The Middle East

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

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In January 2014 I drafted this document and shared it with the Israeli, Palestinian and US negotiators. The purpose of the document was to confront all of the core issues in a comprehensive manner in a way that takes into account the positions, interests and needs of both parties.

The Government of the State of Israel and the PLO, representing the Palestinian people, reaffirm that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation based on the “two states for two peoples” solution.


The aim of this Declaration of Principles is to provide a framework for negotiations on the detailed permanent-status agreement of peace and end of conflict and all claims between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine that will be established based on these principles. This Declaration of Principles relates to all of the permanent-status issues detailed in the DOP of September 1993 including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.


The State of Palestine will be established on the territories agreed to by the parties based on the principle that the Palestinian state will compose 22 percent of the total territory between the River and the Sea and Israel will compose 78% of the same area. The final delineation of the border between the two states will take into account realities on the ground enabling Israeli annexation of certain agreed-upon settlement blocs accounting for up to 4% of the territory concerned. Border modifications to the 1949 armistice lines will be based on an equitable and agreed-upon territorial exchange in accordance with the vital needs of both sides, including security, territorial contiguity and demographic considerations.

The Palestinian State will have a connection between its two geographic areas, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The implementation of the agreement with regard to the Gaza Strip will take place only when the regime that controls Gaza agrees to the terms of the permanent peace agreement herein.


The capitals of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine will be established in Jerusalem. Israeli Jerusalem will include all of West Jerusalem and the Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem (in accordance with the agreement of the borders of the State of Palestine).

Palestinian Jerusalem will include all of the Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. The external borders of Palestinian Jerusalem on the east and the north will be determined by the Palestinians in agreement with Israel. Jerusalem will be an open city and a physically united city, the capital of two states. Freedom of religion and full access to holy sites will be guaranteed to all.

Neither side will exercise sovereignty over the holy places. The State of Palestine will be designated guardian of al-Haram al-Sharif for the benefit of Muslims.

Israel will be the guardian of the Western Wall for the benefit of the Jewish people. The status quo on Christian holy sites will be maintained. No excavation will take place in or underneath the holy sites or construction on them without mutual consent.

All of the nations of the world will be invited by both states to establish their embassies in the new area designated for this purpose in E1. International organizations will also be invited to establish their global headquarters in Jerusalem’s new international district.

Security within the borders of Israeli and Palestinian Jerusalem will be based on separate and direct responsibilities within each sovereign jurisdiction, however a joint Israeli-Palestinian security/police force will be established with overriding authority and responsibility over the entire boundaries of the city. The Joint Command will be established in an agreed location with several dispersed command outlets in determined and agreed-to locations. A third-party monitoring and verification mechanism focused on Jerusalem will be established and based alongside of the joint commands and at the separate command levels as well.

A security perimeter will be established around Jerusalem for an agreed designated time that will work in accordance with the security protocol detailed below in Article Five.


Palestinian refugees will participate in determining their own future within the following agreed contours: Over a three-month period all registered Palestinian with UNRWA will be granted the opportunity to choose between the following options:

  1.  Return and (re)settlement within the State of Palestine.  All Palestinian refugees will be eligible to receive immediate citizenship in the State of Palestine.
  2. Remaining within the host country and receiving (or retaining) citizenship of the host country based on the agreement of the host country.
  3. Applying for resettlement and receiving citizenship of other countries. The US government will provide a list of countries (including Israel) willing to absorb Palestinian refugees with the number of refugees agreed to accept indicated.
  4. Applying for resettlement and citizenship within the State of Israel under a humanitarian family reunification scheme.

Following the final determination of the choice of the refugees, representatives of Palestine, Israel and other countries willing to absorb refugees will convene to work out mechanisms for the best implementation of the requests of the refugees. There is no prior commitment by any of the parties to absorb all of those refugees who choose to relocate in any of the countries selected by the refugees, yet, with the signing of the Peace Treaty, the sides obligate themselves to act in good faith and to assume the maximal responsibility for cooperating with the international body in the absorption of all of the refugees and putting a final positive conclusion to the plight of the Palestinian refugees.


The international community, Israel and the Palestinian state will initiate and contribute to an international fund to compensate refugees for verifiable lost property. The sides agree that all Palestinian refugees will receive a financial payment from an international fund for Palestinian refugees in which the State of Israel will participate. This payment is in recognition of the years of suffering of the refugees. The International Fund for Palestinian Refugees will also engage in a robust international effort to construct new housing for Palestinian refugees in the State of Palestine.

Refugees will be able to present property loss claims to an international commission that will work alongside of the International Fund for Palestinian Refugees.

Compensation for lost property will be made available by the fund in the form of alternative new housing in the State of Palestine and/or cash payments.

The international community will offer to compensate toward bettering the lot of those refugees willing to remain in their present country of residence, or for those who wish to immigrate to third-party countries.

With the coming into force of the agreement on permanent peace, UNRWA will have a period of two years to close down its operation and activities. All responsibilities currently within the domain of UNRWA will be reverted to the government of the State of Palestine.


Security for the people and states of Israel and Palestine is the most fundamental undertaking of the agreement on permanent peace. The ultimate responsibility for security must be undertaken by two parties themselves.

If there will not be security and total efforts for combating terrorism are not undertaken, there will be little chance of implementing most of the aspects of the peace agreement.

Security will be best provided for through the cooperation and coordination by the security apparatuses of both sides. Palestine will employ a robust security mechanism including national police, intelligence, border police, a counter-terrorism force, a rapid response force and a special (joint) force for Jerusalem. Palestine will not have an air force, navy, artillery or any other offensive capability.

Palestine will hold responsibility for the security of its external borders. For a period of not less than 10 years, agreed-upon numbers of Israeli troops will be deployed in joint forces in agreed-to designated areas and routes under Palestinian command. Israeli early warning electronics surveillance including the deployment of drones over Palestine will be monitored by joint command centers under Palestinian command. During the first five years of the 10-year period (unless changed by agreement) US-trained personnel will monitor the activities of the joint patrols and command centers and verify the successful cooperation of the parties. The US personnel will also be available for and engage in dispute resolution in real time when and if necessary.

Palestinian border police will be trained by the US Homeland Security and TSA and will be fully responsible for managing Palestine’s external borders. For an agreed period of five years, a “fail-safe” mechanism including appropriate online and closed-circuit communications will be established that will enable Israel to delay the entry into Palestine of people or goods for a 24-hour period, during which time US monitors will review the case and determine the validity of the Israeli concerns. Instances deemed valid by the US monitors and disputed by the Palestinian Border Police will be brought immediately to a joint Israeli-Palestinian review mechanism for final determination. US monitors will make the final determination in cases of disputes between the parties.


Both parties have the legitimate right to keep non-wanted persons out of their territory. In general all Israelis and Palestinians should have free access and movement to each other’s territory on the basis of security parameters determined in the security annex. In a state of real peace, people from both sides should be able to gain entry into the other side. It is equally understood that certain people who are considered a threat to security will not be allowed entry into the other side.

There will be a double filtering system on determining who is considered a threat. The first-level filter is the internal one – each side should determine who are the people from their own side who should be denied entry to the other side. Regarding others who have the right to apply for entry, the parties should determine equal and parallel criteria and rules for issuing various types of entry permits. This could include single-day visits, weeklong, month or months or longer. The permits could be for tourism, business, work, health care, etc.

Systems should be established that would enable people crossing borders to get a permit at the border at the time of crossing in the least amount of time possible. This should be the goal for the beginning of the process until the time, hopefully in the future, when restrictions on movement will be completely removed.

Systems should also exist to enable applications for entry permits online. Permits could be printed at home and with encoded applications be verified at the border crossing. Modern technologies should be employed to make the process as easy as possible, including the use of smart phone applications. The basic goal is to facilitate movement efficiently while maintaining a high level of security. There does not have to be any contradiction between rapid and efficient movement through borders and security.

As soon as possible the parties should agree to return to the access of Palestinian vehicles to Israel, taking into account all of the security precautions that are necessary for this to happen. The international community could help to facilitate this by providing additional assistance in the form of security scanners for vehicles, but even in the absence of international support for this purpose, Israel should place those scanners at the agreed border crossing as soon as possible, even prior to the full implementation of all of the agreement.

Possibilities for double visa application – for foreigners entering Israel or Palestine who wish to visit the other side as well. It should be expected that once the Palestinians have control of entry and exit points to the Palestinian states, large numbers of diaspora Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims will be visiting Palestine regularly and it can be easily assumed that many of them will wish to visit Israel as well. A mechanism should be designed and made accessible for applying for a double visa. This should be an online process for streamlined and quick answers.

Those requiring additional treatment for additional security checks could be referred to consulates and embassies.


Both sides recognize the importance of close economic cooperation between them and will work to foster economic development for the benefits of both peoples. Both sides will work to fully implement the Agreements on Movement and Access.

Within the negotiations on permanent status, both sides will undertake the evaluation of the Paris Protocol on the joint customs envelope and will decide if to continue and to improve the protocol or to reach an alternative kind of economic framework. Until the time that a new agreement on economic relations is reached, both parties will work to fully implement the Paris Protocol in all of its aspects.


Based on the Olso II agreement in which Israel recognized Palestine’s water rights, both sides agree to immediately increase the allocation of water to Palestine by 20 percent until a new water agreement is reached. The new water agreement in the full permanent-status agreement will be based on the principle of equitable water rights and allocations. Both sides will work together for advancing infrastructure and development projects that will increase the amount of water available by all means including desalination, waste water treatment, repair of water networks, etc.

Both sides undertake to work immediately on the advancement of environmental infrastructure projects that cause damage to the environment, especially those which have a cross-boundary nature.

Alternatively (and preferably) a model of full joint water management could be adopted based on the creation of a bilateral public-private partnership not-for-profit company which is responsible for providing for all water needs for all peoples at reasonable prices. The company will run a closed budget and all revenues will be devoted to expanding and improving water delivery systems and increasing the quantity and quality of fresh water for all uses. Water will not have an international identity, all water between the River and the Sea belongs to all of the people in that area on an equal basis. There will be no differentiation on pricing of water by nationality. Differentiation on pricing will exist only by how it is used and not by who uses it. Domestic water will be the cheapest water and made available to all.


With the signing of this Declaration of Principles the two sides undertake to work in partnership in a decisive way to foster a culture of peace, including the undertaking of curricula review and modification of textbooks and the inclusion of education for peace within the schools systems of both sides.

The two sides also agree to make a concerted and decisive effort to eliminate all forms of incitement against the other side in the public arena and in the media.


Both sides make a full commitment to advance comprehensive programs for people-to-people peacemaking activities at all levels of both societies. The governments of both sides declare their undertaking to provide full legitimacy for these activities and to allocate budgets for advancing them. The two sides call upon the international community to support the people- to-people peacemaking efforts with international donor support.


Both sides will establish senior cabinet-level positions of peace ministers. The Peace Ministries will be empowered to coordinate the implementation of all non-military aspects of the peace treaty. The ministries will coordinate the development of cooperation between all of the parallel government ministries on both sides. The ministries will foster and support the work of non-governmental organizations supporting the development of peace and normalization of relations between the two peoples.


The parties agree to complete the negotiations for a full permanent- status agreement by the end of April 2015. The agreement will include a timetable for implementation. The parties will also agree to specific performance-related benchmarks to ensure the full implementation of the agreement.


The parties agree that a mechanism for third-party monitoring and verification of implementation be included in the full permanent-status negotiations. The monitoring and verification mechanism will be led by the United States and will include other nationals that the US will bring in with the agreement of the parties. The monitoring and verification mechanism will be empowered to monitor all aspects of the peace treaty and to verify the full and proper implementation of both parties’ treaty obligations.

The Monitoring and Verification Mechanism will issue regular reports, which will be made public. The Monitoring and Verification Mechanism may also issue confidential reports on sensitive issues concerning security on the condition that both parties receive the reports. The agreed-upon mechanism will also provide for negotiation, mediation and, if need be, arbitration of disputes concerning the implementation of the agreement.


Once a full agreement is reached which satisfactorily deals with all of the issues in conflict, the US with Israel’s agreement will sponsor a resolution in the UN Security Council for full statehood membership in the UN of the State of Palestine.

A second UNSC resolution will be sponsored by the US that grants the Israel-Palestine peace agreement the force of international law and legitimacy. The UNSC resolution on Israeli-Palestinian peace will declare that a state of peace exists between Israel and Palestine. The resolution will declare that the Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement fulfills UNGA Resolution 181 with the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab Palestinian state in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Furthermore, the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will constitute the full implementation of UNGA Resolution 194 and UNSC resolutions 242, 338 and 1397.

The parties recognize Palestine and Israel as the nation-states of their respective peoples. Israel and Palestine agree to adhere to principles of the UN charter and to guarantee the full rights of minorities within their states regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender, including the Palestinian minority in Israel and the Jewish minority in Palestine.

At the time this article was being prepared, there seems to be a breakdown in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. This is of course just one of many. The ideas that I have presented in this framework document will sooner or later be similar to the ones that eventually become embodied in a future Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. As this conflict continues to be one between two national movements fighting over the right to a territorial expression of their identity – to be a free people in their own land, there remains only one solution to the conflict, and that is two states for two peoples. Eventually the two peoples will find the path that will lead them to peace.

Gershon Baskin is co-chairman of IPCRI, Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI), formerly known as the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, a nonprofit think tank that combines research with peace-building actions and advocacy across Israel and Palestine. He is a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Schalit. His new book Freeing Gilad: the Secret Back Channel has been published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan in Hebrew, and The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas by The Toby Press.

Originally Published in 3 articles between March 19, 2014 and April 2, 2014 and and

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin is one of the most recognizable names in the Middle East Peace process. His dedication to creating a culture of peace and environmental awareness, coupled with his impeccable integrity, has earned him the trust of the leaders of all sides of the century old conflict. Few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on promoting peace, security, prosperity and bi-national relationships.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.
Gershon Baskin