Palestinian Vision of Peace and Official Palestinian Positions on Final Status Issues
Palestinian Vision of Peace and Official Palestinian Positions on Final Status Issues
The Palestinian vision of peace is based upon fundamental human rights of freedom, dignity, and equality. Our vision is in line with international law, and the system of justice and accountability that the international legal order is designed to preserve. It is consistent with the numerous United Nations resolutions that have recognized our fundamental rights, condemned Israel’s denial of those rights, and called upon Israel and the international community to act to end the occupation, end and reverse the settlement enterprise, and protect and respect Palestinian rights. Any plan that flouts international law and United Nations resolutions, and instead legitimizes illegal land theft and annexation is no peace plan at all.
An independent and viable State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as our capital, can only be based on complete sovereignty over our territory and our resources; control over our borders, airspace, and maritime boundaries; and, most importantly, self-determination: the ability to freely determine the shape of our political, civil, economic, cultural and social lives.
Pursuant to the Palestinian Peace Initiative, the broad outlines of a resolution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict are as follows:
- Respect for international law and the relevant resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) through to resolution 2334 (2016), and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the signed agreements.
- Preservation of the principle of the two-States, i.e. the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders, and rejection of partial solutions and a State of provisional borders.
- Ensuring the security of the two States without undermining the independence and sovereignty of either of them through the existence of an international third party.
- A just and agreed solution for the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194 (III) and in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and, pending a just solution, continuation of the international commitment and support to UNRWA.
Ultimately, our vision for peace requires justice and an ability to exercise our rights freely in our homeland.
We are confident that with the support of peace-loving nations that seek to preserve the threatened international order, we will succeed in our pursuit of this just and long-lasting peace.
Presented below are the official Palestinian positions on each of the Permeant Status issues for your information, as well as other state-to-state issues related to the viability of an independent and prosperous state.
Official Palestinian Positons on Final Status Issues
The pre-4th June 1967 boundary is the baseline border. The 1967 line is defined as the 1949 Armistice Line along with all legal modifications thereto up to June 4th, 1967.
A number of border-related issues will need to be addressed during final status talks to achieve an end in conflict on the basis of the two-state solution, including:
- Borders: Israel has no valid claim to any part of the West Bank or Gaza Strip. However, in the interest of peace, we have been willing to discuss minor, equitable, and mutually-agreed territorial exchanges and border modifications should we decide that it is in our interest to do so.
- Territorial Link: In order that the West Bank and Gaza Strip function as a single territorial unit, a territorial link connecting the two parts of the State of Palestine is crucial. The link must provide for permanent and unrestricted movement of people, goods and vehicles between the two geographic areas. It should also be able to accommodate the transfer of various resources throughout the State of Palestine (e.g. gas, water, electricity, etc.). A safe passage or transit arrangements allowing such movement under an agreed regime will be necessary until a permanent territorial link is fully operational. Such arrangements also should remain in effect after the territorial link becomes operational as an alternative means of connection between the West Bank and Gaza Strip should the operation of the territorial link be disrupted.
- Maritime Boundary Issues: Maritime issues pertain to the coastal areas off the Gaza Strip. Our maritime boundaries would have to be negotiated not only with Israel, but also with other nearby coastal states (notably, Egypt and Cyprus). These talks would have to address issues pertaining to shared resources in various maritime zones. We seek the full array of maritime rights under international law as a coastal state.
In conformity with international law and as stated in the Declaration of Principles, all of Jerusalem (and not only East Jerusalem) is subject to permanent status negotiations. With respect to East Jerusalem, because it remains part of the territory occupied since 1967, Israel has no right to any part of it.
As the political, economic and spiritual heart of our nation, there can be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem, in particular the Old City and the surrounding area, as its capital. We are committed to respecting freedom of worship at, and access to, religious sites within East Jerusalem for everyone. All possible measures will be taken to protect such sites and preserve their dignity.
Beyond ensuring our sovereignty over East Jerusalem, we will consider a number of solutions, as long as they are in our interest and in line with international law. For example, Jerusalem may be an open city for both Palestinians and Israelis-the capital of two nations. Whatever the specific solution, East Jerusalem is essential to the economic, political and cultural viability of our future state. There can be no integrated Palestinian national economy and, thus no sustainable resolution of the conflict, without a negotiated solution on Jerusalem that guarantees our rights.
Ending the Israeli occupation through full withdrawal from all Palestinian territory, airspace and territorial waters with no residual Israeli presence or control is a basic requirement for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, for the resolution of the conflict and for regional stability.
The attainment of water rights and the equitable and reasonable allocation of water are required for a successful two-state solution and future political stability in the region. Water issues are linked to, and impact numerous other issues to be negotiated, including borders, settlements, economic relations and refugees, among others.
We must have control over and access to our water resources. We accept the principle of international water law stipulating that both Israel and Palestine are entitled to an equitable and reasonable allocation of shared freshwater resources, both groundwater and surface water resources. We further uphold the other two key principles of customary international water law– no significant harm; and prior notification. We strongly believe that solution to the water issue must be just & sustainable over time requiring appropriate monitoring and management regime
Our vision requires a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with international law, and specifically UN General Assembly Resolution 194. A just solution must be based on the right of return and reparations. Our position on refugees is also included and supported in the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which calls for “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations.
Right of Return
Key to the resolution of the refugee issue is Israel’s recognition of the applicable principles and rights of the refugees, including our refugees’ right to return to their homes and lands. Israel’s recognition of the right of return will pave the way to negotiating how that right will be implemented. Choice is a critical part of the process. Our refugees must be allowed to choose how to implement their rights and normalize their status. The options for our refugees should be: return to Israel, return/resettlement to a future Palestinian state, integration in host states, or resettlement in third-party states. Rehabilitation in the form of professional training, education, medical services, provision of housing, etc. will also be a necessary component of each of the options.
Reparations consist of three elements. The first is Israel’s recognition of its role in the creation and perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee upheaval. While Israel may have its own narrative to explain the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Palestinian refugees, it is undeniable that when our refugees sought to return to their homes, Israel systematically, and adamantly, blocked their efforts. To this day, Israel continues to deny their right to return. Israel must acknowledge unequivocally its responsibility for these actions if there is to be a just, peaceful, and sustainable solution to the conflict.
Restitution is the second element of reparations. Under international law, restitution is the primary remedy for property that has been confiscated arbitrarily. If restitution is materially impossible, or where the damage will not be made whole by restitution alone, or if a refugee chooses compensation in lieu of restitution, that compensation must be full and complete. Alternatively, compensation in-kind may be offered in the form of vacant land in Israel.
Compensation is the third element of reparations and is comprised of three categories. Compensation must be made for property that cannot be restituted (or if the refugee chooses compensation in lieu of restitution), for material damages (personal items, livelihood, etc.) and for non-material damages (pain and suffering resulting from longstanding displacement).
The Palestinian position regarding Prisoners is simple. Israel must release all Palestinian prisoners held in its jails, not only as part of a final-status agreement, but also part of the process of negotiations and confidence-building measures intended to build momentum for a peace deal. Israel must also live up to its commitments both in its bilateral agreements and under international law, including:
- The release of all Palestinian Prisoners arrested before the commencement of the Oslo peace process as stipulated in the Sharm Al-Sheikh memorandum.
- Cease its policy of administrative detention and its application of military laws and regulations, which deny Palestinians a fair due process.
- Ease and facilitate family visitation on a regular and uninterrupted basis.
- Stop the isolation of prisoners in individual cells and improve the health (including dental health), sanitary, and educational services provided to Palestinian prisoners.
- Cease the use of torture both physical and psychological in interrogations.
- Cease the transfer of Palestinian Prisoners to prisons within Israel’s proper in contravention of the Geneva Conventions.
We seek to ensure that we have at our disposal every possible means for producing sustainable economic growth and for striving for prosperity. To this end, we seek to apply internationally recognized legal principles and standards in reaching economic and trade agreements with our trading partners.
We are dedicated to establishing Palestine as an open and free economy that attracts domestic and foreign investment. Accordingly, we seek full control over our economic domain, including import and export policies. Additionally, we seek stable, fair and efficient trade relations with Israel, as one of Palestine’s bordering, and thereby natural, trading partner. These relations will be based on a trading regime that best meets our interests and may include a Free Trade Agreement subject to internationally accepted principles of reciprocity and mutual benefits.
Until a final peace agreement is reached with Israel, however, it is imperative that the Paris Protocol be fully implemented.
Additional State-to-State Issues
Historically and due to Palestine’s diverse topology and climatic variations, the agriculture sector has been one of the pillars of the Palestinian economy. It played a vital role in contributing to the Palestinian GDP and generating job opportunities. In 1982 the sector contribution to the GDP has reached nearly 30%, while, the labour force reached around 17% in 2006. However, due to Israeli occupation policies and practices, agriculture share of total GDP has been in steady decline for the past decades, falling to 3.4% in 2015, and 2.9% in 2016. In addition, the percentage of the labour force dropped to lower than 9% in 2015. The chief cause of de-development of the agriculture sector has been attributed to Israeli restrictions, control of the vast majority of the lands and water resources and ability to export to Israel, regional and international markets. However, despite the mentioned Israeli impediments, there are attempts by the State of Palestine in the cooperation with civil society and the international community to achieve a sustainable agriculture sector, capable of competing locally and globally. According to the National Strategy projection, it is expected that there will be a percentage increase in agricultural production value at constant prices, by at least 10% by the end of 2022, in comparison with 2014.
Today, energy security is one of the major challenges posed by the ongoing Israeli occupation and considered an obstacle towards achieving a sustainable economic independence. In effect, the Israeli control has left the Palestinian energy sector to be almost entirely reliant on energy imports. Almost 89% of total electricity supplies are purchased from Israel, whereas 3% comes from Jordan and Egypt. The only fossil fuel-fired is generated in Gaza power plant (GPP), which runs at half capacity and been under multiple Israeli military attacks. According to the World Bank, Gaza annual energy demand is 450MW, by which, only 60 MW are produced by the already troubled GPP, 120 MW is imported from Israel and around 30 MW from Egypt. To avert energy deficiency and to reach Palestinian energy demands which is expected to reach 2400 MW in 2025, the State of Palestine needs to develop multiple capacity projects. For instance, the development of alternative and renewable energy technologies such as power generators sun-panels, in addition, to the development of the Gaza Marine gas field and Rantis oil project. Thus, any permanent status agreement must ensure Palestine’s ability to develop its own energy sector and production capacity, to ensure its energy security, while maintaining cooperation that is beneficial to both parties on an equal basis.
Contrary to the Oslo principles, Israel has repeatedly failed to fulfill its obligation towards enabling of an independent telecommunication sector. According to the agreement, “Israel recognizes that the Palestinian side has the right to build and operate separate and independent communication systems and infrastructures including telecommunication networks, a television network and a radio network.” For instance, Israel has delayed the 3G broadband - radio frequency installation in the West Bank and preventing it in Gaza. In addition, Israel has restricted the import and installation of microwave links and the import of civil and telecom material. It deliberately permitted and fully facilitated the illegal competition of Israeli cellular operators in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel still occupies frequencies, as well as all other natural resources. Hence, the telecom sector continues to face very tight restrictions and challenges. Israeli policies impede the progress of the sector by posing challenges to network operators and service providers in Palestine, thereby preventing Palestinians from keeping up with new technologies. Spectrum control and restrictions on frequency allocation stymied for many years the ability of Palestinian operators to offer 3G and more services. Even now, after the release of the 3G services in early 2018, far less spectrum is offered to Palestinian operators than to mobile operators in Israel. Israeli mobile operators are already using 4G spectrum, which enables them to offer more advanced services than their Palestinian rivals. Israeli restrictions on importing telecom equipment and the prevention of bringing mobile switching equipment to Palestine add significantly to the operating costs for all network. Currently, the State of Palestine is working towards obtaining new technology including 4G & 5G and microwave links.
Given the significance of the Holy Land to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, tourism and religious pilgrimage will be main contributors to Palestine’s GDP. To date, Israeli restrictions have resulted in Palestinian inability to fully realize the economic potential of this sector. The interrelated nature of tourist sites in Palestine and Israel requires coordination between both states on a tourism trade regime and arrangements governing the movement of tourists.
Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, hundreds of Palestinian archaeological sites and cultural property have been systematically confiscated, looted and excavated by Israeli authorities, causing irreparable damage and loss to Palestinian cultural heritage. Confiscation and development of our heritage sites and cultural property is prohibited under customary international law and UNESCO conventions and protocols, including several that Israel has signed. Thus, Israel is directly violating its obligations and commitments under international legal instruments, which prohibit it from unilaterally developing and promoting Palestinian sites. An agreement on cultural heritage must ensure, among other issues, the return of all Palestinian cultural and archeological artifacts.