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
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
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
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
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.
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.