IPCRI Israeli-Palestinian-International Working Group on Monitoring, Verification, and Implementation Assistance of the Political and Security Road Map for Peace
This is a document of recommendations developed by the working group at its meeting in the end of October 2003 in Istanbul, Turkey. This is a policy document aimed at helping to re-launch the Road Map Process and to enhance the chances of proper and full implementation by both parties through the monitoring and verification mechanisms that must be an integral part of the entire process.
The Road Map for peace remains the only accepted framework for retrieving Israel and Palestine from the endless violence of the past three years. Both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (the parties) have declared that they are committed to this process. The US led quartet has continuously declared its commitment to assist the parties in the implementation of the Road Map.
In order for the Road Map to have a chance of survival and lead to the fulfillment of the vision presented by President Bush in June 2001, the parties must demonstrate their political will and commitment by deeds and actions more than by words and declarations. The Palestinian Authority (PA) must take real and immediate action against terrorist groups and terrorist infrastructure and the Government of Israel (GOI) must take real and immediate action to allow the Palestinian people to return to normal life as soon as possible and to dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001 and freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements). These two elements are the heart of Phase I of the Road Map. It is clear that real actions of implementation by both parties will immediately enhance the mutual implementation of the Road Map.
The Road Map document has incorporated within the text a process for monitoring and verification of the implementation of the parties by international partners. The failure of the parties to implement their commitments under the Road Map since the process was launched in June 2003 at the Aqaba summit have created additional difficulties in trying to re-launch it once again. The only advantage in the hands of the parties in November 2003 is the possibility of learning from the mistakes of the past five months. These lessons must also be learned by the United States who through the work of Ambassador John Wolf and the United States Monitoring Team (USMT) began to lay down the infrastructure and apparatuses of the monitoring and verification process. The learning curve must be speedy, failing to learn quickly and effective will cost human lives.
We believe that the process of monitoring and verifying the implementation of the Road Map by the parties must also include a commitment of the US led Quartet to provide implementation assistance and facilitation. Lesson #1 to be learned from the past five months is that the parties can not “do it by themselves”. We strongly recommend that the Government of the United States expand the mandate of its Monitoring Team to include the function of providing implementation facilitation and assistance. (See below under Recommendations to the United States).
The following recommendations are directed at each of the parties separately, as well as together. Recommendations will also be directed at the United States and the other members of the Quartet. We believe that specific proposals or requests issued by the parties to the US-led Quartet have a great probability of being accepted by the 3rd parties. Therefore, some of the recommendations in this document are aimed at encouraging the parties to reach understandings between themselves on means for enhancing and strengthening the potential implementation facilitating roles of the 3rd parties.
These recommendations will be delivered to the concerned parties directly, in face-to-face meetings with the relevant representatives.
Specific Recommendations to the United States Monitoring Team
The United States is accepted by the parties as the main international interlocutor capable of mediating and facilitating negotiations between them. Furthermore, the parties accept, and even call upon the United States, to assist robustly in the mutual implementation of the Road Map, particularly when concerning the commitments and obligations of the other party.
The primary expectation for third party participation in the Road Map process by advocates of this process is for the third party to help ensure the implementation of understandings and commitments as well as to assist in the negotiations process between the parties. We strongly recommend that the Government of the United States expand the mandate of its Monitoring Team to include the function of providing implementation facilitation and assistance.
We do not believe that there must be a large US contingent of monitors in the initial stages of the Road Map. We do not expect or recommend that the US monitors get pulled into having to investigate every incident on the ground. The US team must, however, be deeply and fully engaged at the political and policy levels. We urge the Government of the US to expand the mandate of the monitoring mission to include the ability to assist, facilitate, and enhance compliance possibilities by both parties and to play an active role in facilitating negotiations between the parties where and when this assistance is necessary and warranted.
It can easily be assumed that the future will be filled with a continuation of political and security crises between the parties. It can be assumed that events follow events at a pace that rapidly escalate, almost always leading to a breakdown in communication between the parties (whatever limited communication has been established) and to a cessation or a slow down of implementation of obligations and commitments. It is essential to plan for the next round of crises before it occurs. The following are a several recommendations that do not provide all of the answers for this problem, but offer a few suggestions:
1. It is recommended that the United States Monitoring Team enter into a dialogue with the parties, separately and together, aimed at having them suggest means, mechanisms, structures, and formal operating procedures for confronting the next round of crises.
2. It is recommended that a tri-lateral hotline be established between the Office of the Head of the Monitoring Mission and the Offices of the Prime Ministers of the parties to be used prior to, during and following crisis situations. The use of the tri-lateral hotline could be initiated by either of the two-parties or by the Head of the US Monitoring Team.
We recommend that the United States Monitoring team seek, with the parties, to re-establish the mechanisms and apparatuses of the Israeli-Palestinian security coordination and cooperation based on a modified version of the RSC and the DCO’s. The primary revision of the model would be the integration of the coordinating and leading role to be played by the United States Monitoring Team. The aim of the US role would be to re-launch the process of coordination and cooperation of the security forces, to facilitate and convene meetings of the parties at the highest levels of the Security Coordination and Cooperation bodies, to facilitate the re-establishment of the field level coordination and cooperation bodies, and to assist the parties in crisis management at the field level in order to pre-empt the breakdown of the coordination and cooperation as occurred in the past.
The process of re-establishing cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian intelligence apparatuses will be long and difficult. It will be built most effectively through proven actions over time. The first step in re-establishing the cooperation can be through the good offices of the US Monitoring Team in reaching an understanding regarding the communication of “hot warnings” - specific and general, from the Israeli intelligence apparatuses to those of the Palestinians. The understanding, facilitated and monitoring by the USMT would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, expanded or reduced by performance and success.
1. While we share the view that the optimal Israeli-Palestinian engagement would be bi-lateral and direct, the reality is that little progress is likely to occur if it is fully dependent on bi-lateral relations. There are a whole set of unilateral steps that could be taken by the two parties in a manner that should be coordinated by the US that would facilitate the re-launching of the Road Map process and help to enhance the chances of successful implementation. It is understood that there is a correlation regarding the amount of pressure that can be applied by the US on each party separately to fully implement its commitments under the Road Map, and the extent to which proper implementation is being carried out by the other party. Nonetheless, there is also a need and a possibility to encourage the sides to undertake unilateral steps regarding the implementation of each side’s obligations regardless of the implementation of the other party. These steps include:
Additional unilateral steps are listed in the Recommendations to the GOI and to the PA.
· Tri-lateral models – learning the lessons
We encourage the US to undertake a study on the workings of the US-Israel-Palestine water committee that has continued to work during the past three years and is the only one of tens of joint Israeli-Palestinian cooperative bodies that has survived the intifada. We recommend that this study include inputs from the Israeli and Palestinian heads of the committee and that the results of the study, the lessons learned, be incorporated into the possible advancement of similar tri-lateral bodies in the future of the process of implementing, monitoring and verifying the Road Map.
We recommend that the US consider the importance of public diplomacy within the framework of the monitoring and verification process. There are real potential benefits for the process in making the publics more aware of the process, both as a means of creating great transparency in the peace making endeavors as well as a means of generating internal public pressure, each side towards its own government, in encouraging and persuading the parties to fulfill their obligations under the Road Map. We are aware that there are also potential pit falls with regard to making public certain kinds of information and dynamics that could also lead to the demise of the process. Therefore, we recommend that this issue be examined in greater depth, in consultation with the parties and the other members of the Quartet.
In this framework, we recommend that the Monitoring and Verification apparatus establish a public information arm that would provide regular press briefings on those elements that are determined to be important to be placed in the public domain.
In light of the statements by President Bush that the role of the US in monitoring the process would not be limited to monitoring but also to coordinating implementation, we recommend that the US monitoring team continue in an ongoing process of brainstorming and consulting with outside parties, including Israeli and Palestinian non-formal and non-governmental institutions thereby making use of assets from outside the US team.
Specific Recommendations to the Quartet or Members of the Quartet
1. We recommend that the good offices of the Ambassador of the UK be called upon to facilitate the reconvening of the Joint Economic Committee and its sub committees. The continued level of involvement of the 3rd party in this role could be determined in agreement by the parties with the Ambassador. We do however recommend that the Ambassador continue to facilitate the reconvening of the JEC and sub committees for as long as necessary to ensure the regular and stable continuation and sustainability of the Committee.
2. We recommend that a party from within the Quartet undertake the constructive task of identifying specific problems and cases of specific suffering to Palestinians who live in areas that are adjacent to the security fence. This list should be submitted to the GOI with recommendations for taking actions that could mitigate some of the suffering caused by the fence. The party from within the Quartet that will work on this issue should also monitor any developments accordingly to the other Members of the Quartet.
3. We recommend that a party from within the Quartet prepare a list of check points within the West Bank and Gaza (and not check points between the Palestinian territories and Israel) that are viewed as creating the greatest hardships to Palestinians as well as those check points that by removing them would have the greatest positive impact on the Palestinian economy. This list should then be submitted to the GOI with a request to consider the removal of those check points as a matter of high priority in returning normalcy to Palestinian life as soon as possible based on security concerns. The party from within the Quartet should also monitor and report to the rest of the Quartet on any developments concerning the list of check points.
4. We recommend that the Quartet assist in the re-establishment of communication and working relationships between Palestinian and Israeli governmental ministries. The Quartet could assist by providing both technical means of direct communication at the Ministerial level as well as facilitating initial contacts, meetings and problem solving assistance. The aim of the Quartet would be to establish efficient and stable working bi-lateral relations between the specific governmental ministries of the parties. Furthermore, the Quartet would encourage the parties to cooperate on joint projects to rebuild relations and to improve the lives of people affected by the projects.
Recommendations for the two parties together
Understanding that the constructive expansion of the role of the Quartet can be facilitated and advanced through requests of the parties to undertake specific tasks, we have developed a set of recommendations to the parties, separately and together, aimed at reaching understandings between them that would allow for the enhancement of 3rd party roles in the process. We believe that this is necessary in order to increase the possibilities for the success of the Road Map for Peace.
While understanding the ramifications and implications of entering into a new hudna with regards to the most basic of obligations to dismantle terrorist organizations and infrastructure, we believe that this process must begin with a mutual agreed upon cessation of hostilities. The first thing that must happen is to prevent further killing and violence. The saving of human lives is what stands before us, more than anything else.
We believe that the Palestinian Authority must remain fully committed to dismantling terrorists – organizations and infrastructure, and to take real actions against terrorist – organizations and infrastructure. We recognize that this is a process that will progress overtime. In order to save human lives immediately, we recommend that the parties agree to a mutual cessation of hostilities between them. Given the current difficulties in reaching agreements between the parties on a full ceasefire, we recommend that steps be implemented immediately or as soon as possible by both sides as unilateral coordinated steps. The Palestinian Authority should bring about a cessation of hostilities by all Palestinian organizations and factions. The GOI should initiate a cessation of hostilities against the Palestinians including targeted killings of people who are not real ticking bombs. These unilateral steps should not be limited in time. The USMT should encourage these steps to both parties and at the same time constantly remind the parties that these steps do not replace commitments and obligations to dismantle terrorism and to return life to normal in the Palestinian territories.
According to the Road Map, elections for a new Palestinian Legislative Council and President are scheduled to be held at the outset of Phase II. Presuming that the parties will seriously undertake their commitments of Phase I, and also assuming that Phase I will last between 14-16 months, we recommend that preparations for Palestinian elections begin at the earliest possible date with the hope that these elections would take place as soon as possible. Preparations for elections include the finalization of the internal Palestinian legal requirements – the election law, the population-voter registry, etc. as well as having the ability to move freely within the Palestinian territories for organization and campaigning needs. The full preparation for elections can commence only once the Israeli forces redeploy to the positions they held prior to September 28, 2000, as stipulated in the Road Map. It is clear that this redeployment will only occur once the security situation has dramatically improved and the Palestinian Authority is exerting its authority and responsibilities effectively.
Specific Recommendations to the PA
We recommend that the PA move ahead on implementation of issues in the Road that are not inextricably linked to each other. Progress by the PA can be advanced on certain issues that would contribute overall to the possibilities for successful implementation by the Israelis and therefore are of high interest to the PA to implement. Examples of such issues include:
a. The return of the Rule of Law to the Palestinian territories in all legal aspects of internal Palestinian relations, e.g. commerce, civil affairs, crime prevention, etc.
b. The reorganization and restructuring of the Palestinian security apparatuses under one single unified command and subordinate to the Political authority.
Specific Recommendations to the GOI
1. We recommend that the GOI issue a binding statement that the line of the security fence will not prejudice the final outcome of the permanent status borders. We further recommend that a similar binding statement should be issued by the Quartet.
2. We recommend that the GOI initiate an in-depth analysis of how and where the existence of the fence will have serious negative impacts on the lives of normal Palestinian citizens living in areas adjacent to the fence. We urge the GOI to take unilateral and coordinated actions with the assistance of third parties, if necessary, to mitigate, as much as possible, the suffering caused by the fence. The third party role in this issue should be to provide the GOI with specific cases where there is evidence that the fence has created specific problems and is causing suffering that can be mitigated by Israeli actions (short of removing the fence).