National Agreement Regarding the Negotiations
on the Permanent Settlement with the Palestinians
(January 26, 1997)
(A number of members of the Knesset reached an agreement on the following plan for West Bank territorial compromise with the Palestinians. Those who agreed represented Israels two major parties, Labor and the Likud. The prime movers behind the agreement were Yossi Beilin of Labor and Michael Eitan of the Likud, who negotiated the agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus blessing.)
The central objective of the Zionist movement, from the day of its founding, was the
establishment of sovereign state in the Land of Israel. The Jewish state was
established in 1948, but it was not until 1977 that the first Arab state, Egypt,
recognized and later signed a peace treaty with the State of Israel.
The Camp David Agreements, the Oslo Accords, the Mutual Recognition between the
Israeli government and the PLO and the projects of the settlements in the territories
under Israeli control since 1967 have created a reality from which none of the involved
parties can escape.
Both danger and opportunity are concealed in the dialogue between the Israeli and
Palestinian leadership. The last two Israeli governments made the strategic decision to
take on calculated risks with the goal of pursuing every possible chance for attaining
peace and a relationship of good neighbors between Jews and Arabs in the Land of
Against the backdrop of a readiness to find a means of historic compromise between
Jews and Arabs, a bitter controversy has developed within the Jewish nation: giving
up parts of the homeland.
In addition to the prevalent ideological controversy, there are bitter differences of
opinion about the degree of security risk that it is acceptable to assume given the risks
and threats from the Arab side. There are those who are suspicious that a secure peace
is nothing but an illusion, a deceptive vision that will lead Israel into a trap that will, in
the end, exact a heavy price of blood. Opposing them are those who claim fervently
that the process has potential and that a lasting peace is essential to ensure the security
of the State of Israel for generations.
This grave political polarization reached its climax towards the end of 1995. In
September the Israeli government signed Oslo II, which was understood to be a step
towards the transfer of the territories of the West Bank to the Palestinians. Protest
demonstrations intensified and many saw the signing of the accord as fundamental
heresy. This climate of intense polarization lead to the political assassination, several
weeks later, of the late Yitzhak Rabin.
Despite the fact that the murder and the murderer were condemned univocally by the
high-ranking leadership in Israel, there were more than a few who identified with the
nefarious act and in their identification made clear that a real risk of civil war existed.
It was as if we had not learned the historical lesson of what was bound to happen in
the aftermath of the use of terror as a means of internal political disagreement between
Jews and other Jew sin the face of an "enemy besieging the city."
Members of Knesset from the Likud Gesher Tzomet faction and from the Labor
faction came together with the common objective of clarifying the areas of agreement
and disagreement between them regarding the future negotiations with the Palestinians
on a permanent settlement. Following a series of discussions and clarifications they
have arrived at the conclusion that it is necessary to reach a national consensus on the
basis of the following three principles:
1st. It is necessary to continue the dialogue with the Palestinian representatives and to
pursue exhaustively every opportunity to achieve a permanent agreement with
them. In the framework of such an agreement it is necessary to permit the
establishment of a Palestinian entity whose status will be determined in negotiations
between the parties and the limits on the sovereignty of which will be discussed in
the following sections.
2nd. Under conditions of peace and following the achievement of an agreement on the
issue of the permanent settlement, the State of Israel must preserve its ability to
prevent every attack or risk of an attack on its territorial integrity, the safety of its
citizens and their property and in its vital interests in Israel and in the world.
3rd. No agreement signed by the Israeli government can include a commitment to
uproot Jewish settlements in the Western Land of Israel nor will any agreement
compromise the rights of the residents to keep their Israeli citizenship and their ties
as individuals and as a community with the State of Israel.
The position of Israel on every issue relating to the question of borders will be based
on the following principles:
There will be no return to the 1967 borders.
The majority of settlers will live on their settlement under Israeli sovereignty, in
order to preserve territorial continuity between the settlements and the State of
The residents of the Israeli settlements that will exist outside of the area that will be
annexed by the State of Israel will receive special, agreed upon, arrangements
within the framework of which their Israeli citizenship and their ties with the State
of Israel, as individuals and as a community, will be preserved. Thus their right of
free and safe passage to the territories under full Israeli sovereignty will be
The Jordan Valley will be a special security zone and Israeli army forces will be
posted along the Jordan. The residents of the area will be permitted to remain
where they are, according to point 3, above. Another version insists upon an
Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan valley.
B. SECURITY COMPONENTS
The Palestinian entity will be demilitarized and it will have no army.
The Jordan River will be the security border of Israel. Secure crossing conditions
will be regulated by IDF forces in proportion to need and to the changing
conditions within the Palestinian entity, effecting the estimated need for the IDF on
The Palestinian entity will establish a strong police force to meet the needs of
No foreign army may be stationed within the boundaries of the Palestinian entity.
The security forces of Israel and the Palestinian entity will work to deter and foil
acts of terrorism aimed against Jews and Arabs.
The Palestinian entity will not sign any military agreement or any other agreement
that includes a threat to the territorial integrity of the State of Israel, the security of
its citizens or the integrity of their property. It will not sign any agreement
regarding boycott or any other illegal steps against the Israeli economy nor any
agreement involving negative propaganda against the State of Israel or against the
The commitment of the two parties to the agreement regarding the permanent
settlements will be strengthened by the fulfillment of all of their other
Any basic violation of the commitments presented in this section will allow the
violated party to regard the whole agreement as annulled and will grant the assailed
the right to act freely to right the violations and to prevent further violations.
C. STATUS OF THE PALESTINIAN ENTITY AND LIMITS ON ITS SOVEREIGNTY
If the Palestinian entity subjects itself to the limits presented in this document, its self -
determination will be recognized. According to an alternative opinion it will be
regarded as an enlarged autonomy, and according to another opinion, as a state.
Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, with its existing municipal borders, will be a single
unified city within sovereign Israel.
The Palestinians will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Israel will
recognize the governing center of the Palestinian entity which will be within the
borders of the entity and outside the existing municipal borders of Jerusalem.
Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem will be granted special status.
Within the framework of the municipal government the Palestinian residents of
Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem will receive a status that will allow them to share
in the responsibility of the administration of their lives in the city.
The right of the State of Israel to prevent the entry of Palestinian refugees into its
sovereign territory will be recognized.
The administration of the entrance of refugees into the Palestinian entity and the
limits to that entry will be decided upon during the negotiations of the permanent
settlement, within the larger discussion of Israel's security issues.
An international organization will be founded, in which Israel will play an
important role, with the goal of financing any carrying out projects for
compensation and rehabilitation of the refugees in their places. The organization
will also address Israeli claims for reparations for Jewish refugees from Arab
Israel and the Palestinian entity, each within its own boundaries, will rehabilitate
the refugees on the basis of the disengagement of the UNRWA, the repealing of
the refugee status and the arrangement of housing and employment and housing
with international aid. (For Israel this refers to the Shoafat and Kalandia refugee
camps in Jerusalem.)
Israel will continue its policy of family reunification on the basis of existing criteria.
The agreement on the issue of water usage, as it was signed in the framework of the
interim agreement, will remain in effect. The water authorities of Israel and the
Palestinians will establish shared control over its usage.
Any future change of anything related to the issue of division of water, modes of
production or means of protection of water purity must be made with the agreement of
both parties. In the absence of such an agreement the status quo will remain.
Israel and the Palestinian entity will act together in regards to everything pertaining to
desalination and regional water enterprises.
G. ECONOMY AND TRADE
The economic sphere is one of the cornerstones in the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian entity, with the goal of strengthening their interests in achieving a just,
lasting and comprehensive peace. The two parties will cooperate in this arena in order
to create a solid economic basis for these relations, which will be grounded in the
different economic spheres on the values of mutual respect of each party for the
economic interests of the other, mutuality, justice and protection. The parties will
invite the Kingdom of Jordan to participate in this economic cooperation.
H. EDUCATION, CULTURE AND GOOD NEIGHBORS
The Israeli leadership and the Palestinian leadership must create a fitting environment
for the development of peaceful relations between Jew and Palestinians. It is necessary
to encourage educational initiatives, cultural connections and to foster models of
Jewish-Arab cooperation as a basis for relations as good neighbors. A true peace
between Jews and Arabs in the Land of Israel will be attained when both of the
populations will accept the existence of its counterpart on a basis of mutuality and
I. THE INTERIM AGREEMENT AND THE PERMANENT SETTLEMENT
There will be a special effort to conclude the talks of the issue of the permanent
settlement and especially to finalize the borders between Israel and the Palestinian
entity before the intended date for further redeployment.
If the borders are not finalized before the third redeployment Israel will redeploy so
that up to 50% of the West Bank will be designated as territories A and B.
Source: Reprinted by permission from the The KnessetThe Israeli Parliament.