By Ted Belman
In 1993 Israel signed the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements which was just that. It began,
The Government of the State of Israel and the P.L.O. team (in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference) (the “Palestinian Delegation”), representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process.
Notice that the Arabs are referred to as “the Palestinian people”.
- Under the DOP, the permanent status will take effect 5 years after the implementation of the Gaza-Jericho agreement, namely May 1999.
The principles laid out were antithetical to the provisions of the P.L.O. Charter which denied the existence of the Jewish people and denied their connection to the land and denied the validity of the State of Israel and even the Balfour Declaration. So Rabin demand that Arafat deliver a letter in which he promised to amend
In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, 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and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid.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.
Unfortunately those articles were never expunged and the PLO continues to embrace the total rejection of Jews and Israel. This should have to be considered a fundamental breach, nullifying the agreement. The same must be said by the continued resort to violence and incitement by the Arabs.
On October 5, 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin addressed The Knesset asking for Ratification of the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement.
He started out identifying what conditions would govern the interim period and what Israel’s goals are for the permanent agreement.
However, we did not return to an empty land.
OUCH. Not true.
We can continue to fight. We can continue to kill — and continue to be killed. But we can also try to put a stop to this never-ending cycle of blood. We can also give peace a chance.
The Government chose to give peace a chance
Then he set out what the goals were,
We are striving for a permanent solution to the unending bloody conflict between us and the Palestinians and the Arab states.
In the framework of the permanent solution, we aspire to reach, first and foremost, the State of Israel as a Jewish state, at least 80% of whose citizens will be, and are, Jews.
At the same time, we also promise that the non-Jewish citizens of Israel — Muslim, Christian, Druze and others — will enjoy full personal, religious and civil rights, like those of any Israeli citizen. Judaism and racism are diametrically opposed.
We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
[Note, he allowed for an entity and not a state and he referred only to Palestinians currently in the land thereby excluding refugees outside the land.]
We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.
And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution:
A. First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev — as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.
B. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.
C. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the “Green Line,” prior to the Six Day War.
D. The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.
Sounds good enough, except there were no guarantees that the goals would be achieved.
With respect to the permanent agreement, this agreement provided,
1. “Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than May 4, 1996, and will end no later than May 4,1999, between the Parties. It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other negotiations, and other issues of common interest.” [..]
2. “Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice or preempt the outcome of the negotiations on the permanent status to be conducted pursuant to the DOP. Neither Party shall be deemed, by virtue of having entered into this Agreement, to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims. or positions.”
“Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent solution negotiations.”
I want to remind you: we committed ourselves, that is, we came to an agreement, and committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.
The interim period was supposed to end in 1999 so it was realistic to provide that no one should take any step that would change the status. But it wasn’t realistic that such would be the case after the deadline. Rabin reminded the Knesset about Israel’s agreement regarding settlement construction. The settlement blocs in the expanded Jerusalem were not considered settlements.
It is outrageous that the PA and Obama would now demand a settlement freeze which flies in the face of this agreement. Having done so I submit that Israel is no longer bound by it. Build, baby, build.
We are now faced with the situation that the permanent agreement is not attainable after 15 years of trying. Thus the agreement has been frustrated and is no longer binding or shouldn’t be.
The PA is now looking to abandon the agreement and promote their Plan B to get the UN to provide for what they couldn’t get in negotiations. It is time that Israel also invoked their Plan B to achieve the goals which Rabin set out above.
Even if negotiations were taking place, Israel would have no obligation to abandon its goals. In fact they can treat them as non negotiable. The PA has managed to have their goals predominate so that the process is about shaving a few percent off the 100% they demand. Given that we are in control, we should insist in a paradigm change such that the negotiations focus on our goals and with the Arab attempting to shave off a little bit from them.