ISRAEL’S REVISED SELF GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS
UPDATED IDEAS ADDRESSING PALESTINIAN CONCERNS
Today, Israel presented the Palestinians with a written, comprehensive compilation of its ideas concerning the Interim Self Government Arrangements (ISGA) currently under negotiation.
Since the start of bilateral negotiations one year ago, Israel has been reviewing, developing and modifying its ideas, in accordance with the positions and reactions expressed in the negotiating room. Most of the changes in the proposals are the result of concentrated Israeli efforts to take Palestinian considerations and sensitivities into account, in order to advance the negotiations.
These changes can be seen in the following overview of Israel’s ISGA ideas as they stand today.
A. The Goal of the Negotiations:
Israel’s position regarding the goal of the negotiations with the Palestinians is based upon the Madrid invitation which establishes a two-phased negotiating process, dealing first with interim arrangements and then with the permanent status. Israel stresses that it is obligated to the Madrid invitation which states that beginning the third year of interim arrangements, the permanent status negotiations will take place, on the basis of Resolutions 242 and 338. Meanwhile, the concept of the permanent status should remain undefined, and the ISGA should leave all options open for the future permanent status negotiations. Israel views the interim arrangements and the permanent status as being part of the same process, interlreated through a timeframe interlock.
B. Concept of the ISGA:
Overall, the Israeli concept will enable the Palestinians to administer their own affairs, through their own elected body, while Israel will administer the affairs of the Israelis and will have responsibility for residual powers such as security and foreign relations. Certain specific domains, which affect both populations or prejudge permanent status, will be subject to cooperation and coordination between Israel and the Palestinians.
The main features of the ISGA are as follows:
1. Jurisdiction – Israel suggests a "mixed-model" for Palestinian jurisdiction, which combines jurisdiction through executive-functional powers and responsibilities, together with jurisdiction in infrastructure aspects (such as land and water) within the territories under Israeli military administration.
2. Structure – The executive powers and responsibilities of the Palestinians will be discharged by a freely elected, administrative – functional body, whose size will be determined in accordance with its functions. The name of this body will be finalized once agreement is reached on the ISGA concept.
3. Legal System (The Judicial Branch of the ISGA) – The ISGA envisions an expansion of the authority of Palestinian courts, transferring to them all non-security related manners concerning the Palestinian population. In those areas not covered by Palestinians courts, there will be Israeli courts with jurisdiction over the Israelis, and Israeli military courts with jurisdiction over both Israelis and Palestinians solely in security matters.
4. Authorities, Powers and Responsibilities – The Palestinian ISGA body will have both general powers and specific functional domains, as follows:
a. Regulations and Bylaws – The power to promulgate regulations and bylaws, and an agreed consultation mechanism for special legislative needs.
b. Policy Planning and Decision Making – Policy planning within the functional domains and the infrastructure aspects, and decisions relating to the operation of these domains (such as budgets, services, allocations, supervision, etc.)
a. Legal Domain – Independent courts of law (see above) and the creation of an office for the Administration of Justice.
b. Administrative Domain – The establishment of an office for the Administration of Personnel Matters, to manage the functions of the various organs of the elected body and their administrative matters.
c. Economic Related Domains – Organs dealing with Finance, Budget and Taxation, Industry and Commerce, Agriculture, and Tourism, established in an agreed framework which would enable each side’s economy to operate without harming the other.
d. Infrastructure Related Domains – The management of the infrastructural aspects of the ISGA, through Palestinian organs dealing with Environment, Local Transportation and Communication (road maintenance, licensing, etc.), and Municipal Affairs (zoning, water supply, bylaws, etc.).
e. Services Related Domains – Services provided to the Palestinian population, in the fields of Education and Culture, Health, Labor and Employment, Local Police, Religious Affairs, and Social Welfare.
While permanent arrangements regarding the land will only be decided in the permanent status negotiations, the following principles will apply to the management of the land during the ISGA period:
– Land situated in, or allocated to localities populated by Palestinians will be administered by the Palestinian organs.
– Land situated in, or allocated to localities populated by Israelis, or under Israeli security uses will be administered by Israeli organs.
– Other lands will be administrated jointly by Israel and the Palestinians in accordance with agreed arrangements.
D. Modalities for Establishing the Palestinian Organ:
As soon as agreement is reached on the basic concept of the ISGA, the modalities regarding the election of the Palestinian body may be negotiated. Israel envisions a body elected by the Palestinians of the territories from among the Palestinians of the territories, in free elections based upon the preservation of rights of free assembly, free expression, secret ballot, and appropriate measures to prevent disruption and disorder. Following the elections, the relevant authorities, powers and responsibilities will be transferred to the Palestinian body in accordance with the ISGA agreement.
Israel will provide relevant information and public records, as appropriate, in the context of the negotiations and the functions of the ISGA body.
E. Peaceful Coexistence – Coordination and Cooperation:
One of the main purposes of the ISGA is to provide a period of peaceful coexistence and lowered friction between the sides, in order to establish a strong basis for fruitful negotiations on the permanent status. To this end, areas of friction and conflict during the ISGA period should be minimized through an agreed mechanism for cooperation and coordination between Israel and the Palestinian body. This cooperation and coordination is not meant to derogate in any way from the authorities, powers and responsibilities transferred to the Palestinians. The participation and support of Jordan in the ISGA is an essential feature, due to the traditional and existing connections between Jordan and the Palestinians.
In addition, mutually agreed-upon joint monitoring processes, liaison and dispute resolution mechanisms are also necessary elements in the implementation of the ISGA agreement. Israel proposes the establishment of a high liaison coordination committee, in order to fulfill this essential function. This liaison is by no means intended to hamper the operation of the Palestinian body or to act as a substitute for it.