T. Belman. Israel’s rights to all the land west of the Jordan River have been compromised by the Oslo Accords. Israel has agreed, that notwithstanding such rights, she will negotiate a settlement with the PA whereby they get an autonomous region with the boundaries to be negotiated. This is yet another reason to terminate the Accords.
Another reason for the neglect of our rights from San Remo is that it would make it harder for the left to achieve their vaunted TSS. What’s Bibi’s excuse?
Hopefully this government will reclaim our legal right to all the land.
If the Accords are terminated so is the obligation to negotiate.
By Ted Belman
Dozens of Knesset Members wrote a scathing letter to EU’s top officials accusing them of animus against Jews and Israel in light of leaked program on Area C,
Lazar Berman wrote a detailed article on the letter which was published by Times of Israel on Dec 21/22. It contained this gem;
Area C, which is the only contiguous section of the West Bank and contains the most fertile land and valuable natural resources, was supposed to be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction, according to the accords, but that has not happened.
This statement is misleading to say the least. Yes it was supposed to be “gradually transferred” but such requirement had many limitations.
The Oslo Interim Accords provide:
”Area C means areas of the West Bank outside Areas A and B, which, except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in accordance with this Agreement.”
The issues that will be negotiated, according to Article XVII.1, are:
“Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis; and … powers and responsibilities not transferred to the Council.”
The preamble to the Interim Agreement provides;
“Recognizing that the aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations [..], leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338;
Reaffirming [..] that the negotiations on the permanent status, [..] will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,[,,]”
Berman says “Area C….was supposed to be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction”. The Accords say “Area C, … except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in accordance with this Agreement.”
Nowhere in the Accords does it say that all of Area C was to be gradually transferred. In fact the obligation to withdraw from C is limited by the terms of Oslo.
Remember that “negotiations for final status ” were to be based on Res 224 and Res 338. The key things to be negotiated were “secure and recognized boundaries” and the nature of the Palestinian autonomy. These resolutions did not require Israel to withdraw from “all” the territories. Thus Israel is entitled to insist on retaining all of Area C.
I have often wondered why Res 242 stipulated “secure and recognized boundaries” rather than “secure and recognized borders”. Do boundaries mean something different than borders?
Nowhere did the Accords say what the boundaries would be nor what was to be the disposition of Area C. That’s to be negotiated.
Having said all that, I must admit that the Accords are not explicit enough. In fact they are confusing except for the bottom line which I have stressed.
As for the actions of the EU and the PA including but not limited to their violation of Area C, it is time for Israel to terminate the Oslo Accords.. Contract law permits a party to an agreement or contract to terminate the same unilaterally if the other side has fundamentally breached it..
On May 19/20, President Mahmoud Abbas declared (Ramallah Declaration) an end to the agreements and understandings.
“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,”
He did so because the Israeli government coalition agreement at the time, stated that “the Prime Minister will be able to bring the agreement that was reached with the United States on applying sovereignty starting on 1 July 2020 to the Cabinet and the Knesset,‘”. This was during the Trump administration. The fact that Israel didn’t follow up with applying sovereignty is neither here nor there, It only announced an intention to do so.. That was breach enough. Once terminated, it can not unilaterally be restored by the PA.
The soon to be installed Israeli government is sure to extend sovereignty over some of Area C. An uproar is sure to follow.
Israel, on the other hand, could terminate the Accords if they still exist, for any of the following fundamental breaches:
- The Ramallah Declaration,
- The PA has continually defaulted in its obligation to prevent hostile acts: “Both sides shall take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against each other, against individuals falling under the other’s authority and against their property, and shall take legal measures against offenders”. (Article XV)
- A condition precedent to Israel’s signing of the Oslo Accords was the commitment set out in a 1993 letter from Chairman Arafat to Prime Minister Rabin: “The signing of the Declaration of Principlesmarks a new era…I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments: The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The PLO commits itself…to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations…the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators…the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.” Virtually everything in this letter has been violated.
- The US and the USSR both signed the agreement signifying their support but the US has done its utmost to force the Two State Solution on Israel which flies in the face of the fundamental principle of the Accords, namely, that the parties themselves are to freely negotiate a final settlement in accordance with Res 242 and Res 338.
The Brookings Institute once contemplated the costs of termination:
“Cancelling the Oslo Accords would effectively remove the legal justification for the PA. Quite simply, it would mean dismantling the PA, laying off its employees, ending international funding, and nullifying the economic agreements between the PA and Israel as well as between the PA and many other countries around the world. It would also mean an end to security coordination between Israel and the PA, which would facilitate the return of the Israeli military to parts of the West Bank designated as Area “A.” This would certainly lead to another intifada. Such an uprising would, in all likelihood, turn violent, given the enormous amount of weapons currently held by PA police and security personnel; and there would be no guarantee that these weapons would be kept out of the hands of the militant groups in the West Bank.”
Yes it could but wouldn’t necessarily result in all the things enumerated. The Palestinians and Israel could re-negotiate an arrangement that suited them both. This is what the Jordan Option envisages.
In my article, Since when did the Palestinians become entitled to a state? I quoted from the Reagan Plan which was American policy pre- Oslo and set out in a speech by Reagan:
I want to make the American position clearly understood: the purpose of this transition period is the peaceful and orderly transfer of domestic authority from Israel to the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time, such a transfer must not interfere with Israel’s security requirements.
Beyond the transition period, as we look to the future of the West Bank and Gaza, it is clear to me that peace cannot be achieved by the formation of an independent Palestinian state in those territories. Nor is it achievable on the basis of Israeli sovereignty or permanent control over the West Bank and Gaza.
So the United States will not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and we will not support annexation or permanent control by Israel.
There is, however, another way to peace. The final status of these lands must, of course, be reached through the give-and-take of negotiations; but it is the firm view of the United States that self-government by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan offers the best chance for a durable, just and lasting peace.
We base our approach squarely on the principle that the Arab-Israeli conflict should be resolved through the negotiations involving an exchange of territory for peace. This exchange is enshrined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which is, in turn, incorporated in all its parts in the Camp David agreements. U.N. Resolution 242 remains wholly valid as the foundation-stone of America’s Middle East peace effort.
It is the United States’ position that – in return for peace – the withdrawal provision of Resolution 242 applies to all fronts, including the West Bank and Gaza.
When the border is negotiated between Jordan and Israel, our view on the extent to which Israel should be asked to give up territory will be heavily affected by the extent of true peace and normalization and the security arrangements offered in return.
Finally, we remain convinced that Jerusalem must remain undivided, but its final status should be decided through negotiations.
In the course of the negotiations to come, the United States will support positions that seem to us fair and reasonable compromises and likely to promote a sound agreement. We will also put forward our own detailed proposals when we believe they can be helpful. And, make no mistake, the United States will oppose any proposal -from any party and at any point in the negotiating process – that threatens the security of Israel. America’s commitment to the security of Israel is ironclad. And I might add, so is mine.
Forty years latter, The Reagan Plan will be followed in the Jordan Option.