SPECIALIZED SYMPOSIUM ON
“THE ROLE OF A THIRD PARTY”
A PALESTINIAN VISION OF THE ROLE OF A THIRD PARTY IN RESOLVING THE PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI CONFLICT
The failure of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in Camp David in summer 2000 and in Taba in 2001 led to the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada at the end of September 2000
The failure of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in Camp David in summer 2000 and in Taba in 2001 led to the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada at the end of September 2000. The turn of events confirms the inaccuracy of the conclusion that after Oslo and ten years of negotiations, peace has become a permanent choice to both nations and that its way is paved, albeit with difficulty. The falling of 3000 Palestinian martyrs, 900 killed Israelis and thousands of injured people on the both sides, indicates that the choice of going back to bloody conflict has remained looming in the minds of large groups in both societies. Clearly, the secret and open negotiations and the agreements reached by the two parties did not establish clear and firm principles towards a developed peace relationship. There are still on both sides those who have not learned lessons from the bitter conflict experience and still believe that the conflict can be settled by enforcing one’s position on the other.
After the rightists have won in Israel under the leadership of Sharon, the peace process has been suspended. The relationship between the two parties has become more complicated, the killings and destruction have increased. Those concerned with the peace process in the area started to look for solutions. Voices were heard, international and Israeli, confirming that both parties cannot alone solve the final phase issues. These include: Jerusalem, refugees, settlement, borders, water, security and future relations. The Palestinian, Israeli and international research centers have given the issue of seeking the help of a third party a special attention. Some experts on the conflict have called for imposing an international mandate on Palestine and full trusteeship over the Palestinians. This will help them to build a democratic viable state. However, Palestinian and Israeli voices were heard, on the other hand, refusing the idea of a third party presence completely and calling for conflict settlement by force.
Hence arises the question: is the role of a third party needed to resolve this conflict? Or is the current crisis a temporary one that can be surpassed without external intervention? If the presence of a third party is necessary, what is its mandate, role and size? Who will share in it …etc?
This paper looks for answers to some of these questions. It provides an unofficial Palestinian perspective that, to a large extent, expresses the majority’s opinion. It concentrates on the security-military aspects only regarding the role of a third party. This will be scrutinized under the following main headings:
First: Reviewing the role of a third party in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Second: The components of the Palestinian perspective for the third party forces.
Third: The tasks of third party forces.
Fourth: Organizing the work of third party forces.
Fifth: The justification and need for a third party forces presence.
Sixth: The Israeli attitude on the role of a third party forces.
Seventh: The mandate needed for third party forces.
REVIEWING THE ROLE OF A THIRD PARTY IN THE CONFLICT
The course of the Arab-Israeli conflict confirms that the idea of getting the assistance of a third party is not new and has been dwelt upon several times. The facts of ten years of negotiations, and more, have revealed the difficulty of resolving the conflict without the active intervention of a third party. Hence, reviewing the experience, learning lessons and examples contribute to reaching a successful role for this party.
Looking into the origins of the conflict reveals that a third party has contributed, more than a half century ago, in creating what is known as the Palestinian question. The Palestinians bear in mind a negative image on a third party role. This has started with the British role in their Nakbah “Catastrophe” in 1947-1948, and the establishment of the state of Israel on their land. It has ended with the failure of the American guardianship role in the Madrid peace process. The Palestinians also blame the US for the Arab defeat in June 1967 and Israel’s occupation of the rest of their land. They remember as well, the negative role of the international forces in Southern Lebanon between 1978-1982. Here they failed to prevent the Israeli aggression on the Palestinians and the Lebanese.
The Palestinians have not forgotten the failure of the multinational forces, under American command, in protecting the refugee camps in Lebanon during Israel’s invasion of Beirut in 1982. This includes their moral and political responsibility concerning the famous Sabra and Shatilla massacres. The Palestinians accuse the international community, the Security Council, the great powers and especially the United States for their negligence in solving their conflict and for their catastrophe’s continuity for more than a half century.
In spite of all that, the Palestinians believe that their conflict with Israel is complicated and there should be a third party to assist in reaching a solution. This third party might have to be enforced on both sides.
In the duration of half a century of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the role of a third party emerged several times and in different forms. After the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, Israel and the surrounding Arab governments (Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon) agreed to get the assistance of a limited number of armed observer forces. Its task was to monitor the truce agreement that Israel signed with each party alone. Following the tripartite aggression on Egypt by Britain, France and Israel in 1956, a large number of international forces were called for help. They monitored the cease-fire on the Egyptian-Israeli borders and ensured the freedom of navigation in the straits of Tiran in the Red Sea. This international force remained in its positions until June, 1967.
After the “Suez War” and the “October War of 1973”, small armed international forces were mobilized to verify the cease-fire on both the Syrian and Egyptian fronts. Also to implement the agreements signed by the parties. The international blue berets are still deployed on the two fronts and on the Lebanese-Israeli borders. Third party forces, under American command, have also been called for to implement the Camp David agreements between Egypt and Israel in 1979. These forces are still playing the role that the two parties have specified.
Following the massacre that the settler “Goldstein” had committed in Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1995, the Izhaq Rabin government accepted to call for a small group of observers. The force is unarmed and it uses the cameras and papers in observing the situation and recording incidents.
In May 2000, the then Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, asked the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, to provide international experts to help the Israeli army in re-marking the Israeli-Lebanese borders. They were also asked to help in endorsing the marks of pre-June 1967. Barak’s request received the American and international support in the UN and outside it. The Lebanese government also endorsed the idea and received Syrian and Arab full support.
Reviewing the peace process (1991-2003) reveals that it started under the auspices of a third party. This was represented by the role of the US and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union). The role of this party has been the subject of deliberation between the Palestinians and Israelis until the last round of negotiations in Taba. The Israeli side insisted on limiting the role of the third party in the American role alone and the successive American administrations have not involved any the other partner. It is worth-mentioning, as well, that the role of a third party has been mentioned on the basis in which the peace process has been formulated. The Oslo agreement has indicated, for example in Article XV that “The parties would agree to put forward the disputes that cannot be resolved through reconciliation for arbitration, and for this purpose, and by the concession of both parties, the parties will establish an arbitration committee”. In fact, the Clinton initiative which was submitted on 23 December, 2000 mentioned this subject. It mentioned that “the main principle in the international presence is that it cannot be withdrawn except by mutual agreement and this presence will also monitor the implementation of the agreement between the two sides”. However, Israel continued to refuse to seek the assistance of a third party for arbitration or separation of forces on the ground.
In addition to that, it would be difficult to find official documents that include a complete official Palestinian view on a third party role in dealing with the military-security aspect of the conflict. And it has never occurred during the course of the revolution (1965-1991) or the time of peace and negotiations (1991-2003) that Palestinian experts have developed such a view. The Palestinian leadership has reiterated the subject generally. More that often have the decisions of the Executive Committee of the PLO reflected the inclinations of both the National and Central Councils on the subject. These bodies have summarized the position in requesting the provision of international protection of, and calling for international observers to the Palestinian territory. This was done without specifying the observers’ identity, size and mandate terms.
THE COMPONENTS OF THE PALESTINIAN VISION
FOR THE THIRD PARTY FORCES
The Palestinians, both as individuals and groups, believe that their security is threatened by the occupation. It has been neglected for many years and it has rarely drawn earnest attention in the international forums and research centers specialized in the conflict. This has been always faced with an exaggerated interest in the Israeli security needs. Irrespective of the implicit political and historical reasons behind the reluctance of the international powers of treating the security concerns of the two peoples equally, the success of dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict requires the peace-makers to acknowledge the Palestinian security needs, too.
The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip believe that the presence of a third party forces on the ground contributes to securing those needs. It will also decrease the dangers that threaten both their present and future. They believe in the contribution of the third party in providing better life conditions and find a working mechanism to put an end to the threats they are facing. The Palestinians are aware of their capabilities within the international and regional circumstances surrounding the conflict. They know that they are not in a position to impose on anyone their conditions and modes concerning the military presence of the third party. Equally, they realize that assuring the Israeli citizen on security and future, strengthens the trend that believes in peace with the Arabs. It will weaken the extremist Israeli forces that object to the idea of a Palestinian state. Palestinians are convinced that the international presence will generate assurance to both sides.
The Palestinian leadership realizes that achieving a third party presence is subject to the approval of Israel, or by an American or international decision enforced on both parties. This will include the forces’ mandate, terms of reference, authorities, size and armament. The Palestinian request that those forces be established by an international decision binding to Israel and that these forces come soon, remains an unattainable illusion without the US acceptance and change of its blind support to Israel.
In the course of clarifying the vision of the Palestinian side and its understanding of seeking the assistance of a third party forces to deal with its historic conflict with the Israelis, we may confirm the following:
A. the Palestinians are the weaker element in the formula. They have been living for 36 years under an occupation with different modes. They need the assistance of others. They believe, in spite of their bitter experience, that activating the role of this party will ensure a certain level of security and tranquility. It will decrease their suffering and relieve them of fear, tyranny and subjugation. They see in the presence of a third party a practical and moral need and an assisting factor in neutralizing the military importance of the Palestinian territory. They are convinced that the un-intervention will complicate the conflict, nourish extremism, put the peace process astray and the death of the Palestinians and Israelis will continue.
B. The Palestinians will adhere to their position that the of the third party remains an assistance to the legitimate Palestinian leadership. It should not be parallel, or substitute, to it as is happening now in Iraq. However, they differ amongst themselves on the mandating or custodianship role of this party as experts on the region are calling for. Among these are Martin Indick, former American ambassador to Israel and former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami.
C. The Palestinians welcome a strong role for the third party in all the interim and final phases of the solution. These were specified in the Oslo agreement and in the “Road Map” which was formulated by the Quadripartite International Committee (the United States of America, Russia, the European Union, and the Secretary General of the United Nation). The “Road Map” was to express President Bush’s vision for the establishment of a Palestinian state beside the state of Israel in 2005.
D. The Palestinian side prefers the third party to be international forces formed by an international decision enforced on both parties. Preferably, the Security Council will be its direct reference in all aspects related to its formulation, presence, its nature of work and the kind of mandate given to it. This mandate should take into consideration the outrageous imbalance in the military power, for Israel’s favour, in the face of the Palestinians and the rest of all the Arabs.
E. The Palestinians accept, as well, that the forces of the third party be formed with the consent of Israel and to be multinational or only American. They do not object that its reference will be American, multinational or the Quadripartite International Committee. Furthermore, they welcome non-governmental international forces to work together with these forces, prior or after their arrival. The Palestinian side is also ready to deal with the third party forces without an agreement with the other party, i.e. Israel. They desire that these forces be formed as soon as possible with a vast, or a limited mandate.
F. The Palestinians hope that the role of the third party will not be confined to helping both parties inside negotiating rooms only. They see in its presence in the conflict field a pressing need. The Palestinians request that the third party’s presence will include all the Palestinian land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip occupied by Israel in 1967. This will cover areas “B” and “C” and the lands inside and outside the separation wall built by Israel. Its tasks will cover confrontation lines with the settlements and be positioned in designated and specific places that can be expanded gradually.
G. The Palestinian side prefers that their forces be deployed on both sides on the 1967 borders. However, the Palestinians do not object to their deployment on their side of the borders, if the Israelis insist on that. Their tasks should cover the borders, airspace and the Palestinian coastal waters.
H. The Palestinian side prefers that the third party forces be deployed all at once, and accepts its presence division and its gradual expansion like “Gaza and Bethlehem first”. The Palestinians also accept their presence to last for several years until the Palestinians get their freedom and independence and good neighborly relations established between both sides. They find it difficult to accept the third party presence only in the Gaza Strip. This is for psychological and moral reasons for fear of ending up with: “Gaza first and last”.
I. Considering the nature of the conflict, its regional dimensions and the length of borders between the two sides (approx. 350 kms) and the overlap of their positions emphasizes the need for having a sizeable armed force. If sizeable forces cannot be ensured, the Palestinian side accepts small groups of observers between the two levels. One should remember, however, the failure of the group of observers in Hebron in playing a real role in observing and monitoring. In addition, its failure in preventing aggression against civilians.
J. The Palestinians are sensitive as a result of the occupation’s measures especially the attempts to humiliate them. It is important for them that the third party deals with them truthfully, clearly and faithfully. Also to respect their national and personal pride. The Palestinian side gives concern that the third party forces stick to keeping working relations with the level agreed upon. Any such relations with a subordinate level must be with its knowledge and consent. The Palestinian side respects the channels of communication with the third party references.
K. The Palestinian side is interested in the efficiency of the third party forces and prefers that it has advanced expertise in the specific work areas. It wants a force that is present when there is a need and not after that. It wants to be informed immediately without delay. To remain in service and do not withdraw, except by mutual agreement and prior notice.
Hence, it is obvious to say that these Palestinians who support this attitude, are interested in the success of the third party forces in achieving their tasks. They care for the forces’ safety and security. The Palestinian authority might overburden this party by its daily concerns which might be outside its mandate.
The Palestinians hope that the third party will succeed, in the beginning of the 21st century in establishing a positive image that will eradicate the negative ones accumulated since 1947-48. What is at stake is to support the reality and help in the emancipation of an independent Palestinian State.
Will this dream become true after a delay of half a century? This is the question addressed to the international community. The Palestinian could be compared to doubting Thomas in that, he must see with his own eyes and feel with his hands.
THE TASKS OF THIRD PARTY FORCES
In the course of calming the situation and dealing with the conflict, the third party forces can perform a number of direct tasks and assist the two parties in different fields, such as:
1. Encouraging both the Palestinian and Israeli parties to acknowledge the mutual security fears and provide a force that will ensure in some way this concern. They will not allow one side to fulfill its special security needs at the expense of the other. Also to impose its supremacy on it and force the other side to accept what it is not satisfied with.
2. Assisting both parties to retrieve the lost confidence and encourage them to reinstate mutual security coordination. Also they will help both parties in formulating ways of practical cooperation. Assist, as well, in establishing a special system of coordination that will provide security for the two nations and ensure national pride to the Palestinian security forces. They will give both parties the needed time to develop this system and consolidate it.
3. Separating between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in all confrontation lines along the 1967 borders. The separation between the settlements and the Palestinian villages and cities, although there will be some overlap. To prevent land confiscation and monitor the freezing of settlements, vertically and horizontally.
4. Assisting the Palestinian authority and its security forces in eliminating three Israeli fears that pull Israelis in an opposite direction of peace. First: the fear that the Palestinian state, on the long run, will become a hostile state. That it will seek external forces hostile to Israel, together with the Palestinians in Israel to achieve ambitions in historic Palestine and bringing back the refugees to their homes. Secondly: the fear that a sudden attack will be launched by Arab armies (like what happened in October War of 1973) from the West Bank and Gaza. Thirdly: the continuation of the “terrorist” attacks that Palestinian extremists launch through Palestinian borders.
5. Supervising is required to the implementation of all security agreements that relate to issues of borders, land crossing points, sea ports, airports, airspace and coastal waters for the Palestinian State. This includes the early alarm stations deployed to monitor on a continuous basis. To make sure that the agreements are not breached by either party and the degree of abiding with all what has been agreed upon. To make available the manpower, with the technical expertise required. And also provide the advanced equipment needed to execute the tasks of controlling, monitoring and supervising these sensitive areas and positions.
6. Supervising the implementation of the interim period issues which have not been implemented or any other issues agreed upon. Also to prepare the forces and needed means to supervise the implementation of what will be agreed upon concerning the final solution issues. These include: the refugees, lands, borders, Jerusalem, water, settlement and future relations.
7. Monitoring Israel’s respect of the sanctity of Palestinian lands, airspace and water and never attack them. Also preventing strong Israel from reoccupying the lands of the Palestinian State after its establishment. The Palestinian side prefers that the forces’ mandate includes authority to use force, not only to protect themselves and their equipment, but also deterring any breach of the agreements.
8. Protecting the human rights and personal freedom of the Palestinian individual and preventing the occupation and the settlers from infringing upon them. Respecting the national laws, habits and customs. And never interfere in the Palestinian internal affairs not included in the mandate. Some of the Palestinians see that the third party be given also the right to interfere for protecting the citizens when there is a loose security case or a rise in aggression levels and internal terror.
9. Preventing the Israeli army, the settlers and extremists from executing terror actions against the Palestinians. Protecting the freedom of movement for the Palestinian and his right for work, assembly and demonstration. Providing him the tranquility to move and sleep without the fear of arrest, break-into and assassination. Also preventing house demolitions and land bulldozing.
10. Assisting the Palestinian security forces in fighting “terror forces” and curtailing their anti-peace inclinations. Measures are needed to preventing transforming the Palestinian lands into bases for launching hostile military operations against Israel.
11. Assisting the Palestinian security forces, centrally and in the areas, to execute security tasks. This is especially regarding collecting unlicensed arms and smuggling across the borders. Enforcing security within the Palestinian State borders. Preventing any form of incitement which leads to hatred and grudge between both populations and encourages aggressive actions against Israel and its citizens.
12. Contributing to protecting the public land, private ownership, culture and antiquities from theft, confiscation and damage. Protecting all what is above the Palestinian land and the natural wealth inside it. This includes preventing the occupation and the settlers from exploiting such resources.
13. Giving the Palestinian security forces the needed time to rebuild itself and rehabilitate the centers, cadres, and personnel. Assisting them in increasing their efficiency and providing them with the expertise available.
14. Leaving the issue of dealing with the Palestinian extremists, enemies of the peace process, for the Palestinian security forces. However, giving assistance to these forces upon request and within the limits of the mandate. This mandate should include the right of using force and available means to deter them when breaching the agreements or trying to enforce their positions on others.
15. Supervising the rented military bases, for a temporary period. Also preventing the Israeli side from launching from these bases operations that would infringe upon the Palestinian Sate supremacy and the integrity of its land.
16. Contributing for the provision of adequate circumstances for conducting legislative, presidential, local and trade union elections. Also assisting in protecting ballot boxes, the right of the nominees for election campaigns and the free movement of the electorate. This includes assisting the authority in conducting a final agreement referendum.
17. Assisting the Palestinian forces in protecting transportation lines and their control on land, sea and air crossing points. Also assisting them in controlling the entrance and exit movement, to and outside the Palestinian land.
18. Cooperating in executing the special security arrangements concerning general security in Jerusalem. Also guaranteeing free access to Palestinian citizens to this Holy City. This includes supervising the execution of the agreements concerning all holy sites.
19. Contributing to the freedom of movement of individuals and goods between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Also monitoring Israel’s respect of the agreements and the commitments concerning the safe corridor between the two areas.
20. Receiving mutual complaints and remarks and monitoring any breach of the Palestinian or Israeli internal fronts, such as recruiting agents or establishing cells among the Arab minority in Israel.
ORGANIZING THE WORK OF THIRD PARTY FORCES AND
ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TWO SIDES OF THE CONFLICT
Examining carefully the domain of the third party forces operations and the nature of the numerous and varied operations that it might undertake, confirm the need “from a Palestinian point of view” to a large number of forces. The size will not be less than six to seven military contingents. The number of each would be between six to seven thousand soldiers, officers and experts. It must have the mandate for free movement and operation in designated areas. The Palestinian side thinks that it should be armed with all kinds of weapons, except artillery, rockets and military fighters. However, it should be supported by a number of helicopters and military boats. This number might increase gradually if need be, but also can be decreased gradually with the progress of its accomplishment of tasks.
The position and deployment areas of third party forces (see appendices Nos. 1+2+3):
After agreeing on the tasks and authorities of the third party military forces in all areas, the command of these forces will deploy it in the positions designated according to agreed-upon maps. Both the Palestinian and Israeli sides have to facilitate the issue. Its deployment might take the following form:
– Contingent No. (1): its tasks will be centralized in East Jerusalem and its borders with Israel, according to the Palestinian definition. This will include the old city which contains the Dome of the Rock, and its yards, the Holy Sepulchre Church. Also the areas of Abu Dees, the Mount of Olives (Al Tour), Ras Al-Amoud and Shu’fat. It also includes the governorate of Bethlehem and its villages. Also the confrontation lines with the settlements inside and outside the municipality areas of both governorates, i.e. Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
– Contingent No. (2): it will consist of two contingents and will operate in Gaza city and all the villages and camps of the northern area in accordance with the mandate given. This will include Erez crossing point and land and sea border with Israel according to the maps of 1967. Also it will include the confrontation areas with the settlements.
– Contingent No (3): will be part of the third party force in the Gaza Strip. It will be deployed in the central and southern areas and its tasks will cover all the villages and camps of Deir Al-Balah and Rafah governorates. Also it will cover the land and sea Palestinian-Egyptian borders according to the 1967 maps. Also the land and see borders with Israel according to the same maps. Furthermore it will cover the confrontation lines with the settlements in this area. This contingent will establish a third party forces coordination office with Egypt and provide its equipment.
– Contingent No. (4): part of a third party force in the West Bank and Jerusalem which is comprised of five military contingents. It will be deployed in the central areas of the West Bank. It will cover Ramallah city and the villages and camps of the governorate. Also it will cover Jericho city and its camps and villages according to a Palestinian administrative division. It will be in line with the confrontation lines of both Jordan and Israel according to the 1967 maps, and the confrontation lines with the settlements in this area. One of its specific tasks will be the crossing point between the West Bank and Jordan.
– Contingent No. (5): will be deployed in the south of the West Bank, i.e. in Hebron and its districts: Yatta, Dura, Halhoul, and Al-Dhariya. It will cover also the borders with Israel in the area according to 1967 maps. Also will cover the confrontation lines with the settlements inside and outside the city. It will implement what is agreed upon concerning the Ibrahimi Mosque, as well.
– Contingent No. (6): will be deployed in the governorate and districts of northern-western West Bank. Its tasks will cover the governorate of Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, and the Salfit area. It will be positioned on the truce borders specified in the 1967 maps. Also it will be positioned on the confrontation lines with the settlements and settlers in this area.
– Contingent No (7): will be deployed in the governorates and districts of northern-eastern West Bank. It will cover the governorate of Jenin, the Toubas area, and the northern Jordan valley. It will be positioned on the armistice line designated in the 1967 maps and on the confrontation lines with the settlements in the area. In the framework of this organization and deployment, the command of the third party force will need:
A. Establishing a special section to deal with the civilian issues of the Palestinian side and the crossing points. Also to deal with issues related to the life of the inhabitants in areas under the control of the forces. It will deal with the daily problems that might arise between the inhabitants and the forces.
B. Organizing the working relationship between the two parties on clear bases. This will be in both the central and local areas and in both the military and civilian aspects.
C. A number of experts in the media and publicity issues.
D. A number of translators who know both the Arabic and Hebrew languages and are aware of the customs and habits of both people. It is preferable that they will be part of the force and present in all areas of deployment. These should not be restricted to a number of temporary employees working in the command center.
E. In the course of organizing the coordination and cooperation between the two sides, coordination and liaison units must be established. These will be between the command of the forces and its branches in the areas, on the one hand, and the designated officials on both sides, on the other. Also it will coordinate with neighboring countries: Egypt and Jordan. This could be organized as follows (see appendix 5):
First: A tripartite high-level committee composed of authorized officials from the third party forces command and from both Palestinians and Israeli sides. The committee includes a number of experts in the civilian, military, political, law, intelligence and economic issues. The committee works on:
1. Establishing a detailed work plan for the forces in all areas designated by the mandate.
2. Preparing the forces, facilities, equipment and potentials needed to execute the plan.
3. Establishing a system for the controlling and monitoring of the plan implementation on the ground.
4. Dealing with the disputes that might arise during the implementation and deciding on them.
5. Establishing a system for meetings and periodic work evaluation on a regular basis.
6. Submitting needed reports to upper designated political sides.
7. Discussing all developments on the ground and what is decided by upper political leaders.
8. Receiving regular reports from the branches and discussing their recommendations and suggestions.
9. Organizing the coordination and cooperation in the necessary areas with the neighboring countries, i.e. Egypt and Jordan.
Second: Establishing three main liaison and coordination offices in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These will be: the central coordination office of the Gaza Strip, coordination office of the governorates of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and the coordination office of the governorates of the West Bank. Branch offices will be established in each area or governorate.
1. The central coordination office of the Gaza Strip: from which two main offices will emerge. The first in Gaza city and the northern Strip. The other will perform the coordination in the central and southern areas. Offices can emerge of these main offices to cover branch areas.
2. The central coordination office of the areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, from which will emerge the offices of:
a) The Old City and the religious sites, Islamic, Christian and Jewish. b) The City outside the wall. c) Abu Dees and the southern suburbs. d) Shu’fat and the northern suburbs. e) Al-Thori and the southern suburbs, and f) Bethlehem and surrounding villages.
3. Coordination and liaison office of West Bank governorates and fom it will emerge the offices of:
a) Ramallah and Jericho (central):
Ramallah City, Al-Bireh, Kalandya camp and southern villages, Birzeit and northern villages, Jalazoun and eastern villages, Beit Reema and western village, and Jericho with the surrounding villages and the central Jordan valley.
b) Hebron governorate and southern West Bank central office, from which will emerge the offices of:
Hebron city and its suburbs, Halhoul city and the surrounding villages, Dura city and its villages, Yatta and its villages and Al-Dhariya and its villages.
c) Northern-western West Bank central office, from which will emerge:
Nablus city and its suburbs, Salfeet area and its villages, Qalqilya governorate office, Tulkarem governorate.
d) Northern-eastern West Bank central office. This will include: Jenin governorate, Toubas area and northern Jordan valley and its villages.
Third: The governorates offices will implement the plans and tasks specified for them, these include:
– Organizing third party relationship and the Palestinian and Israeli security forces in the area.
– Discussing the fixed daily tasks and emergency orders specified by upper echelons.
– Monitoring the situation on the ground and verifying the compliance with what was agreed upon.
– Assisting the military commander in executing tasks and detaining wanted individuals.
– Discussing breaches and problems of work, dealing with them, specifying responsibility and getting issues back to their track.
– Providing information needed by the third party forces command within its authorities and for the success of its mission.
– Performing periodic evaluation and submitting reports to upper levels.
Fourth: The commanders of the military forces at the local levels will execute their specified tasks in coordination with representatives of both the Palestinian and the Israeli parties. Those include:
– Executing weapon disbursement and deployment of forces in assigned areas.
– Putting needed defensive plans to protect the force’s position, personnel and equipment. This includes building needed fortifications around the positions and weapons.
– Verifying the force’s readiness, organizing the work and distributing the daily tasks on sections, branches and individuals.
– Organizing control forms, collecting information and verifying compliance with what was agreed upon. This will be done through moving patrols and\or establishing non-operated or electronic monitoring positions in needed areas. This monitoring will include the level of the Israel: government’s and settlers’ compliance to the decision concerning settlement activity.
– Establishing search positions in the confrontation areas and any other needed locations. These will include main and secondary roads and to perform proper search and checking tasks.
– Putting a plan to assist civilians living next to the forces’ positions.
– Organizing a borne emergency force which will perform the tasks of pursuit, chase and trace whenever needed. This will include searching suspected places hiding wanted persons and storing arms.
Fifth: Forming a dual liaison committee with each of the two conflicting parties. It will deal with the mutual issues between the third party forces and the Palestinian and Israeli sides separately.
Sixth: Establishing a coordination and cooperation office with the concerned Egyptian parties and dealing with whatever issues might arise in the crossing points between the two states.
Seventh: Establishing a coordination and cooperation office with the concerned Jordanian party and dealing with whatever issues might arise in the crossing points between the two states.
Eighth: In addition to these military formations, the third party forces must include cadres and experts capable of an integrated section for civilian issues. This will deal with problems in the areas of health, economy, water, construction and road engineering …etc. and assisting the Palestinians in such areas, whenever possible.
Ninth: The third party forces will also need cadres and experts to develop the media and advertisement tasks. This will include a newsletter that will clarify positions and incidents. It will also interact with the local media and answer the questions of the press and new agencies and so on.
THE JUSTIFICATIONS AND NEED FOR A THIRD PARTY FORCES PRESENCE
The Palestinians have many remarks on the sponsorship role of the Americans and other actors, in the peace process. However, they admit that they have played an important role in the negotiations with the Israelis and contributed to its duration for more than ten years. In fact, the American sponsor succeeded in rescuing it numerous times. The Palestinians admit also that the whole agreements with the Israelis, major and minor, have been accomplished by the assistance of a third party. They specifically note the Norwegian government’s role in achieving the Oslo agreement and the role of the American sponsor in the secondary negotiations and accords that followed Oslo.
At the same time, the Palestinians hold the American sponsor first, and then Russian and other sponsors, the responsibility of many issues, included in the agreements, that have not been implemented. These agreements have been reached with their presence and were witnesses thereof in many places. These include agreements that have been signed in the White House garden, Cairo, and Wye River.
But in spite of their painful historic experience, the Palestinians acknowledge that they are the weaker part of the formula. They also acknowledge that third party intervention is indispensable in solving their conflict with the Israelis. In addition, they prefer that intervention be forceful and effective on the ground in addition to its role in negotiating rooms.
In addition to that, the long experience and the consecutive developments, since the failure of Camp David summit and Taba negotiations and the eruption of the intifada, confirm several facts concerning the conflict and the third party role, the most conspicuous are:
– That the peace process was built on theories, one of which especially proved to be illusionary. This theory has stated that there is no need for a third party presence with a binding opinion to both parties. Also it stated that there is no need for third party forces that work in the field in the areas of separating, monitoring and verifying the agreements implementation.
– The position of the peace process architect, former American Foreign Secretary James Baker, proved to be wrong as well. He and other sponsors of the peace process believed that the process mechanism is able to gather momentum and create a mutual trust. They assumed that these two factors will decrease the need of the two parties for the third party and that they can solve their conflict on their own.
– The Palestinians are also convinced that one of the major reasons for the negotiations stumbling and reaching a dead end lies in that a third party was not available to monitor and verify the level of compliance of both parties to the agreements reached. Also the compliance of the parties to the bases and rules of the peace process to separate them when the necessity would have risen.
– Also the Palestinians believe that the agreements implementation and establishing a solid ground, that would protect them and protect the peace process from the extremists from both sides, requires the presence of a third party on the ground and not only in the negotiations rooms.
– Clearly, the restriction of the sponsor’s role to superior tasks and assisting the two parties to reach negotiating tables has not been enough. Also giving advices and ideas that are unbinding to solving the difficult problems …etc. has not been enough to resolve the conflict.
– The practical experience has established a Palestinian belief that the Israeli side is not ready for a just and enduring peace. Whenever an agreement was reached, whether with Labor or Likud, a new battle was started on how to deal and execute these agreements. The latter battle has been more difficult and harder on the Palestinians. It seems that the Jewish historic experience in Europe and the Arab region has made them skeptical and sensitive towards security issues.
– Because of the imbalance of power in a drastic measure towards their favour, the Israelis have applied the “no sacred dates and texts” rule on the Palestinians. More than often have files been reopened, under the eyes of the American sponsor. Renegotiating would start on issues and subjects decided upon in hard negotiations.
– In other instances, the Israeli side enforced its explanations to clear texts of some articles. Of these is the unbinding by certain Oslo agreement clauses such as the continuation of land confiscation, the expansion of the settlements vertically and horizontally and building a separation wall at the expense of Palestinian land.
– The modes of intervention that have been employed in the peace process in earlier stages by the third party (UN, American and Russian sponsors) have not succeeded in laying the bases for peace to remain as the only choice for resolving the conflict. It has to be developed and move from only sponsoring the negotiations and setting the mood for holding meetings to formulating just solutions. Also to have the means and powers needed for monitoring and enforcing implementation.
– Ending the mode of interim solution, the step-by-step policy, the gradual accumulation of achievements and building mutual trust. The negotiations that this mode, as manifested in the Oslo and secondary agreements, and the Road Map, have proved to be comparatively adequate for dealing with interim issues. It has not been adequate for dealing with the complicated final solution issues.
– The incapability of the two parties to settle their complicated conflict concerning the final solution issues on their own due to moral, symbolic and historic dimensions requires a third party initiative such as (the Security Council or the US or the Quartet). Modes of solution for every issue should be created and be fully binding to both parties. The third party can conclude the more objective and realistic mode from the UN resolutions, the minutes of negotiations especially those submitted in Camp David, Taba and what was stated in the Clinton initiative.
– The progress towards the final settlement and resolving the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water, settlement and future relations requires enforcing an integrated program on both sides.
– The negotiations and talks have shown the minimum and maximum positions of both parties concerning the final solution issues. It is true that the unfolding positions have complicated resolving the conflict and alerted extremists on both sides opposed to the political solution and have succeeded in complicating the peace process. Yet the Palestinians kept in their files summaries of the Israeli presentations at the time of the Labor party concerning resolving the final solution issues. Furthermore, the Palestinian negotiators believe, that what has been presented in Taba, reflects the maximum ceiling of the Israeli position. Any additions will be only elaborations. The saying of the then Israeli Chief of Staff in Taba “Now you know the maximum that Israel may give” is not far from the truth.
– The realities of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in Taba and Camp David and what follows confirm that it is not possible to continue with interim and partial agreements. The negotiations between the two parties have reached a stage that requires working on a comprehensive agreement. This agreement should be coupled with an agreement on an international mandate for monitoring implementation.
– The escalation of confrontation at “the time of negotiations’ failure and the eruption of the uprising” have resulted in the erosion of trust between the two sides. Following the success of the Israeli rightists who are hostile to the Oslo agreements, the incompliance to previous agreements has become the common rule.
– Although the American and the Russian sponsors and the stakeholders have found out Israel’s breaches of the agreements, they have done nothing to stop them. They found in the absence of a mandate an excuse for evading shouldering any responsibility. The practical consequence to this was weakening of the Palestinian trust in the peace process and its sponsors, more accurately its sole sponsor. Another consequence has been the revival of extreme ideas that have already been tried but failed to solve the conflict.
– During the same period mentioned above, the Israeli forces have destroyed to a large extent the Palestinian security forces, its systems and locations in the West Bank. Partial destruction has occurred in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian security forces have become unable to perform security tasks, old and new ones. It needs reconstruction, reorganization, rehabilitation, and training which may take a long period. Consequently, forces of a third party or multinational forces are needed to take over agreed-upon field security tasks. This is especially needed because of the situation on the ground is complicated where the settlements overlap with the Palestinian villages and cities.
– The Sharon government has created new realities on the ground that contradict with the objectives and spirit of the peace process. It has blown up what was achieved on the ground. The Israeli forces have reoccupied areas A and B which have been under Palestinian authority. Regarding trust, restarting negotiations and going back to the positions of the pre-September 2000, need a supporting role that can be performed by a third party. It has to enforce the two parties to comply to their agreements.
– During the last three years the position of forces opposed to peace has been strengthened on both sides. The settlers and Israeli extremists have worked to intensify the struggle and abort the agreements. On the other side the same was done by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades affiliated with Fatah, the Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigade affiliated with the PFLP. Everybody recognizes that the Palestinian security forces cannot, through its own present powers, deter these groups. Therefore, it is imperative to have the forces of a third party to share in this deterrence. The Palestinian authority has presented this reality to the US Foreign Secretary Colin Powel in the past. Powel agreed, during one of his visits to Ramallah and in front of the journalists, to the presence of international forces. However, he withdrew his acceptance in the press conference he held after a few hours in Jerusalem.
– The experience has shown that one of the main reasons for the stalemate in negotiations lies in the absence of a third party as an authorized arbiter. This party will monitor and verify the compliance of both parties to the agreements reached and separate between them when the necessity would have risen.
– The delay in calling these forces will hinder resuming and may hasten canceling the peace process. This will be especially true knowing that Israel under the rightists is in a race to create new realities on the ground. These will not only blow up the bases of the peace process as we have known, but also will delay the emergence of a new initiative later.
– The success of getting the assistance of third party in other parts of the world like Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Africa and Asia should be an encouraging factor to emulate in Palestine. The assistance of third party forces should be sought. It can be “international or American or multinational under American or international command”.
– The Palestinian-Israeli negotiations would not deviate from the rule that governed the Egyptian-Israeli and the Jordanian-Israeli negotiations. The Jordanian and Israeli side did not seek the assistance of a third party to monitor compliance with what was agreed upon. However, what applies to the Palestinian and the Syrian cases is the Egyptian model. Here the two parties got the assistance of a sizeable third party forces well equipped.
THE ISRAELI ATTITUDE TOWARDS A THIRD PARTY
Although Israel is a nuclear force and its conventional military capabilities exceed those of the Arab countries combined, yet most Israelis feel insecure and that they live on a small island surrounded by a huge hostile Arab sea.
Although the Israeli leaders and strategic analysts recognize that the Palestinian state will be militarily weak and economically dependent on Israel for many years, many, especially the on the right, view this state, if established, as a grave danger that will undermine Israel some day. And they insist on refusing its establishment. The realists, however, object to its establishment before being assured that it will not be hostile to Israel and a threat to its security.
The excuses that Israeli leaders use to delay final solution negotiations confirm that they will not agree easily to turning the existing “self-rule mini entity” to a sovereign independent state.
Based on the declared Israeli positions prior, during the negotiations and after they have stopped, the major aspects of the Israeli position concerning third party presence can be summarized as follows:
– Since its establishment in 1947-48, Israel has constantly rejected any “imported” security even if it is from the United States or the UN. It has depended only on its own capabilities to guarantee its security. It has built a strong army with the most advanced weapons and has possessed a nuclear arsenal, which it never officially admitted. And from 1965 until 1991 it acted to finish the Palestinian “aggression” emanating from the PLO and its forces. This was done by declaring war, on small and large scale, against the PLO outside and engaging in aggression and terror against the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
– Israel has insisted for half a century on refusing any field role for a third party in its conflict with the Palestinians. Also it has rejected any international presence with the UN as its reference. The experience has shown that the role it accepts is that which facilitates meetings and negotiations and preferably with the American sponsor alone. Israel has and, is not, concealing its rejection to a third party forces on the ground. And if a military force is a must, then the Israeli side prefers a force that is limited in number. The force must be American or multinational with American command and reference. This position was evident in negotiations with the Labor party.
– Regardless of the present position of the Likud Israeli government concerning the rejection of a third party role in the interim stage, it might accept in a certain stage of negotiations, third party forces. This might occur so that these forces help in implementing the final stage solutions. This conclusion is derived from the Camp David agreements between Egypt and Israel. The Likud under Begin had agreed on international forces at the Egyptian side of the Sinai. Also they accepted to seek the assistance of international forces in Southern Lebanon and in the Syrian Golan Heights.
– The official negotiations and talks in Camp David and Taba, have manifested that Israel under the Labor party accepts the idea of getting the assistance of a third party to help in implementing a final solution agreement. This force will be American, international or multinational. However, this idea is subject to reaching a comprehensive agreement to the conflict. They have agreed that it will be deployed on the whole borders including the Jordan Valley.
– The Labor party, during its rule, did not prefer assigning a security role to a third party in the interim stage. However, in extreme cases, it might agree on a limited role of third party forces. This will not exceed monitoring and observing and they must be American.
– The Labor party under Rabin has agreed to get the assistance of an unarmed “international force” to deal with the consequences of the massacre that settler Baruch Goldstein committed in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. This force is still operating through the very limited authorities given to it. This does not exceed recording incidents and photographing them, if possible.
– It is apparent to say that if Israel accepts, or was forced to accept, a third party forces, it will make various demands and put a lot of restrictions on its operations, such as:
Fight terror and destroy its infrastructure. To prevent Palestinian “terrorists” from executing any attacks against Israel and Israelis all over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
To prevent the Palestinian state from entering military alliances hostile to Israel and to prevent any external party to use the Palestinian territory in operations against Israel.
To verify the kind and quantity of weapons and ammunition allowed for the Palestinian forces and prevent unlicensed weapons. Also to make sure that there is no intention to possess heavy weaponry and guarantee that it will not be smuggled or produced inside the Palestinian territory.
To verify that the Palestinian security forces will not build strong fortifications, installing mines and digging trenches on the borders …etc.
To own or rent a number of military bases inside the Palestinian territory. These will be used for defensive reasons dealing with Israeli strategic security. Freedom of movement to, and from, these bases must be guaranteed. The Israeli negotiators have already submitted this idea and were not rejected by the Palestinian side in principle. However, they put a lot of stipulations on its acceptance.
To request the use of Palestinian airspace for civil aviation and for monitoring the military situation on the ground to verify that the Palestinian side is not establishing what might endanger Israel’s security.
To request the right to cross the Palestinian lands and coastal waters in emergency situations and especially if a war is expected.
THE BUDGET OF A THIRD PARTY FORCE
Establishing this comparatively big third party force, will obviously, require allocating a yearly enormous budget. All the big industrial countries, the oil producing countries and all concerned in peace in the Middle East and its stability will contribute in this budget.
The Palestinian side sees that this budget will be renewed automatically for many years, minimum 3-5 years. The contributing countries will have the right to monitor the expenditures and give their necessary remarks.
This budget will be renewed with the renewal of the forces presence. There should be a prior agreement that ending the contribution will be through a unanimous decision.
THE MANDATE PROVIDED TO THE THIRD PARTY FORCES
First- The size of the force: the Palestinians believe that the tasks of the third party forces and the area of operations require seven brigades. The number should be at least fifty thousand including soldiers, officers, civilian and administrative personnel. The force should be equipped heavily. It should be able to increase automatically, or gradually decreased, according to the evaluation of the forces’ command with the stakeholders. It would be preferable to take the input of the two parties concerning the increase, or decrease, of the forces’ number. However, this should not be binding and the decision remains with the mandate providers.
Second- The participating sides:
– The Palestinian side prefers the force to be international, formed by concerned international bodies. Any member state in the United Nations General Assembly can participate, if it so desires.
– The Palestinian side does not have any reservations on the participation of any side. Also it does not stipulate any proportions to participation in this force.
– The Palestinian side accepts any other mode like multinational forces, American forces or any other parties that will mutually be agreed-upon with Israel.
– The Palestinian side prefers that the third party forces arrive and start to perform their tasks, all at once. Also it accepts this to be gradual.
Third- The mandatory side:
– The Palestinians prefer that the mandate decree for the third party forces, be issued by concerned bodies in the UN, i.e. the Security Council and the General Assembly.
– That the forces will operate under the UN umbrella with the Security Council and the Secretary General as its reference.
– The Palestinians accept that these forces be formed by agreement among several parties concerned with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to be multinational. They accept that it will be purely American, as well. In both cases, the forces will be given the adequate mandate for its work and relationships with all sides.
Fourth: The limits of the authorities provided in the mandate:
A. Mandate concerning the operations area and positioning in it:
– All the Palestinian territory according to 1967 borders and its airspace and coastal waters
– All the rented military bases, if it was agreed to establish such bases.
– For practical reasons, the Palestinians prefer that the forces’ operations include the border areas in the Israeli lands adjacent to the Palestinian lands. The same would apply to water borders. It should be given, at a minimal rate, the right of pursuit inside the border Israeli areas. This will be in case the forces were attacked, or for reasons related to its performance.
– The forces will be deployed in the designated operation areas (governorates) with the agreed-upon central plan. The force command has the right to expand the deployment area and to occupy fighting positions in the designated areas.
– Expansion of the forces operations to new areas (governorates) requires the approval of both parties.
B. A mandate concerning the use of arms in executing designated tasks:
– It is obvious that the mandate will include the provision of using all kinds of weapons by the forces for self defense, if it is attacked. This might be as a result of a hostile position to the forces and their tasks or for theft and robbery …etc.
– The Palestinians side prefers that the forces be given the authority usually given to deterrent forces. This includes the right to use the weapons available against those who breach the signed agreements and attack the other side. Also against those who refuse to follow orders and try to enforce their position on others.
Fifth- Duration of the forces presence: the Palestinian side prefers that these forces stay the longest possible period, and also accepts its presence for the agreed-upon period. It thinks that the first stage of the presence should not be less than three years, automatically renewable each year. It should be known from the outset that the presence could be for extended for additional years. In this case, the size of the forces, the kinds of its equipment and its budget, will be reconsidered for gradual decrease.
In all cases the Palestinians stipulate that the withdrawal of these forces is by the consent of all concerned parties (international or multinational) including the Palestinian side. This means that the withdrawal will be by agreement in which the Palestinians share.