In the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol, the Israeli and Palestinian sides both reaffirmed undertakings made in the Interim Agreement. For its part, Israel undertook to implement the first phase of the further redeployment process, to release women prisoners who had not yet been released, and to reopen negotiations on a range of issues including Safe Passage, Dahaniya Airport, Gaza Port etc. Israel has complied with its undertakings in all these respects.
For its part, the Palestinian Council undertook to complete the process of revising the Palestinian charter, to take strengthened measures to fight terrorism and prevent violence – including the transfer of suspects, confiscation of illegal firearms, and reduction of the size of the Palestinian police to that permitted in the Interim Agreement, and to conduct Palestinian Council activity in the areas of Palestinian jurisdiction – and not in Jerusalem. In respect of every one of these commitments the Palestinian side has failed to demonstrate its intention or will to comply with its undertakings.
To the contrary, the Palestinian side has instead chosen to focus its energies on generating political pressure within and outside the region, and to avoid the direct bilateral talks that are the very basis of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and its only hope for progress.
This document lists the most significant violations of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements, with regard to which Israel is still awaiting compliance from the Palestinian side. It does not purport to be a comprehensive list. It focuses only on the most prominent violations, which appear to be a result of deliberate and continuous activity on the part of the Palestinian leadership.
1. Failure to take sufficient measures to combat terrorist activity.
The Interim Agreement (Annex I, Article II) obliges the Palestinian Council to act against all expressions of violence and terror. This obligation was restated and strengthened in the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol in which the Palestinian side undertook both to combat systematically and effectively terrorist organizations and infrastructure, and to apprehend, prosecute and punish terrorists. Notwithstanding these clear obligations, recent months have seen a marked decline in the extent of Palestinian activity directed against terrorists. Not only has the Council ceased to arrest individuals suspected of terrorist activity and to take measures against the terrorist infrastructure, but it has continued to release members of terrorist groups, many of who have been actively involved in the organization and perpetration of acts of terror.
2. Incitement to Violence
The Interim Agreement contains a specific provision (Article XXII) which not only requires the Palestinian leadership to abstain from violence and hostile propaganda, but also obliges it to take legal measures to prevent any incitement taking place under their jurisdiction. Nonetheless, the Palestinian leadership frequently calls for jihad (holy war) against Israel and praises prominent terrorists such as Yihye Ayash ("the Engineer"). issued by the Palestinian leadership, purporting to list Israeli violations of the Interim Agreement threatened that if Palestinian demands are not met this "will bring the region and its people back to violent confrontation and disasters, an outcome that will be the sole responsibility of the Government of Israel". The current peace process is based on the resolution of differences by peaceful means and the renunciation of violence. Veiled threats of violence such as these undermine the foundations of dialogue between the two sides. Moreover, as the September riots tragically demonstrated, the language of incitement rarely remains in the realm of words alone.
3. Failure to Comply With Obligations in the Legal Sphere – Including Transfer of Terrorist Suspects
The Palestinian side has failed to comply with the provisions of the legal annex of the Interim Agreement in such matters as notifying Israel of Palestinian legislation, and cooperating in the field of legal assistance. Even more significant in this area is the repeated refusal of the Palestinian side, in direct contradiction to the express provisions of the Legal Annex, to transfer requested terrorist suspects to Israel. Israel has to date submitted 19 transfer requests (relating to 23 individuals) to the Palestinian side and none has been complied with.
4. Failure to Amend the PLO Charter
The Palestinian side undertook to amend the PLO charter, which advocates the use of violence and calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, in the Arafat-Rabin exchange of letters in September 1993. Following the failure of the Palestinian side to comply with this undertaking, the obligation was restated in the exchange of letters annexed to the Gaza-Jericho agreement and then again in the Interim Agreement. Most recently, the Palestinian side undertook to complete the process of changing the PLO charter in the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol. Recent comments by the Palestinian leadership that the Charter will only be changed "after Israel has a constitution" raise doubts about the sincerity of Palestinian intentions in this regard.
5. Palestinian Council Activity in Jerusalem
The Declaration of Principles and the Interim Agreement provide that the Palestinian Council shall have no authority in Jerusalem during the interim period. Furthermore, the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol, restated the Palestinian undertaking that all Palestinian Council offices and activity would be within the areas under Palestinian jurisdiction, i.e., outside Jerusalem. Notwithstanding these provisions, the Palestinian Council continues to exert efforts to establish a presence in Jerusalem both by establishing offices and by making independent Palestinian institutions subject to its authority. Such activities include attempts to make hospitals and schools subject to Palestinian Council officials, meetings with foreign diplomats at the Orient House and the operation of Palestinian police in Jerusalem.
6. Conduct of Foreign Relations
Article IX of the Interim Agreement provides that the Palestinian Council will not have powers and responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations. Notwithstanding this prohibition, the Palestinian Council continues to conduct foreign relations. In particular:
- It has entered into numerous international agreements with foreign states or international organizations in such spheres as air transport, telecommunications, and postal arrangements.
- It has sought to have individuals abroad recognized as diplomatic representatives of the Council. To date, Israel is aware of 7 countries in which PLO representatives have sought admission as ambassadors of the Palestinian Council or of "Palestine".
- It has permitted representatives of foreign states to establish diplomatic representations within the areas under its jurisdiction.
- It has attempted to prejudice the final status negotiations bypresenting the Palestinian areas as a state in international fora.
7. Size of Palestinian Police
Under the terms of the Interim Agreement, the Palestinian police at this stage should comprise no more than 24,000 policemen (a further 6000 may be recruited at a later stage). The obligation to comply with these restrictions on the size of the police was restated in the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol. Despite this, in practice the Palestinian police consists of over 30,000 policemen.
In addition, the Interim Agreement provides that every candidate for recruitment to the police must be notified to Israel, which has the right to object. In practice, only 18,000 Palestinian policemen have been notified to and approved by Israel. In other words, the employment of over 10,000 Palestinian policemen is in breach of the Agreement. Many of those recruited to the Palestinian police without Israel’s approval are individuals who have been wanted for terrorist activity in the past. Over the last year, over 20 Hamas fighters involved in terrorist activity were recruited into the Palestinian forces.
In the Hebron area, in which the Hebron Protocol permits a maximum of 400 policemen, some 1500 Palestinian police are operating, many of them armed with rifles which both in type and quantity violate the provisions of the Hebron Protocol.
8. Failure to Confiscate Illegal Arms
The Interim Agreement (Annex I, Article II) provides that the Palestinian Council is obliged to confiscate all illegal arms. This provision was restated as a Palestinian obligation in the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol. Notwithstanding these provisions, the Palestinian Council has only confiscated a token number of arms from among the tens of thousands of illegal weapons in the areas under its authority. This problem has become even more acute since the September riots in which members of the Palestinian police gave police weapons to Palestinian civilians.
9. Arrest and Interrogation of Israelis
The Palestinian police frequently arrests and interrogates Israelis situated in the areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Council. In 1996 over 100 Israeli citizens were arrested by the Palestinian Police. It will be recalled that the Declaration of Principles and the Interim Agreement provide that the Palestinian Council will not have any authority in relation to permanent status issues – including Israelis. The only situation in which the Palestinian police is permitted to take any action in respect of Israelis is where an Israeli in the territory under Palestinian jurisdiction is committing a crime against a person or property. In such a case the police may detain him in place pending the arrival of the Israeli police, and are required to notify the Israeli authorities immediately.
10. Abuse of VIP Privileges
Palestinian VIP’s continue to abuse their privileges and use their vehicles to transport individuals whose entry into Israel is prohibited. In addition, despite numerous Israeli protests, Palestinian VIP’s continue to bring bodyguards with unlicensed weapons into Israel.
11. Movement of Palestinian Police Outside Area A Without Prior Coordination
Notwithstanding the provisions of the Security Annex of the Interim Agreement, the Palestinian police continues to operate outside Area A without prior coordination in Israel. In 1997 there have been some 35 occurrences of unauthorized police activity every month.
12. Unauthorised Construction of Dahaniye Airport
The Palestinian side continues to establish facts on the ground with regard to the construction of an airport. Such construction has been effected in direct violation of the Interim Agreement and subsequent agreements between the two sides. In addition, the Palestinian side continues to refuse to accept the provision in the Interim Agreement that the airport will be subject to the same arrangements, including security arrangements, as other international passages. Furthermore, in direct contravention of the Interim Agreement the Palestinian side has concluded a number of international agreements with foreign states in the field of aviation. Notwithstanding these violations, the issues relating to the airport are currently under negotiation between the two sides.
13. Unauthorised Construction of Gaza Port
The Interim Agreement provides that all aspects relating to the establishment of a port in the Gaza Strip are to be discussed and agreed between the two sides. Notwithstanding this proviso, the Palestinians have commenced construction work on an old wharf in the Gaza Strip with the declared intention of making this into a port. Only after an order issued by Israel prohibited the entry of construction materials to this area, did the Palestinian side refrain from acting in violation of the agreement. Pursuant to the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol, the two sides have resumed negotiations on the issue.
14. Failure to Enforce Visitors Permit Requirements
Contrary to the provisions of the Interim Agreement the Palestinian side has not taken any steps to expel from the areas under its jurisdiction visitors who have exceeded the period of their visitor’s permit. It is estimated that the failure to expel such unlawfully present individuals has resulted in some 31,000 individuals currently remaining in the territories. Moreover, in two recent cases it was discovered that such unlawfully present individuals were employed by the Palestinian Council.
15. Breaches of Agreement Provisions in Civilian Spheres
The Palestinian Council continues to breach the provisions of the Civil Annex of the Interim Agreement. Among the most frequent violations are the failure to enforce building permits, unauthorized activity in Area C, particularly in relation to garbage and sewage disposal, and the exercise of enforcement procedures outside the jurisdiction of the Council.