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A Gush Shalom research paper. 28 Jan 1998

 

WHO IS VIOLATING THE AGREEMENTS? 

 

 

The Netanyahu government has stopped the peace process and threatens to bury it altogether, putting all the blame on the Palestinians. It asserts that, while Israel has faithfully fulfilled all the provisions of the agreements, the Palestinians have systematically violated them. The Israeli media, nearly without exception, are aiding and abetting this propaganda. However, the facts are quite different: while the Palestinian violations are few and quite marginal, as clearly emerges from the pathetic document composed by government secretary Danny Naveh, the contraventions by the Netanyahu government are systematic and substantial.

The following partial list, which can be enlarged at will, has been composed by a research team of Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, under the direction of Uri Avnery and Haim Hanegbi.

References are to the:

 

  • Declaration of Principles (September 13, 1993)

     

  • Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area (May 4, 1994)

     

  • Interim Agreement (September 28, 1995)

     

  • Hebron agreement (January 15, 1997), which was signed by the Netanyahu government.

 

 

  1. Territorial Integrity.

     

    Obligation: “The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.”

     

    Text: DOP, Article IV.

     

    Contravention: All settlement activities, land expropriations, building of so-called by-pass roads, as well as the denial of free passage (see below). 

     

     

  2. Permanent Status Negotiations.

     

    Obligation: “Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period…”

     

    Text: DOP, Article V.

     

    Contravention: The Netanyahu government has prevented these negotiations, which were due to start “not later” than May 1996. 

     

     

  3. Jerusalem.

     

    3.1 Obligation: ‘It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem…”

     

    Text: DOP, Article V.

     

    Contravention: All actions which alter the situation in Jerusalem on the ground, such as the massive Israeli building activity in East Jerusalem, the expulsion of Palestinian inhabitants, confiscation of identity cards, land expropriations.

     

    3.2 Obligation: (a) “Palestinians of Jerusalem who live there may participate in the (Palestinian) elections process… (b) The Palestinian Council and the Ra’ees of the Executive Authority of the Council constitute the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, which will be elected by the Palestinian people of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip…”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Articles II and III.

     

    Contravention: All the actions which prevent the Palestinians in East Jerusalem from participating in the activities of the Palestinian Authority (such as taking part in the Palestinian census), the closing of the offices of the Palestinian deputies from East Jerusalem. Obviously, the cutting off of East Jerusalem from the West Bank, under the guise of “closure”, is a major violation of the agreement. 

     

     

    3.3 Obligation: “All the Palestinian institutions of East Jerusalem, including the economic, social, educational and cultural, and the holy Christian and Moslem places, are performing an essential task…we will not hamper their activity…”

     

    Text: Letter of undertaking by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to the Norwegian Foreign Minister, dated October 11, 1993, in connection with the DOP.

     

    Contravention: The Netanyahu government is trying to close most of these institutions, on the pretext that they belong to the PLO. 

     

     

     

  4. Safe Passage.

     

    Obligation: “There shall be a safe passage connecting the West Bank with the Gaza Strip for movement of persons, vehicles and goods…Israel will make such passage available through the routes indicated on attached map…”

     

    Text: Interim agreement, Annex I, Article X.

     

    Contravention: The passage, indicated on the map and marked on the ground by road-signs long ago, should have been opened in May 1994, and, again, in September 1995. It has not been opened until now. 

     

     

  5. Withdrawals. 

     

    5.1 Obligation: “The further redeployment of Israeli military forces to specified military locations will be gradually implemented …in three phases, each to take place after an interval of six months after the inauguration of the (Palestinian) Council, to be completed within 18 months…”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article I.

     

    Contravention: None of these three withdrawals, whose time has passed long ago, has taken place. It is clear from the text that the withdrawal should have been from all the West Bank, excluding only purely military installations, such as army camps. The term “specified military locations” cannot be construed as meaning whole areas, up to 60% of the West Bank, as alleged by the Netanyahu government. Also, by no stretch of the imagination can settlements and whole towns be considered “military locations”. The text does not set out which part should be evacuated in each phase, but it seems reasonable to assume that each withdrawal should include some 30% of the entire West Bank. The Hebron agreement, which was already signed by the Netanyahu government, did reaffirm the principle of three “further redeployments” and fixed a new time-table: the first withdrawal in the beginning of March 1997. Accordingly, the second should have taken place in September 1997 and the third in March 1998. 

     

     

    5.2 Obligation: “’Area C’ means areas of the West Bank outside Areas A and B, which, except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction…”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Article XI.

     

    Contravention: Not only has this not been implemented, but the Netanyahu government treats these territories as if they were under exclusive Israeli jurisdiction.

     

     

    5.3 Obligation: “Further redeployments from Area C and transfer of internal security responsibility to the Palestinian Police in Areas B and C will be carried out in three phases, each to take place after an interval of six months, to be completed 18 months after the inauguration of the (Palestinian) Council, except for the issues of permanent status negotiations and Israel’s overall responsibility for Israelis and borders.”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Article XIII.

     

    Contravention: Not only did the Netanyahu government disregard these provision, but it pretends that it has exclusive control over Area C.

     

     

  6. Closure.

     

    6.1 Obligation: “In order to maintain the territorial integrity of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, and to promote their economic growth and the demographic links between them, both sides shall implement the provisions of this Annex, while respecting and preserving without obstacles , normal and smooth movement of people, vehicles, and goods within the West Bank, and between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article I, 2.

     

    Contravention: The closure in all its form is a blatant and substantial violation of this paragraph. 

     

     

    6.2 Obligation: “Any security arrangement and measure which becomes effective commensurate with the redeployment of the Israeli military forces will not undermine the importance of, nor will they prejudice, the Palestinian development of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the moral and physical dignity of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

     

    Text: As above, 3.

     

    Contravention: This provision is violated daily and hourly at the Israeli army checkpoints all over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Also, all Palestinian development planes are rendered inoperative because of the closure. Territories are dismembered and cut off from each other by land expropriations and so-called by-pass roads. 

     

     

    6.3 Obligation: “After the inauguration of the Palestinian Council, the unity and integrity of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip shall be maintained and respected. All Palestinian people residing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be accountable to the Palestinian Council …”

     

    Text: As above, 4.

     

    Contravention: The Netanyahu government pretends that the Palestinians in Area C are accountable to the occupation authorities only. The cutting-off of the Palestinians from each other by means of the general closure, as well as by the smaller “internal” closures from time to time, violates the Agreement. 

     

     

  7. Hebron.

     

    7.1 Obligation: “The movement of vehicles on the Shuhada Road will be gradually returned, within 4 months, to the same situation which existed prior to February 1994.”

     

    Text: Hebron Agreement, paragraph 7.

     

    Contravention: According to this paragraph, signed by the Netanyahu government itself, the street should have been open since May 15, 1997. This has not happened up to now. Shuhada, the main street of Hebron, was closed to Palestinian after the Goldstein massacre in the Hebron mosque – a penalty imposed on the victims. 

     

     

    7.2 Obligation: “Both sides reiterate their commitment to the unity of the City of Hebron, and their understanding that the division of security responsibilities will not divide the city…In Area H-2 (where Israeli forces remain), the civil powers and responsibilities will be transferred to the Palestinian side, except for those relating to Israelis and their property…”

     

    Text: Hebron Agreement, paragraphs 9 and 10.

     

    Contravention: Only two days after the signing of this agreement by the Netanyahu government, the Israeli commanding officer published a decree forbidding Palestinians to repair houses and apartments in several areas of the Old Town. Repair workers were arrested. The occupation authorities treat the area, which was transferred to their security control only, as if it were subject to Israeli jurisdiction in all aspects.

     

     

  8. Hebron Agreement Obligations.

     

    Obligation: “Negotiations on the following outstanding issues from the Interim Agreement will be immediately resumed. Negotiations on these issues will be conducted in parallel: (a) Safe Passage, (b) Gaza Airport, (c) Gaza port…Permanent Status negotiations will be resumed within two months after implementation of the Hebron Protocol.”

     

    Text: Hebron Agreement, “Note for the Record”, signed by the Netanyahu government.

     

    Contravention: Not one of these obligations has been carried out. As if to add insult to injury, Mr. Netanyahu pretends that it is he who demands to start the permanent status negotiations immediately, while in reality he has violated the obligation to start them a year ago. It is quite clear that he has no right whatsoever to make the starting of the permanent status negotiations conditional on the cancellation of the “third withdrawal”. 

     

     

  9. Release of Prisoners.

     

    Obligation: “The release of detainees and prisoners…will be carried out in three stages…persons who have served more than two thirds of their sentence…prisoners who have been imprisoned for 10 years or more…”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Annex VII.

     

    Contravention: Mostly not implemented. 

     

     

     

  10. Dissolution of Civil Administration.

     

    Obligation: “After the inauguration of the (Palestinian) Council, the Civil Administration in the West Bank will be dissolved, and the Israeli military government will be withdrawn."

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Article I.

     

    Contravention: Two years later, not implemented. 

     

     

  11. Terminology

     

    Obligation: Throughout the agreements, the term “West Bank” is used, not only in the English original, but also in the official Hebrew translation.

     

    Text: All the agreements.

     

    Contravention: The Netanyahu government continues to use the annexationist terms “Judea” and “Samaria”, while protesting against the Palestinian usage of terms not consistent with the agreements, such as “Palestinian National Authority” instead of “Palestinian Authority”. The Netanyahu government uses the title “Chairman of the (Palestinian) Authority”, in spite of the fact that it signed an agreement in which the title “Ra’ees” (which also means President) appears both in the English original and the official Hebrew translation. The
    Israeli government and media generally use the term "Palestinian Autonomy", a misleading and basically false term, which appears no where in any of the agreements, after being rejected by the Palestinians. (It was used in the Israeli- Egyptian Camp David agreement). The agreed term in all the agreements is: "Palestinian Self Government".

     

     

  12. Incitement.

     

    Obligation: “Israel and the Council shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other and…(they) shall take legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organizations, groups or individuals within their jurisdiction.”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Annex XXII.

     

    Contravention: While Israel is justified in demanding that the Palestinian authority take appropriate measures to prevent incitement against Israel in the Palestinian media, the Netanyahu government gives free reign to Israelis who incite against Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian authority. Cabinet ministers and members of the Knesset belonging to the governing coalition also take part in this incitement, which is going on daily in the public and private media.

     

     

     

  13. Return of Refugees.

     

    Obligation: “The Continuing Committee (composed of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Jordan) shall decide by agreement on the modalities of admission of persons displaced from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967…”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Article XXVII.

     

    Contravention: The Israeli government has stopped the activity of this committee, which was to discuss the return of the refugees of the 1967 war, estimated at hundreds of thousands.

     

     

  14. Rachel’s Tomb. 

     

    Obligation: “The two sides hereby agree on the following security arrangements regarding Rachel’s Tomb…the Tomb, as well as the main road leading from Jerusalem to the Tomb…will be under the security responsibility of Israel…the present situation and existing practices in the Tomb shall be preserved.”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article V.

     

    Contravention: Rachel’s Tomb was for hundreds of years a holy place both for Jews and Moslems. It was called in Arabic ‘’Bilal Mosque’. During the Jordanian rule, it was preserved by the Palestinians. Measures taken to prevent Palestinians from praying at this site are violating the agreement. From the text it appears that the civilian authority over the Tomb rests with the Palestinians. Therefore, the building of a fortress-like wall around the Tomb and the blockage of the road up to its middle are violations. 

     

     

     

  15. Human Rights.

     

    Obligation: “The Palestinian Police and the Israeli military forces shall exercise their powers and responsibilities pursuant to this Agreement with due regard to internationally-accepted norms of human rights and the rule of law, and shall be guided by the need to protect the public, respect human dignity and avoid harassment.”

     

    Text: Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article XI.

     

    Contravention: This provision is violated every day all over the occupied territories. Measures like administrative detention, torture of suspects, demolition of houses, land expropriations do contravene internationally-accepted norms of human rights. Not to mention the harassment and indignities which are the daily lot of Palestinians, including old people and children, passing Israeli army checkpoints.

 


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