Beilin-Eitan Agreement:
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 Israel’s 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 Netanyahu’s 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 Israel.

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.

A. BORDERS

The position of Israel on every issue relating to the question of borders will be based on the following principles:

  1. There will be no return to the 1967 borders.

  2. 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 Israel.

  3. 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 preserved.

  4. 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

  1. The Palestinian entity will be demilitarized and it will have no army.

  2. 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 borders.

  3. The Palestinian entity will establish a strong police force to meet the needs of internal security.

  4. No foreign army may be stationed within the boundaries of the Palestinian entity.

  5. The security forces of Israel and the Palestinian entity will work to deter and foil acts of terrorism aimed against Jews and Arabs.

  6. 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 Jewish people.

  7. The commitment of the two parties to the agreement regarding the permanent settlements will be strengthened by the fulfillment of all of their other commitments.

  8. 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.


D. JERUSALEM

     

  1. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, with its existing municipal borders, will be a single unified city within sovereign Israel.

  2. 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.

  3. Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem will be granted special status.

  4. 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.


E. REFUGEES

 

     

  1. The right of the State of Israel to prevent the entry of Palestinian refugees into its sovereign territory will be recognized.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 countries.

  4. 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.)

  5. Israel will continue its policy of family reunification on the basis of existing criteria.

 

F. WATER


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 equality.


I. THE INTERIM AGREEMENT AND THE PERMANENT SETTLEMENT

     

  1. 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.

  2. 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 Knesset—The Israeli Parliament.