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Summary of the Palestinian Positions
  • The Palestine Liberation Organization's position regarding the issue of borders is straightforward: the international borders between the States of Palestine and Israel shall be the armistice cease-fire lines in effect on June 4, 1967. Both states shall be entitled to live in peace and security within these recognized borders.

    • The primary bases for this Palestinian position are:

    • United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and calls for the withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war; and

    • the internationally recognized Palestinian right to self-determination.

  • The West Bank and the Gaza Strip together constitute only 22% of historic Palestine. The PLO's acceptance of the June 4, 1967 borders represents an extraordinary compromise. Any further Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory will not only result in widespread disillusionment and disaffection, but will also diminish the viability of Palestinian statehood.


  • By virtue of their right to self-determination, the Palestinian people possess sovereignty over the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip and, accordingly, have the right to establish an independent State on that territory.

  • The decision of when to declare that state and what the institutions of that state will be is a decision that rests solely with the Palestinian people. The PLO, as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, is the vehicle through which they express their political decisions.

  • While Israel has exercised control over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 war, the international community regards Israel as a belligerent occupant with no rights to the territory.


  • As stated in the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, Jerusalem (and not merely East Jerusalem) is the subject of permanent status negotiations. As part of the territory occupied in 1967, East Jerusalem is subject to United Nations Security Council 242. It is part of the territory over which the Palestinian state shall exercise sovereignty upon its establishment. The State of Palestine shall declare Jerusalem as its capital.

  • Jerusalem should be an open city. Within Jerusalem, irrespective of the resolution of the question of sovereignty, there should be no physical partition that would prevent the free circulation of persons within it. As to sites of religious significance, most of which are located within the Old City in East Jerusalem, Palestine shall be committed to guaranteeing freedom of worship and access there. Palestine will take all possible measures to protect such sites and preserve their dignity.


  • Settlements are illegal and must be dismantled.

  • The corollary of the prohibition against the acquisition of territory by force is the Fourth Geneva Convention's stipulation against settling civilians of an occupying power in occupied territories. Israel sought to consolidate its acquisition of the occupied territories by settling large numbers of its civilians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, thereby creating "facts on the ground." In United Nations Security Council Resolution 465 (1980), the Security Council demanded that Israel "dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction of planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem."

  • Israeli settlements geographically fragment the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and thus undermine the viability of Palestinian statehood. Israeli settlements also place intolerable burdens on Palestinian movement and development, in significant part by depriving the Palestinian people of important land and water resources. Israel has created two sets of law in the occupied territories-one for settlers and one for Palestinians-thereby institutionalizing discrimination.


  • Every Palestinian refugee has the right to return to his or her home. Every Palestinian refugee also has the right to compensation for their losses arising from their dispossession and displacement.

  • The Palestinian position on refugees is based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948), calling for the return of the refugees and their compensation. Resolution 194 was affirmed practically every year since with almost universal acceptance-the one consistent exception being Israel.

  • The Palestinian side proposes to develop, in coordination with the relevant parties, a detailed repatriation plan that includes the modalities, timetables and numbers for a phased return of the refugees. This plan must ensure the safety and dignity of return in accordance with international human rights norms.


  • Palestinian sovereignty over the territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has direct implications for Palestinian sovereign rights to natural resources. In the case of water, the State of Palestine is entitled to an equitable and reasonable share of international aquifers in the West Bank and the Jordan River, and to sole control over water systems located wholly within Palestinian borders.

  • During its occupation, Israel tightly controlled Palestinian access to water, while allocating the lion's share of high-quality water to Israelis, including settlers. Currently, Israelis consume three to four times as much water as Palestinians do per capita. Palestine needs its rightful share of water to provide for the drinking and sanitation needs of a growing Palestinian population and to allow our agricultural sector to achieve its full potential.


  • The PLO seeks to structure security relations between the States of Palestine and Israel in ways that will: promote good neighborly relations between the States, provide effective responses to specific threats, create mechanisms for ongoing cooperation, and show due regard for international human rights standards.

  • Security relations between the states of Palestine and Israel must be structured to reflect not only the security concerns of the Israeli people, but also the rights and interests of the Palestinian people. In particular, no security relations should prejudice or undermine Palestinian sovereignty and control over our territory.

      Relations with Neighbors:

  • The State of Palestine as a sovereign state has the right independently to define and conduct its foreign relations. The PLO will nevertheless seek to promote cooperation among Israel, Palestine, and neighboring States in fields of common interest. In order to promote cooperation among Israel, Palestine, and neighboring States, Palestine will seek cooperation in numerous fields, including: agriculture, and marine matters, arms control, communications, crime prevention, culture, economic relations, energy, environment, exploitation of natural resources, health, security, social security and welfare, sports, tourism and transportation.

2005 Palestinian American Council