In January 2014 I drafted this document and shared it with the Israeli, Palestinian and US negotiators.
The purpose of the document was to confront all of the core issues in a comprehensive manner in a way that takes into account the positions, interests and needs of both parties. This is the first part of two that I will present over the next two weeks.
There remains about five and a half weeks before the end of April deadline.
The Government of the State of Israel and the PLO, representing the Palestinian people, reaffirm that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation based on the “two states for two peoples” solution.
ARTICLE ONE AIM OF THE AGREEMENT OF PRINCIPLES ON PERMANENT STATUS
The aim of this Declaration of Principles is to provide a framework for negotiations on the detailed permanent-status agreement of peace and end of conflict and all claims between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine that will be established based on these principles. This Declaration of Principles relates to all of the permanent-status issues detailed in the DOP of September 1993 including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.
ARTICLE TWO PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD
The State of Palestine will be established on the territories agreed to by the parties based on the principle that the Palestinian state will compose 22 percent of the total territory between the River and the Sea and Israel will compose 78% of the same area. The final delineation of the border between the two states will take into account realities on the ground enabling Israeli annexation of certain agreed-upon settlement blocs accounting for up to 4% of the territory concerned. Border modifications to the 1949 armistice lines will be based on an equitable and agreed-upon territorial exchange in accordance with the vital needs of both sides, including security, territorial contiguity and demographic considerations.
The Palestinian State will have a connection between its two geographic areas, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The implementation of the agreement with regard to the Gaza Strip will take place only when the regime that controls Gaza agrees to the terms of the permanent peace agreement herein.
ARTICLE THREE JERUSALEM
The capitals of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine will be established in Jerusalem. Israeli Jerusalem will include all of West Jerusalem and the Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem (in accordance with the agreement of the borders of the State of Palestine).
Palestinian Jerusalem will include all of the Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. The external borders of Palestinian Jerusalem on the east and the north will be determined by the Palestinians in agreement with Israel. Jerusalem will be an open city and a physically united city, the capital of two states. Freedom of religion and full access to holy sites will be guaranteed to all.
Neither side will exercise sovereignty over the holy places. The State of Palestine will be designated guardian of al-Haram al-Sharif for the benefit of Muslims.
Israel will be the guardian of the Western Wall for the benefit of the Jewish people. The status quo on Christian holy sites will be maintained. No excavation will take place in or underneath the holy sites or construction on them without mutual consent.
All of the nations of the world will be invited by both states to establish their embassies in the new area designated for this purpose in E1. International organizations will also be invited to establish their global headquarters in Jerusalem’s new international district.
Security within the borders of Israeli and Palestinian Jerusalem will be based on separate and direct responsibilities within each sovereign jurisdiction, however a joint Israeli-Palestinian security/police force will be established with overriding authority and responsibility over the entire boundaries of the city. The Joint Command will be established in an agreed location with several dispersed command outlets in determined and agreed-to locations. A third-party monitoring and verification mechanism focused on Jerusalem will be established and based alongside of the joint commands and at the separate command levels as well.
A security perimeter will be established around Jerusalem for an agreed designated time that will work in accordance with the security protocol detailed below in Article Five.
ARTICLE FOUR REFUGEES
Palestinian refugees will participate in determining their own future within the following agreed contours: Over a three-month period all registered Palestinian with UNRWA will be granted the opportunity to choose between the following options: 1. Return and (re)settlement within the State of Palestine.
All Palestinian refugees will be eligible to receive immediate citizenship in the State of Palestine.
2. Remaining within the host country and receiving (or retaining) citizenship of the host country based on the agreement of the host country.
3. Applying for resettlement and receiving citizenship of other countries.
The US government will provide a list of countries (including Israel) willing to absorb Palestinian refugees with the number of refugees agreed to accept indicated.
4. Applying for resettlement and citizenship within the State of Israel under a humanitarian family reunification scheme.
Following the final determination of the choice of the refugees, representatives of Palestine, Israel and other countries willing to absorb refugees will convene to work out mechanisms for the best implementation of the requests of the refugees. There is no prior commitment by any of the parties to absorb all of those refugees who choose to relocate in any of the countries selected by the refugees, yet, with the signing of the Peace Treaty, the sides obligate themselves to act in good faith and to assume the maximal responsibility for cooperating with the international body in the absorption of all of the refugees and putting a final positive conclusion to the plight of the Palestinian refugees.
INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
The international community, Israel and the Palestinian state will initiate and contribute to an international fund to compensate refugees for verifiable lost property. The sides agree that all Palestinian refugees will receive a financial payment from an international fund for Palestinian refugees in which the State of Israel will participate. This payment is in recognition of the years of suffering of the refugees. The International Fund for Palestinian Refugees will also engage in a robust international effort to construct new housing for Palestinian refugees in the State of Palestine.
Refugees will be able to present property loss claims to an international commission that will work alongside of the International Fund for Palestinian Refugees.
Compensation for lost property will be made available by the fund in the form of alternative new housing in the State of Palestine and/or cash payments.
The international community will offer to compensate toward bettering the lot of those refugees willing to remain in their present country of residence, or for those who wish to immigrate to third-party countries.
With the coming into force of the agreement on permanent peace, UNRWA will have a period of two years to close down its operation and activities. All responsibilities currently within the domain of UNRWA will be reverted to the government of the State of Palestine.
Next week I will present the sections dealing with: security, economic relations, water and environment, creating a culture of peace, people-to-people peacemaking, time line and implementation, monitoring and verification, dispute resolution, and end of conflict.
The author is co-chairman of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Schalit. His new book Freeing Gilad: the Secret Back Channel has been published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan in Hebrew and The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas from The Toby Press.