Clinton Proposal on Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Meeting with President Clinton
White House, December 23, 2000
United States: President Clinton, Secretary
Albright, John Podesta, Samuel Berger, Steve Richetti, Bruce
Reidel, Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller, Robert Malley, Gamal Hilal
Palestine: Sa'eb Erakat, Mohammad Dahlan, Samih
Abed, Ghaith Al-Omari.
Israel: Shlomo Ben-Ami, Gilead Sher, Penny Medan,
Shlomo Yanai, Gidi Grinstein
Based on what I heard, I believe that the solution should
be in the mid-90%'s, between 94-96% of the West Bank territory of
the Palestinian State.
The land annexed by Israel should be compensated by a land
swap of 1-3% in addition to territorial arrangements such as a
permanent safe passage.
The Parties also should consider the swap of leased land
to meet their respective needs. There are creative ways of doing
this that should address Palestinian and Israeli needs and
The Parties should develop a map consistent with the
* 80% of settlers in blocks.
* Minimize annexed areas.
* 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withdrawn by mutual consent.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
threats 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 agreed.
Regarding emergency developments, I understand that you
will still have to develop a map of the relevant areas and routes.
But in defining what is an emergency, 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 determination.
On airspace, I suggest that the state of Palestine will
have sovereignty over its airspace but that two sides should work
out special arrangements for Israeli training and operational
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 state."
This will be consistent with the fact that in addition to
a strong Palestinian security forces. Palestine will have an
international force for border security and deterrent purposes.
Jerusalem and Refugees:
I have a sense that the remaining gaps have more to do
with formulations than practical realities.
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 the 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,
and you can agree one of these. 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 these 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; b)the Western Wall and the Holy of
Holies of which it is a part.
There will be a fine 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.
An international commission should be established to
implement all the aspects that flow from your agreement:
compensation, resettlement, rehabilitation, etc.
The US is prepared to lead an international effort to help
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 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 state.
Any solution must address both needs.
The solution will have to be consistent with the two-state
approach that both sides have accepted as a way to end the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict: 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 would be the focal point for
Palestinians who choose to return to the area without ruling out
that Israel will accept some of these refugees.
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.
In light of the above, 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
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 areas acquired
in the land swap would be the right of 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 of the refugees would be absorbed
into Israel consistent with Israel's sovereign decision.
I believe that priority should be given to the refugee
population in Lebanon.
The parties would agree that this implements resolution
The End of Conflict:
I propose that the agreement clearly mark the end of the
conflict and its implementation put an end to all claims. This
could be implemented through a UN Security Counsel Resolution that
notes that Resolutions 242 and 338 have been implemented and
through the release of Palestinian prisoners.
I believe that this is the outline of a fair and lasting
It gives the Palestinian people the ability to determine
their future on their own land, a sovereign and viable state
recognized by the international community, Al-Quds as its capital,
sovereignty over the Haram, and new lives for the refugees.
It gives the people of Israel a genuine end to the
conflict, real security, the preservation of sacred religious
ties, the incorporation of 80% of the settlers into Israel, and
the largest Jewish Jerusalem in history recognized by all as its
This is the best that I can do. Brief your leaders and
tell me if they are prepared to come for discussions based on
these ideas. If so, I would meet them next week separately. If
not, I have taken this as far as I can.
These are my ideas. If they are not accepted, they are
not just off the table, they also go with me when I leave office.
Note: After reading the above text to the Israeli and
Palestinian delegates in the Roosevelt Room of the White House,
President Clinton left the room. His aides went over the text
subsequently to ensure that each side had copied the points
accurately. No written text was presented. This version is
derived from that published in Haaretz (English), January
1, 2001, and a slightly more complete version issued by the
Jerusalem Media and Communication Center.