The Clinton Peace Plan
(December 23, 2000)
In a last ditch effort to revive the peace process
, President Clinton
invited Israeli and Palestinians negotiators to Washington for talks. The parties arrived December 18, 2000, and met for two days separately with American officials. On December 20, Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami
and PA negotiator Saeb Erekat
met in the White House with President Clinton. On December 23, Clinton presented the sides with his parameters for a final status agreement
and asked for each sides to respond by December 27 whether the parameters were acceptable as a basis for further negotiations.
Following are the proposals, as given to the Israeli media by various sources:
Based on what I heard, I believe that the solution
should be in the mid-90 percents, between 94-96 percent of the West
Bank territory of the Palestinian State.
The land annexed by Israel should be compensated by a land swap of
1-3 percent in addition to territorial arrangements such as a permanent
The parties also should consider the swap of leased land to meet their
The Parties should develop a map consistent with the
- 80% of settlers in blocks
- Minimize the annexed areas
- Minimize the number of Palestinians affected
The key lies in an international presence that can only be withdrawn
by mutual consent. This presence will also monitor the implementation
of the agreement between both sides.
My best judgment is that the Israeli presence would remain in fixed
locations in the Jordan Valley under the authority of the international
force for another 36 months. This period could be reduced in the event
of favorable regional developments that diminish the threat to Israel.
On early warning stations, Israel should maintain three facilities
in the West Bank with a Palestinian liaison presence. The stations will
be subject to review every 10 years with any changes in the status to
be mutually agreed. (According to the Israeli version of the minutes,
Clinton said the stations would be subject to review after 10 years).
Regarding emergency developments, I understand that you will still
have to develop a map of the relevant areas and routes. I propose the
following definition: imminent and demonstrable threat to Israel's national
security of a military nature that requires the activation of a national
state emergency. Of course, the international forces will need to be
notified of any such determination
On airspace, I suggest that the state of Palestine will have sovereignty
over its airspace but that the two sides should work out special arrangements
for Israeli training and operational needs.
I understand that the Israeli position is that Palestine should be
defined as a "demilitarized state" while the Palestinian side
proposes "a state with limited arms." As a compromise, I suggest
calling it a "non-militarized state."
This will be consistent with the fact that in addition
to a strong Palestinian security force, Palestine will have an international
force for border security and deterrent purposes.
The general principle is that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish
ones are Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge the
two sides to work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both sides.
Regarding the Haram\Temple
Mount, I believe that the gaps are not related to practical administration
but to symbolic issues of sovereignty and to finding a way to accord
respect to the religious beliefs of both sides.
I know you have been discussing a number of formulations.... I add
to these two additional formulations guaranteeing Palestinian effective
control over the Haram while respecting the conviction of the Jewish
People. Regarding either one of those two formulations will be international
monitoring to provide mutual confidence.
1. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty
over a) the Western Wall and the space sacred to Judaism of which
it is a part or b) the Western
Wall and the Holy of Holies of which it is a part.
There will be a firm commitment by both not to excavate beneath the
Haram or behind the Wall.
2. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli
sovereignty over the Western Wall and shared functional sovereignty
over the issue of excavation under the Haram and behind the Wall such
that mutual consent would be requested before any excavation can take
I sense that the differences are more relating to formulations and
less to what will happen on a practical level.
I believe that Israel is prepared to acknowledge the
moral and material suffering caused to the Palestinian people as a result
of the 1948 war and the
need to assist the international community in addressing the problem.
The fundamental gap is on how to handle the concept of the right of
return. I know the history of the issue and how hard it will be for
the Palestinian leadership to appear to be abandoning the principle.
The Israeli side could not accept any reference to a right of return
that would imply a right to immigrate to Israel in defiance of Israel's
sovereign policies and admission or that would threaten the Jewish character
of the state.
Any solution must address both needs.
The solution will have to be consistent with the two-state approach
- the state of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and
the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Under the two-state solution, the guiding principle should be that
the Palestinian state should be the focal point for the Palestinians
who choose to return to the area without ruling out that Israel will
accept some of these refugees.
I believe that we need to adopt a formulation on the right of return
that will make clear that there is no specific right of return to Israel
itself but that does not negate the aspiration of the Palestinian people
to return to the area.
I propose two alternatives:
1. Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return
to 'historic Palestine' or
2. Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return
to their homeland.
The agreement will define the implementation of this general right
in a way that is consistent with the two-state solution. It would list
the five possible homes for the refugees:
1. The State of Palestine
2. Areas in Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land swap
3. Rehabilitation in host country
4. Resettlement in third country
5. Admission to Israel
In listing these options, the agreement will make clear that the return
to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and area acquired in the land swap would
be right to all Palestinian refugees, while rehabilitation in host countries,
resettlement in third countries and absorption into Israel will depend
upon the policies of those countries.
Israel could indicate in the agreement that it intends to establish
a policy so that some the refugees would be absorbed into Israel consistent
with Israeli sovereign decision.
I believe that priority should be given to the refugee population in Lebanon.
The parties would agree that this implements Resolution 194.
The End of Conflict
I propose that the agreement clearly mark the end
of the conflict and its implementation put an end to all claims. This
could be implemented through a UN Security Council Resolution that notes
that resolutions 242 and 338 have been implemented
and through the release of Palestinian prisoners.
of Foreign Affairs