
against an attack on its eastern front.
REFUGEES Netanyahu has said
repeatedly that any peace accord would necessitate Palestinian recognition of
Israel as the state of the Jewish people, a code for refusing the “right of
return” to Palestinian refugees.
The government has made clear that
acceptance of a twostate solution means that Palestinian refugees who want to
return to the region would be absorbed in a future Palestinian state, just as
Israel has over the years absorbed millions of Jewish
Netanyahu has not said anything about accepting a limited
number of Palestinian refugees as a “humanitarian gesture,” as then-prime
minister Ehud Olmert did during his talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in
JERUSALEM Netanyahu has said repeatedly that Jerusalem would remain
the undivided capital of Israel. He has given no indication, as Olmert did, that
he would be willing to cede Arab neighborhoods in the capital to the
Palestinians for their capital, nor that he was willing – as Olmert said he was
– to share sovereignty over the Temple Mount, or the area encompassing the Old
City and its environs known as the “holy basin.”
A document prepared by the PLO Negotiation Department has been delivered to the
US administration and other members of the Quartet ahead of the direct talks
that are scheduled to begin in Washington this week. The document details the
Palestinian Authority’s positions on a variety of issues related to the peace
The document states that final-status negotiations must be based
on previously agreed terms of reference: international law; UN resolutions,
including 242, 338, 1397 and 1515 and 194; the road map; agreements previously
concluded between the parties, and the Arab Peace
Final-status negotiations must resume from the point at which
they left off in December 2008 with former prime minister Ehud Olmert, and must
address all core issues such as borders, settlements, Jerusalem, refugees,
water, security and prisoners.
The Palestinians also reject the option of
a “state with provisional borders” or any further transitional or interim
BORDERS The document states that the Palestinians will try to
secure a UN Security Council resolution that recognizes the State of Palestine
on the June 4, 1967 border, with east Jerusalem as its capital. In essence, this
option is an international imposition of a final-status solution between the
parties based on international law.
This leaves the option of accepting
the solution or rejecting it. Thus it will not be a unilateral declaration of
independence, as PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad would prefer.
According to the document, security, stability and peace in the region will not
be attained unless the Israeli occupation of all Arab and Palestinian
territories occupied in 1967 comes to an end.
An interest-based model of
cooperation, taking into account that the US deploys over 230,000 troops
Middle East, should be adopted by all.REFUGEES
With regards to the
of the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, the Palestinian
calls for a resolving the issue “in a just manner, in accordance with UN
Assembly Resolution 194.”SETTLEMENTS
position on this
issue remains firm and unchanged – that all the settlements that were
after 1967 are illegal and should be evacuated.