Ha'aretz: DOCUMENT: Clinton minutes of proposal for agreement between
Israel and Palestinians
Published in Ha'aretz on 31 December 2000
Following are the minutes of U.S.President Bill Clinton' comments at a
meeting with Israeli and Palestinian representatives at the White House on
December 23, 2000
Based on what I heard, I believe that the solution should be in the mid-90
percents, between 94-96 percent of the West Bank territory of the
The land annexed by Israel should be compensated by a land swap of 1-3
percent in addition to territorial arrangements such as a permanent safe
The parties also should consider the swap of leased land to meet their
The Parties should develop a map consistent with the following criteria:
l 80% of settlers in blocks
l Minimize the annexed areas
l Minimize the number of Palestinian affected
The key lies in an international presence that can only be withdrawn by
mutual consent. This presence will also monitor the implementation of the
agreement between both sides ...
My best judgment is that the Israeli presence would remain in fixed
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 diminish the threat to Israel.
On early warning stations, Israel should maintain three facilities in the
West Bank with a Palestinian liaison presence. The stations will be subject
to review every 10 years with any changes in the status to be mutually
Regarding emergency developments, I understand that you will still have to
develop a map of the relevant areas and routes... I propose the following
Imminent and demonstrable threat to Israel's national security of a military
nature that requires the activation of a national state emergency.
Of course, the international forces will need to be notified of any such
On airspace, I suggest that the state of Palestine will have sovereignty
over its airspace but that the two sides should work out special
arrangements for Israeli training and operational needs.
I understand that the Israeli position is that Palestine should be defined
as a "demilitarized state" while the Palestinian side proposes "a state with
limited arms." As a compromise, I suggest calling it a "non-militarized
This will be consistent with the fact that in addition to a strong
Palestinian security force, Palestine will have an international force for
border security and deterrent purposes...
The general principle is that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish ones are
Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge the two sides to
work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both sides.
Regarding the Haram\Temple Mount, I believe that the gaps are not related to
practical administration but to symbolic issues of sovereignty and to
finding a way to accord respect to the religious beliefs of both sides.
I know you have been discussing a number of formulations.... I add to these
two additional formulations guaranteeing Palestinian effective control over
the Haram while respecting the conviction of the Jewish People. Regarding
either one of those two formulations will be international monitoring to
provide mutual confidence.
1. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty over a)
the Western Wall and the space sacred to Judaism of which it is a part or b)
the Western Wall and the Holy of Holies of which it is a part.
There will be a firm commitment by both not to excavate beneath the Haram or
behind the Wall.
2. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty over the
Western Wall and shared functional sovereignty over the issue of excavation
under the Haram and behind the Wall such that mutual consent would be
requested before any excavation can take place.
I sense that the differences are more relating to formulations and less to
what will happen on a practical level.
I believe that 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 the international community in addressing the problem...
The fundamental gap is on how to handle the concept of the right of return.
I know the history of the issue and how hard it will be for the Palestinian
leadership to appear to be abandoning the principle.
The Israeli side could not accept any reference to a right of return that
would imply a right to immigrate to Israel in defiance of Israel's sovereign
policies and admission or that would threaten the Jewish character of the
Any solution must address both needs.
The solution will have to be consistent with the two-state approach.... the
state of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and the state
of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Under the two-state solution, the guiding principle should be that the
Palestinian state should be the focal point for the Palestinians who choose
to return to the area without ruling out that Israel will accept some of
I believe that we need to adopt a formulation on the right of return that
will make clear that there is no specific right of return to Israel itself
but that does not negate the aspiration of the Palestinian people to return
to the area.
I propose two alternatives:
1. both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to
historic Palestine, or 2. both sides recognize the right of Palestinian
refugees to return to their homeland.
The agreement will define the implementation of this general right in a way
that is consistent with the two-state solution. It would list the five
possible homes for the refugees:
1. the State of Palestine
2. Areas in Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land swap
3. Rehabilitation in host country
4. Resettlement in third country
5. Admission to Israel
In listing these options, the agreement will make clear that the return to
the West Bank, Gaza Strip and area acquired in the land swap would be right
to all Palestinian refugees, while rehabilitation in host countries,
resettlement in third countries and absorption into Israel will depend upon
the policies of those countries.
Israel could indicate in the agreement that it intends to establish a policy
so that some the refugees would be absorbed into Israel consistent with
Israel sovereign decision.
I believe that priority should be given to the refugee population in
The parties would agree that this implements Resolution 194.
The End of Conflict:
I propose that the agreement clearly mark the end of the conflict and its
implementation put and end to all claims. This could be implemented through
a UN Security Council Resolution that notes that resolutions 242 and 338
have been implemented and through the release for Palestinian prisoners..