Protocol Concerning Safe Passage between the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip
(October 5, 1999)
A. Pursuant to the Wye River
Memorandum of October 23, 1998 and the Sharm
el-Sheikh Memorandum on Implementation Timeline of Outstanding
Commitments of Agreements Signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status
Negotiations of September 4, 1999; and
In accordance with the Israeli-Palestinian
Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in
Washington, D.C. on September 28, 1995 (hereinafter "the
With a view to implement Article X and
the other related provisions of Annex I to the Agreement "Protocol
Concerning Redeployment and Security Arrangements" (hereinafter
both sides hereby agree to the following "Protocol Concerning Safe
Passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" (hereinafter the
B. This Protocol establishes the modalities for the use of safe passage.
The arrangements set out in this Protocol are subject to the Agreement and
are not in any way intended to derogate from any of its provisions,
including, inter alia, the provisions of the Agreement regarding passage
between the West Bank and Israel, between the Gaza Strip and Israel and
between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
C. This Protocol may be amended by a decision of both sides.
D. This Protocol will come into force upon the signing thereof by both
E. This Preamble is an integral part of this Protocol.
2. General Provisions
A. Article X of Annex I, and the attached map No. 6 delineate
two routes through which Israel will make safe passage available.
- Israel will ensure safe passage for persons and transportation during
daylight hours (from sunrise to sunset) or as otherwise agreed, but in any
event not less than 10 hours a day.
- Travelers will be required to commence their journey as follows,
- one and a half hours for travelers using private vehicles and taxis;
- two hours for commercial traffic and buses,
before sunset on the day of the journey.
- Safe passage will be effected by means of privately owned road vehicles
and public transportation, as detailed in paragraph 5 below.
- Safe passage shall be via the following designated crossing points:
- the Erez crossing point (for persons and vehicles only);
- the Karni crossing point (Commercial) (for goods only);
- the Tarkumya crossing point (for persons, vehicles and goods); and
- an additional crossing point around Mevo Horon.
- The safe passage arrangements will not be available on Yom Kippur,
Israel's Memorial Day and Israel's Independence Day.
- Both sides may make special arrangements for other designated days, as
agreed between them.
E. Israel shall signpost the safe passage routes clearly and shall take
all necessary measures to ensure smooth movement while preserving safety
and security on the route or routes in use on any specific day.
F. Except as provided in paragraph 3.H.2 below, the use of safe passage
by residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not afford them
license to be present in Israel except along the safe passage routes
designated for their use.
G. Israel may, for security or safety reasons, temporarily halt the
operation of a safe passage route or modify the passage arrangements while
ensuring that one of the routes is kept open for safe passage. Notice of
such temporary closure or modification shall be given to the Palestinian
side, through agreed channels, as far in advance as the circumstances will
H. Israel may deny the use of its territory for safe passage by persons
who have seriously or repeatedly violated the safe passage provisions
detailed in this Protocol or in the Agreement. Israel will notify the
Palestinian side, through agreed channels, of any decision to deny the use
of its territory as a result of such violations. The notification shall
include details of the violations giving rise to the denial. The individual
in question shall have the right to request, through the Palestinian side,
that Israel reconsider its decision.
I. Nothing in this Protocol will be construed as derogating from
Israel's right to apply inspection measures necessary for ensuring security
and safety at the crossing points of the safe passage. Maximum efforts will
be made to maintain the dignity of persons using safe passage and to
implement inspection measures relying heavily on brief and modern
J. Israel shall notify the Palestinian side of incidents involving
persons using safe passage routes through the agreed channels.
K. It is understood that the safe passage shall be operated on a
cost-reimbursement basis, in accordance with an agreement on the modalities
to be reached in the Joint Economic Committee.
L. Israel shall be compensated for damages incurred by Israel, Israelis
or their property as a result of the use of safe passage, in accordance
with an agreement on the modalities to be reached in the Joint Economic
3. Use of Safe Passage
A. Residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip wishing to make use of
safe passage shall arrive with a safe passage card at the safe passage
terminal at one of the crossing points specified at paragraph 2.C.2 above,
where they will identify themselves by means of identification documents as
mentioned in paragraph 6, Article 28, Appendix 1, Annex III to the
B. After identification at the terminal, and after the validity check of
the safe passage card, travelers will be issued with safe passage slips
subject to the provisions of this Protocol and the Agreement, except for
persons provided for in paragraph 2.H above and paragraph 6 below.
D. A safe passage card shall be valid for one year for multiple two-way
journeys on the safe passage routes. Travelers can only use safe passage
within the operation time as provided for in paragraphs 2.B.1 and 2.B.2
- The Palestinian side shall transfer to the Israeli side all
applications for safe passage cards, after initial Palestinian security
approval. The applications shall be in accordance with the agreed
procedures (including the submission of all required information as well as
two updated photographs).
- The Israeli side shall respond to the applications within two working
days. It is agreed that in all cases in which the photographs submitted
with the application do not match the Israeli database, or in which the
photograph of the individual does not appear in the Israeli database, the
application shall not be processed and shall be returned to the Palestinian
- Safe passage cards shall be issued in the relevant Israeli District
Civil Liaison Office (DCL) in the West Bank or in the Regional Civil
Affairs Subcommittee (RCAC) in the Gaza Strip.
- On-duty Palestinian policemen and minors under age 14, traveling in
accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 7 and 3.I below, respectively,
shall not be required to receive a safe passage card for the use of safe
- Men over 50 and women shall generally receive their safe passage cards
through the Palestinian side, except for special cases. The Israeli side
will make all efforts to minimize such exceptions.
- In light of the special nature of the safe passage, those persons whose
applications for safe passage have been approved shall receive from the
Israeli side their safe passage cards at the Israeli side of the District
Coordination Offices (DCOs). An unarmed civilian Palestinian liaison
officer shall be present throughout all stages of this process. Receipt of
the safe passage card shall be contingent on the individual being
definitively identified by the Israeli side, using the best available
methods (including, in the near future, biometric information), as agreed
upon by the two sides.
E. Upon completion of the journey, the safe passage slips and safe
passage stickers shall be returned to the Israeli authorities at the
destination crossing point.
F. Residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in possession of
permits enabling them to enter Israel will be able to use these permits as
safe passage cards, subject to the conditions of such permits and to the
modalities set out in this Protocol.
- Individual safe passage slips will be issued and stamped by the Israeli
authorities at the crossing points, with the time of departure from the
crossing point and the estimated time of arrival (hereinafter "the
- The designated time shall enable completion of the journey within a
- Persons and vehicles using safe passage under these arrangements shall
neither break their journey nor depart from the designated routes, and
shall complete the passage within the designated time, unless a delay is
caused by a medical emergency or a technical breakdown.
- Notwithstanding paragraph 3.H.1 above, in the case of a medical
emergency travelers may drive directly to the nearest hospital or first aid
station. Such travelers will be required to report the incident to the
relevant authorities at the destination crossing point as soon as
- In the case of a technical breakdown, travelers must remain on the safe
passage route with their vehicles until the arrival of the Israeli police
and follow their instructions. In addition, travelers may stop another
vehicle using safe passage and request the driver to inform the authorities
at the destination crossing point of the case.
J. Persons and vehicles shall not carry explosives, firearms or other
weapons or ammunition except for special cases that may be agreed by both
sides. Transportation of dangerous substances shall be in accordance with
the provisions of the Agreement.
- Minors under the age of 16 who are accompanied by a parent and
registered in the identity card of that parent will not be required to
carry individual safe passage cards.
- Such minors shall identify themselves via the identity card of the
- Minors who are not accompanied by a parent may also use safe passage
without carrying a safe passage card provided that:
- they are under the age of 14; and
- they are accompanied by an adult (18 or over).
- Such minors shall identify themselves by means of a birth certificate
or a certified copy of the parent's identity card in which they are
4. Use of Safe Passage Routes by Visitors from Abroad
A. Provisions of the Agreement and this Protocol regarding the use of
safe passage will apply to visitors to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
from abroad, without derogating from the provisions of the Agreement
B. Visitors will identify themselves by means of: (i) valid visitors'
permits; and (ii) passports or travel documents when using the safe
5. Use of Vehicles on Safe Passage Routes
- Residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip wishing to use their
privately owned vehicles to travel along the safe passage shall apply for a
vehicle safe passage permit through the Palestinian side. The Israeli side
shall respond to such applications within five working days. Such
applications shall include the identification documents referred to in
paragraph 3.A above; safe passage cards or permits enabling them entry into
Israel; valid drivers' licenses; valid vehicle licenses; and valid
insurance policies. The vehicle safe passage permits shall be issued in the
relevant Israeli DCL in the West Bank or in the RCAC in the Gaza Strip and
transferred to the Palestinian side.
- In addition to the above, the two sides may agree on specific
categories or persons who may use a vehicle not owned by them. Such
categories include, inter alia: (i) persons employed by the Palestinian
Authority driving a vehicle owned by the Palestinian Authority; (ii)
persons employed by a private company driving a vehicle owned by the
private company; and (iii) taxi drivers (only one designated driver per
taxi). In such cases, in addition to all other requirements of this
Protocol, the person shall be required to possess and submit a written
permit signed by the Palestinian side and by the vehicle-owner authorizing
that person's use of the vehicle for safe passage.
C. Residents of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip in possession of valid
permits enabling them to enter Israel with their vehicles, will be able to
use these permits as vehicle safe passage permits, subject to the
conditions of such permits and to the modalities set out in this Protocol.
- On the day of the journey, the drivers will arrive at the safe passage
terminal at the departure crossing point with their vehicle safe passage
permits; safe passage cards or permits enabling them entry into Israel;
identity cards; valid drivers' licenses; valid vehicle licenses; valid
insurance policies; and, if applicable, the permit referred to in paragraph
5.A.2 above. After identification, and after the validity check of the
vehicle safe passage permit, drivers will be issued with an individual safe
passage slip and a safe passage sticker, to be displayed on the right-hand
side of the front windshield of the vehicle.
- The names of all passengers traveling in the vehicle shall be listed on
a separate document to be attached to the driver's safe passage slip.
- Persons listed as travelers in a particular vehicle must remain with
the vehicle for the full duration of their safe passage journey, except for
the medical emergencies provided for in paragraph 3.H.2 above.
E. All vehicles used by residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for
the purpose of traveling via safe passage must have valid licensing in
accordance with Article 38, Appendix 1, Annex III to the Agreement and at
least valid compulsory insurance policies, in accordance with Article 19,
Appendix 1, Annex III to the Agreement, and Article XI, Annex V to the
- Vehicle safe passage permits shall be valid for not less than three
months from the date of issuance, for multiple two-way journeys.
- Certain persons who are acceptable to both sides will be issued vehicle
safe passage permits, the validity of which shall be for more than the
period specified in paragraph 5.D.1 above and up to one year. Such permits
shall be issued provided that the Joint Civil Affairs Coordination and
Cooperation Committee (CAC) had applied for them through the relevant DCL
in the West Bank or the RCAC in the Gaza Strip.
F. All vehicles used for the purpose of safe passage shall meet Israeli
standards and applicable Israeli law.
H. In special emergency related cases, to be handled through agreed
channels, safe passage may be used by privately owned vehicles without
having submitted an application in advance.
- "Sterile" public transportation vehicles shall operate
between Tarkumya and Erez crossing points.
- The public transportation vehicles will be designated for the purpose
of safe passage only.
- The public transportation vehicles as well as their drivers should be
acceptable to both sides.
6. Use of Safe Passage by Persons Denied Entry into Israel
A. Persons who are denied entry into Israel will use safe passage by
means of shuttle buses which will he escorted by Israeli security forces
vehicles, and which will operate from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Mondays and
Wednesdays of every week.
B. Applications by persons denied entry into Israel to use the safe
passage must be submitted to, and agreed upon, at least five working days
prior to the planned journey.
C. Cases of persons denied entry into Israel whose applications to use
safe passage are not agreed upon shall he discussed in the agreed channels.
- Persons denied entry into Israel who have used the safe passage will be
able to return that same day to their original point of departure via the
mechanism established in paragraph 6.A above.
- Persons denied entry into Israel and who have used the safe passage
will be able to return to their original point of departure by shuttle bus
within two weeks following the date of departure with notification through
the agreed channels at least 1 working day prior to the planned journey.
- Persons denied entry into Israel and who have stayed for a period in
excess of that specified in paragraph 6.D.2 above, will be required to
submit applications as provided for in paragraph 6.B above.
- The aforementioned shuttle buses shall have Palestinian registration
and shall be driven by Palestinian residents.
- The aforementioned shuttle buses as well as their drivers should be
acceptable to both sides.
7. Passage of Palestinian Police
A. In accordance with paragraph 2.g, Article X of Annex I, uniformed and
plainclothes Palestinian policemen required to use the safe passage so as
to perform their duty in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or Palestinian
policemen other than in instances covered by paragraph 7.E below, using
privately owned vehicles, official vehicles or other means of
transportation, will be able to use the safe passage after the Palestinian
police has submitted an application and after that application was
approved, through the relevant DCO two working days prior to the planned
B. Palestinian policemen provided for in paragraph 7.A above and
Palestinian police vehicles and equipment moving between the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip via safe passage shall be escorted by Israeli security
C. When in safe passage, the weapons of the Palestinian policemen will
be handed over to the Israeli police and placed in a closed trailer affixed
to the Israel police vehicle. A Palestinian policeman may travel in the
aforementioned Israeli police vehicle. The vehicle shall be driven by a
member of the Israeli police. Upon completion of the safe passage journey
the weapons shall be handed over to the Palestinian officer in charge in
D. Cases of usage of safe passage by Palestinian policemen requiring
special attention and arrangements will be dealt with and coordinated
through the Joint Coordination and Cooperation Committee for Mutual
Security Purposes (JSC).
E. The provisions set out in this Protocol and in the Agreement relating
to regular persons will apply to Palestinian policemen using safe passage
when off duty. Such policemen may only use safe passage when unarmed and
out of uniform.
8. Use of Safe Passage for Commercial Traffic
A. Goods transferred to or from the Gaza Strip via the safe passage will
enter or leave the Gaza Strip through the Karni (Commercial) crossing
B. Commercial vehicles carrying goods from the West Bank to the Gaza
Strip via safe passage will travel along the relevant safe passage route as
far as the Yad Mordechai Junction, and from there branch off to Karni as
indicated on Map No. 6 (attached to the Agreement). Commercial vehicles
carrying goods from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank will follow the same
routes in reverse.
C. All provisions of this Protocol and the Agreement relating to use of
vehicles on safe passage routes shall apply to the use of commercial
D. The provisions in this paragraph 8 shall not prejudice any other
mechanism established in the Agreement, or based on the Agreement, with
respect to passage of goods.
E. Further details concerning commercial traffic will be agreed upon in
a special sub-committee in the CAC. Until decided otherwise, the current
arrangements adopted by the CAC concerning commercial traffic shall remain
9. Future Meetings for Improving Operation of the Safe Passage
A Continuing Safe Passage Committee shall meet regularly to supervise
the implementation of this Protocol and to discuss ways to improve the safe
passage operation, as agreed between both sides.
10. Use of Safe Passage by the Ra'ees of the Executive Authority
Arrangements for the use of safe passage by the Ra'ees of the Executive
Authority shall be discussed in a special sub-committee through the JSC.
11. Final Clauses
A. Consistent with paragraph 6, Article XXXI of the Agreement, the
arrangements included in this Protocol are without prejudice to the
permanent status negotiations.
B. There shall be a Liaison Bureau at agreed locations close to each of
the safe passage crossing points. In addition, the Palestinian side shall
establish coordination points at agreed locations on the roads leading to
the crossing points. The function of the coordination points shall be to
ensure the smooth and orderly movement of persons and vehicles to the
crossing points, in accordance with their capacity.
C. In between the operation of the Southern crossing point of the safe
passage and the Northern crossing point of the safe passage, Israel will
facilitate arrangements for the movement between the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip, using non-safe passage routes other than the Southern route of the
Done at Jerusalem, this 5th day of October, 1999.