Excerpt from Israel's Revised Disengagement Plan—Main Principles
(June 6, 2004)
Published by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office
"The purpose of the plan is to lead to a better security, political, economic and demographic situation."
By the early 2000s, relations between the state of Israel and Palestinians living in territories occupied by Israel had once again deteriorated. Despite several peace conferences and numerous rounds of negotiations, despite signed resolutions and accords (formal agreements), Israelis and Palestinians could not establish and maintain peace between them. In 2000, Palestinians once again erupted in sustained popular violence against both Israel and the ineffective Palestinian administration in the Occupied Territories (areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip taken over by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967). The Second Intifada, or uprising, led Israel to cut off diplomatic relations with the Palestinians.
Unable and unwilling to work together, Israelis and Palestinians appealed to the international community. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, Danish foreign minister Per Stig Moeller, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten met to establish a workable Israeli-Palestinianpeace plan in 2002. On September 17, 2002, the group, called the Quartet because it included representatives from the European Union, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations (an international organization founded in 1945 and made up of most of the countries of the world), issued a document named "the roadmap to peace." The roadmap was designed as a political plan that would implement a lasting peace in the Middle East after a three-year transition. The transitional stages included a Palestinian ceasefire and an Israeli army withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, followed by the establishment of a provisional, or temporary, Palestinian state in 2005, and then negotiations to resolve the future of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and permanent borders for Israel and the Palestinian state—all long-standing issues in the conflict. The plan was greeted by the Israelis and Palestinians with varying degrees of acceptance, yet it remained, as of 2005, the most complete plan for peace in the region. However, continued violence in the region prevented any progress toward peace.
Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon (1928–) knew that either Israel or Palestine had to take action if peace was ever to be a reality in the region. Unable to negotiate a satisfactory peace with the Palestinians, Sharon decided to have Israel take the first step toward peace on its own. In 2004 he announced that Israel would withdraw military personnel and remove selected settlements from the Gaza Strip and portions of the West Bank, without the need for the Palestinian Authority, the government of the Palestinian people, to yield any land or resources. The following document is a portion of the Israeli disengagement plan to remove their army and people from parts of the Occupied Territories.
Things to remember while reading "Israel's Revised Disengagement Plan—Main Principles, June 6, 2004"
- The disengagement plan does not replace the roadmap to peace proposed by the Quartet.
- Think about the Israeli strategy behind its disengagement plan. What benefits to the Israelis are there in the plan?
- The Palestinians have argued for Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories for many years. Why might Israel agree that this is a good policy?
Excerpt from Israel's Revised Disengagement Plan—Main Principles (June 6, 2004)
1. Background—Political and Security Implications
The State of Israel is committed to the peace process... . The State of Israel has come to the conclusion that there is currently no reliable Palestinian partner with which it can make progress in a two-sided peace process. Accordingly, it has developed a plan of revised disengagement (hereinafter—the plan), based on the following considerations:
One. The stalemate dictated by the current situation is harmful. In order to break out of this stalemate, the State of Israel is required to initiate moves not dependent on Palestinian cooperation.
Two. The purpose of the plan is to lead to a better security, political, economic and demographic situation.
Three. In any future permanent status arrangement, there will be no Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, it is clear that in the West Bank, there are areas which will be part of the State of Israel, including major Israeli population centers, cities, towns and villages, security areas and other places of special interest to Israel.
Four. The State of Israel supports the efforts of the United States, operating alongside the international community, to promote the reform process, the construction of institutions and the improvement of the economy and welfare of the Palestinian residents, in order that a new Palestinian leadership will emerge and prove itself capable of fulfilling its commitments under the Roadmap.
Five. Relocation from the Gaza Strip and from an area in Northern Samaria should reduce friction with the Palestinian population.
Six. The completion of the plan will serve to dispel the claims regarding Israel's responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Seven. The process set forth in the plan is without prejudice to the relevant agreements between the State of Israel and the Palestinians. Relevant arrangements shall continue to apply.
Eight. International support for this plan is widespread and important. This support is essential in order to bring the Palestinians to implement in practice their obligations to combat terrorism and effect reforms as required by the Roadmap, thus enabling the parties to return to the path of negotiation... .
3.1 The Gaza Strip
1) The State of Israel will evacuate the Gaza Strip, including all existing Israeli towns and villages, and will redeploy outside the Strip. This will not include military deployment in the area of the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt ("the Philadelphi Route") as detailed below.
2) Upon completion of this process, there shall no longer be any permanent presence of Israeli security forces in the areas of Gaza Strip territory which have been evacuated.
3.2 The West Bank
3) The State of Israel will evacuate an area in Northern Samaria (Ganim, Kadim, Sa-Nur and Homesh), and all military installations in this area, and will redeploy outside the vacated area.
4) Upon completion of this process, there shall no longer be any permanent presence of Israeli security forces in this area.
5) The move will enable territorial contiguity for Palestinians in the Northern Samaria area.
6) The State of Israel will assist, together with the international community, in improving the transportation infrastructure in the West Bank in order to facilitate the contiguity of Palestinian transportation.
7) The process will facilitate normal life and Palestinian economic and commercial activity in the West Bank.
3.3 The intention is to complete the planned relocation process by the end of 2005... .
10. Economic Arrangements
... In the longer term, and in line with Israel's interest in encouraging greater Palestinian economic independence, the State of Israel expects to reduce the number of Palestinian workers entering Israel, to the point that it ceases completely. The State of Israel supports the development of sources of employment in the Gaza Strip and in Palestinian areas of the West Bank, by international elements... .
The goal is that implementation of the plan will lead to improving the situation and breaking the current deadlock. If and when there is evidence from the Palestinian side of its willingness, capability and implementation in practice of the fight against terrorism, full cessation of terrorism and violence and the institution of reform as required by the Roadmap, it will be possible to return to the track of negotiation and dialogue.
What happened next ...
On February 8, 2005, at the Sharm el-Sheik summit in Egypt, Palestinian and Israeli leaders met for the first time in four years. Newly elected Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (1935–) met with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to formalize a truce, or temporary peace, between Israelis and Palestinians. Although both Israeli and Palestinian leaders acknowledged that the violence and division between their peoples may continue for a time, both were hopeful of eventual peace as neighbors.
Israel's Cabinet approved the plan for the removal of the Israeli army and settlements in the Occupied Territories on February 20, 2005. The very next day, 500 Palestinian prisoners were released. The Israeli government planned to send 8,500 eviction notices to Jewish settlers, which would remove all Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and evacuate four settlements in the northern portion of the West Bank. The same day the Israeli Cabinet voted on the plan, it also announced its intention to build a wall, or barrier, to guard Jewish settlements left in the West Bank. It has yet to be seen whether or not the disengagement plan will result in further peace negotiations. However, it does raise the question of how Israel will use the disengagement plan to its advantage during future discussions about permanent borders between Israel and the proposed state of Palestine.
Did you know ...
- The disengagement plan is the first Israeli proposal to evacuate settlements in the Occupied Territories since occupation started in 1967.
- 130,000 Israelis protested the disengagement plan in a demonstration in Jerusalem on January 30, 2005.
- Observers note that Ariel Sharon's plan removes settlers from areas of the Occupied Territories that are the most difficult to defend.
- The disengagement plan leaves Jewish settlements of nearly 85,000 settlers in the West Bank.
Consider the following ...
- What advantages did Israel gained by making this decision to withdraw from certain of the Occupied Territories without requiring anything in return from the Palestinians? Explain.
- Describe the disadvantages of the Disengagement Plan for both Israelis and the Arab Palestinians.
- Could the Palestinians have made a decision that would have made as big an impact on peace as the Israeli Disengagement Plan? Explain.
For More Information
Gunderson, Cory Gideon. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Edina, MN: Abdo
Publishing, 2004. Sharp, Anne Wallace. The Palestinians. Detroit: Lucent Books, 2005.
Smith, Charles D., ed. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents. 4th ed. Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001.
"Israeli Cabinet OKs Gaza Withdrawal." Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2005.
"Address to the Fourth Herzliya Conference." Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (accessed on June 24, 2005).
"The Cabinet Resolution Regarding the Disengagement Plan," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Reference+Documents... (accessed on June 24, 2005).
"Q&A: The Middle East Summit and Its Aftermath." NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4502428 (accessed on June 24, 2005).
"The Renewed Road to Peace." Foreign Policy Association. http://www.fpa.org/newsletter_info2583/newsletter_info_sub_... (accessed on June 24, 2005).