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Israeli notes from December 23 meeting with Clinton

graphic

In this story:

Territory

Security

Jerusalem

Refugees

End of conflict and finality of claims

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



An Israeli official confirmed to CNN State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel that the following is the content of Israeli notes from a December 23 meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton. At that meeting, Clinton outlined ideas to help Palestinians and Israelis return to the negotiating table. Following are those notes.

Territory

Based on what the president heard, he believes that a fair solution would be in the mid-90s -- i.e., 94 to 96 percent of West Bank territory to the Palestinian State.

The land annexed by Israel should be compensated by a land swap of 1 to 3 percent, in addition to the arrangements, e.g., Permanent Safe Passage. The parties also should consider the swap of leased land to meet their respective needs. There are creative ways of doing this that could address Israeli or Palestinian issues or concerns.

The president thought that the parties should develop a map consistent with the criteria: 80 percent of settlers in blocks of settlements, contiguity, minimum annexation of territory to Israel, minimum number of Palestinians to be affected by the annexation.

Security

The president believes that the key lies in international presence, that would only be withdrawn by mutual consent. This presence would also monitor the implementation of the agreement by both sides.

It is the president's best judgment that the Israeli withdrawal should be phased over 36 months, while the international force is gradually introduced into the area.

At the end of this period a small Israeli presence would remain in specified military locations in the Jordan Valley under the authority of the international force for another 36 months. This period could be reduced in the event of favorable regional developments that would diminish the threat to Israel.

Early Warning Stations -- Israel should maintain three facilities in the West Bank with Palestinian liaison presence. The stations should be subject to review after 10 years, with any change in status to be mutually agreed.

Emergency Deployment areas -- The president understood that the parties still have to develop maps of relevant areas and routes.

Emergency means the imminent and demonstrable threat to Israel's national security of a military nature that requires the activation of a national state of emergency. The international force would need to be notified of any such determination.

Airspace -- the State of Palestine would have sovereignty over the airspace but the two states should work out special arrangements for Israeli training and operational needs.

The president understood that the Israeli position is that Palestine should be defined as "demilitarized" while the Palestinian side proposed a "State of Limited Arms." As compromise the president suggests "non-militarized state." This would be consistent with the fact that in addition to a strong Palestinian security force, Palestine will have an international force for border security and deterrence and purposes.

Jerusalem and refugees: General

The president's sense was that remaining gaps would have more to do with formulation than with practical reality.

Jerusalem

What is Arab should be Palestinian and what is Jewish should be Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well.

The President urges the Parties to work on maps that would ensure maximum contiguity for both sides.

Haram (al-Sharif)-Temple Mount -- The gap is not related to practical administration but in the symbolic issues of sovereignty and to finding a way to accord respect to the religious beliefs of both sides.

The president knows that the parties discussed different formulations. He wanted to suggest two additional ones to formalize the Palestinian de-facto control over the Haram, while respecting the convictions of the Jewish people. With regard to either one, international monitoring to provide for mutual confidence:

1.Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall a) and the space sacred to Jews of which it is a part; or b) and the holy of holiest of which it is a part.

2. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall plus shared functional sovereignty over the issue of excavation under the Haram or behind the wall. That way mutual consent would be required before any excavation took place.

Refugees

The president believes that the differences are with formulating the solutions rather than with what would happen on the practical level.

Israel is prepared to acknowledge the moral and material suffering caused to the Palestinian people as a result of the 1948 war and the need to assist in the international community's effort in addressing the problem.

International commission to implement all aspects that flow from the agreement: compensation, resettlement, rehabilitation, etc. The U.S. is prepared to lead an international effort to help the refugees.

The fundamental gap -- how to handle the Right of Return (ROR). The president knows the history of the issue and how hard it is for the Palestinian leadership to appear to be abandoning this principle. At the same time, the Israeli side could not accept any reference to the ROR that would imply a right to immigrate to Israel in defiance of Israel's sovereign policy on admission or that would threaten the Jewish character of the state.

Any solution must address both needs and be consistent with the two-state approach that both sides have accepted as a way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and the State of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people.

In a two-state solution, the State of Palestine will be the focal point for Palestinians who choose to return to the area, without ruling out that Israel would accept some of these refugees.

The President believes that the Parties need to adopt a formulation on the ROR that will make clear that there is no specific ROR to Israel itself, but that does not negate the aspirations of the Palestinian people to return to the area.

In light of that, the president suggests the following two alternatives:

1 -- Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to historic Palestine;

2 -- Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland;

The agreement would define the implementation of this general right in a way that is consistent with the two-state solution. It will list the five possible final homes for the refugees: the State of Palestine, areas of Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land swap, rehabilitation in the host countries, resettlement in third countries and admission to Israel.

In listing these options the agreement would make clear that return to the West Bank and Gaza or the areas acquired through the land swap would be a right for all Palestinian refugees while rehabilitation in host countries, resettlement in third countries or absorption into Israel would depend upon the policies of these countries.

Israel could indicate in the agreement that it intended to establish a policy so that some of the refugees would be absorbed into Israel consistent with Israel's sovereign decision.

The president believes that priority should be given to the refugees in Lebanon.

The parties would agree that this implements UNGAR 194.

End of conflict and finality of claims

The president proposed that the agreement clearly marked the end of the conflict and its implementation put an end to all claims. This could be manifested through a UNSCR that notes that UNSCRs 242 and 338 have been implemented and through the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The president believes that this is the outline of a fair and lasting agreement. It gives the Palestinian people the ability to determine their future in their own land, a sovereign and viable state recognized by the international community; E1-Quds as its capital, sovereignty over the Haram and new lives to the refugees.

It gives people of Israel a genuine end of conflict, real security, the preservation of sacred religious ties, the incorporation of 80 percent of the settlers into Israel and the largest Jerusalem in history recognized by all as your capital.

Final comments

This is the best that the president can do. Brief the leaders and let the president know if they are prepared to come to discussion based on these ideas. If not, the president has taken it as far as he can. These are the ideas of the president. If they are not accepted, they are not just off the table; they go with the president as he leaves office.



RELATED STORIES:
Israeli envoy to present written reaction to peace proposal
January 4, 2001
Arafat hopes for peace deal before Clinton departs
January 4, 2001
White House: Talks with Arafat yield progress
January 3, 2001
Arafat meets Mubarak, will consult Arab ministers on U.S. peace proposals
January 3, 2001
Arafat concludes second meeting with Clinton
January 2, 2001
Clinton and Arafat to meet Tuesday to discuss framework for peace
January 1, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The White House
Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian Position on Clinton's Proposals 

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