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Below are summaries of current PLO positions regarding issues caused by Israeli occupation. The summaries are followed by a detailed Negotiations Primer.

In conformity with international law and as stated in the Declaration of Principles, all of Jerusalem (and not only East Jerusalem) is subject to permanent status negotiations. Since East Jerusalem remains part of the territory occupied since 1967, Israel has no right to any part of it. As the political, economic and spiritual heart of our nation, there can be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem, in particular the Old City and the surroundingarea, as its capital. We are committed to respecting freedom of worship at, and access to, religious sites within East Jerusalem for everyone. All possible measures will be taken to protect such sites and preserve their dignity.

An agreed resolution of border-related issues is required for a durable two-state solution. A number of border-related issues will require negotiation during final status talks. Our position is that the border of our state will be the same as the borders of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as they stood on the eve of Israel’s 1967 occupation. Our position is consistent with international law, which forbids Israel from acquiring territory by force. Though Israel has no legal claim to any of the territory it occupied in 1967, we are willing to discuss minor, reciprocal, and mutually-agreed changes to the 1967 boundary, should we decide that it is in our interest to do so.

We call for a just solution to our refugee issue in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Our position on refugees is also included and supported in the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which calls for “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations.

In addition to being illegal, Israeli settlements in the oPt pose the single greatest threat to a two-state solution, and hence, to a just and lasting peace. Settlements, their infrastructure and associated areas of Israeli control grossly reduce the amount and quality of land remaining for our future state and severely undermine its territorial integrity. Under the “land for peace” formula contained in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and upon which the peace process is based, Israel is to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967 in exchange for full peace and recognition from its neighbors. Thus, Israel must undo its settlement enterprise and repair any damage caused by its illegal colonization of our territory. Israel’s unilateral 2005 Gaza ‘disengagement’ demonstrated that Israeli ‘facts on the ground’ are not permanent and, with sufficient political will, can be removed far more rapidly than they were established. One method to evacuate settlements peacefully would be for Israel to eliminate all economic and other incentives, both for the settlements and the settlers, and to start providing comparable or better incentives that would act to encourage existing settlers to move back to Israel. Until a final agreement is reached, however, a genuine and comprehensive settlement freeze is the only way to prevent further prejudicing future negotiations. The international community has repeatedly called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity. The basic elements of such a freeze are: 1) ending all settlement related construction; 2) eliminating all subsidies and economic incentives for settlements and settlers; 3) ending all planning for settlements; 4) ceasing all land confiscations, home demolitions and other property destruction; and 5) ending the migration of settlers to the oPt.

The attainment of water rights and the fair allocation of water are required for a successful two-state solution and future political stability in the region. Water issues are linked to, and impact numerous other issues to be negotiated, including borders, settlements, economic relations and refugees, among others. We must have control over and access to our water resources. We accept the principle of international water law stipulating that both Israel and Palestine are entitled to an equitable and reasonable allocation of shared freshwater resources, including those in the four main aquifers (Eastern, North-Eastern, Western and Coastal), the Jordan River, and Wadi Gaza.

We seek to ensure that we have at our disposal every possible means for producing sustainable economic growth and for striving for prosperity. To this end, we seek to apply internationally recognized legal principles and standards in reaching economic and trade agreements with our trading partners. We are dedicated to establishing Palestine as an open and free economy that attracts domestic and foreign investment. Accordingly, we seek full control over our economic domain, including import and export policies. Additionally, we seek stable, fair and efficient trade relations with Israel, as one of Palestine’s bordering, and thereby natural, trading partner. These relations will be based on a trading regime that best meets our interests and may include a Free Trade Agreement subject to internationally accepted principles of reciprocity and mutual benefits. Until a final peace agreement is reached with Israel, however, it is imperative that the Paris Protocol be fully implemented.

Negotiations Primer (Available in PDF)

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