Despite the dynamics on the ground in the West Bank, there is still a 3-5 years window to finalize the implementation of a 2-state solution, provided that a true diplomatic process starts no later than early 2013; otherwise, we are concerned by the de-facto creation of a “one state solution”.
The emerging Arab Spring revolution does not change the long-term strategic interests of the people in the region . Thus, the creation of a regional process, based on the API and the IPI visions, will offer a positive horizon and will be a stabilizing factor while the region is going through tumultuous changes.
Israeli decision makers prefer an Interim agreement on borders and statehood (they are concerned that betting on successfully concluding a permanent status agreement is a high risk strategy}; while Palestinian decision makers prefer a final status agreement (they are concerned that any interim agreement might become a permanent one, with no horizon on the final solutions for all core issues}. Therefore, any diplomatic process must take this “insolvable equation” into consideration.
Proposed Regional Process – Principles
The IPI Group proposes a new regional process based on a regional conference – similar to the Madrid 1991. The Conference will be led by the Quartet, and it will invite the following participants:
- Israel, The PA, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco
- Arab League (representing the remaining Arab countries)
- Syria/Lebanon participation will be determined based on the events on the ground.
- Egypt, Qatar, GCC, Turkey
At the cornerstone of the conference, Israel will present a regional vision based on the IPI proposal, accepting the API as a basis for negotiations of a final status agreements and end of all conflicts.
Together with the API, this IPI will frame the negotiations towards regional peace and security agreements, and build the confidence and the trust needed to make progress. The presentation of the Israeli vision can be done in several ways – either through an Israeli declaration of an IPI, or through a “vision deposit’ submitted to the Quartet.
Note that at this stage the Arab and Israeli positions (the API and an IPI respectively) need not to be identical, yet there should be a great degree of overlapping key principles.
- The re-conference agreement will include:
- Reconfirmation and reinforcement of the parties’ obligations under the roadmap
- A declaration of the shared vision – the API and an official IPI (accepting the API as a basis)
- Negotiation tracks, and objectives/timeline per each track
- A set of guarantees for each party
The formula of the negotiations will be based on the idea that the parties should start negotiations towards a permanent status agreement – to be concluded within 36 months from the start of the conference (backed by timeline, guarantees and facilitation effort by the Quartet}, AND during that period, within approximately 6-12 months – they will achieve the first milestone which will be the formation and recognition of a Palestinian state – and from that moment the conclusion.
Of the core issues (final borders, Jerusalem and refugees) will be achieved between two states.
The structure of the conference tracks will be as follows – upon its ignition, the conference will launch IN PARALLEL several tracks, as follows:
1) An Israeli-Palestinian Regional track, with two milestones:
a) A 6-12 months Israeli-Palestinian an Milestone , resulting in the establishment of a Palestinian State which will be recognized by the UN based on a resolution submitted jointly by the PA and Israel, as the result of the negotiations. Immediately upon that milestone, Israel will start the withdrawal from the West Bank to the borders agreed between the parties, and the parties will start implementing other state-to-state agreements, while in parallel continuing the negotiations on the core issues.
b) A 24-36 month Israeli-Palestinian Permanent Milestone , resulting in the final status solution for all core issues, with a 36 month timeframe to implement Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of final borders.
2) Parallel Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese track , as applicable
3) Multi-lateral tracks on Economic Development, Regional Security and Water
Thus, by using the vehicle of the regional vision (API and IPI) as a framework for confidence building, the parties can make progress in parallel. Within 6-12 months, Palestinians should achieve an internationally recognized state within temporary borders, and in parallel work on all core issues and reach final agreement on final borders, Jerusalem and Refugees.
The above approach, and especially the framework/timeline and the APl/IPI shared vision as the political horizon for both parties, will offer the Palestinians the confidence that the first milestone does NOT become the final one, while allowing Israel to negotiate the final statues agreement without the risk that failing to reach an agreement means total failure and no progress at all.