Israel Links Further Withdrawal to Palestinian Compliance

(communicated by the Israel Government Press Office)

Jerusalem, January 14, 1998


On January 15, 1997, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed the Hebron Protocol. Attached to the accord was a "Note for the Record" prepared by Ambassador Dennis Ross at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Yasser Arafat. The Note for the Record lists various Israeli and Palestinian obligations which the two sides undertook to fulfill.

Israeli Compliance

In the year since the signing of the Hebron Protocol, Israel has fulfilled all of its commitments. Israeli forces redeployed in Hebron. Israel approved the first stage of the further redeployment from the West Bank, released Palestinian women prisoners, resumed negotiations with the PA on outstanding Interim Agreement issues and offered to resume final status talks.

Palestinian Non-Compliance

In the year since the signing of the Hebron Protocol, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has failed to fulfill the four general obligations contained in the Note for the Record: amending the Covenant, combating terror, reducing the size of its police force and restricting its governmental activity to areas under its control.

On January 14, 1998, the Israeli Cabinet approved a document detailing nearly 50 measures which the PA must take to comply with its obligations. The document makes no new demands. It relates strictly to commitments contained in the Note for the Record. Following is an executive summary of the document. For a complete copy, please contact the Israel Government Press Office (GPO) at 972-2-623-3385 or consult the GPO internet site at: www.gpo.gov.il.

Executive Summary of Document on Palestinian Commitments Approved by the Israeli Cabinet on January 14, 1998

1. Complete the Process of Revising the Palestinian National Covenant - The Palestinians have failed to complete the process of amending the Covenant which calls for Israel's destruction. In accordance with the agreement, 26 of the 33 articles in the Covenant must be amended or annulled. To comply with their obligation, the Palestinian National Council's (PNC) legal committee must issue a statement specifying which articles have been annulled in accordance with the April 1996 PNC decision. Then, the PNC itself must reconvene and pass a new resolution affirming the statement by its legal committee concerning which specific articles in the Covenant have been changed.

2. Failure to Fight Terror and Prevent Violence - One of the PA's gravest violations of the Note for the Record has been its failure to combat terror, an obligation which the Note for the Record breaks down into six specific measures. The document approved by the Israeli Cabinet relates to three of these (the remaining three will be discussed by the Cabinet at a later date):

2b. Preventing Incitement and hostile propaganda - The document includes a list of more than 80 statements made by Palestinian officials and media in the year since the signing of the Hebron Accord which constitute incitement to violence and hostile propaganda against Israel. Senior PA officials have repeatedly engaged in incitement to violence against Israel. They have praised Hamas terrorists, threatened Israel with war, and accused Israel of injecting Palestinians with the AIDS virus, poisoning Palestinian food products and threatening to destroy the Al-Aksa mosque. To comply with their obligation, PA officials must cease engaging in and encouraging incitement against Israel. PA employees, preachers in mosques and others who incite to violence against Israel must be dismissed from their posts, prosecuted and punished. The PA must also end incitement to violence against Israel in the official Palestinian media (including radio and television). The PA should undertake a comprehensive public education campaign regarding the rejection of violence and terror and normalization with Israel.

2e. Transfer of Terror Suspects to Israel - In accordance with their obligation under the accords, the PA must comply with the formal requests submitted by Israel for the transfer of 34 terror suspects. Thus far, the PA has failed to hand over any of those suspects. Among those whose transfer is being sought by Israel are: PA Police Chief Ghazi Jabali, wanted for instructing Palestinian policemen to ambush and fire at Israelis; Ibrahim Alkam, Abdel Nasser Alkaisi and Ibrahim Hani, wanted for the murder of Etta Tzur and her 12-year old son Ephraim on December 11, 1996; Bassam Issa - mastermind of the terror attack in Jerusalem on October 9, 1994 in which two were killed; and Hisham Salim Dib, who was behind the March 4, 1996 Dizengoff suicide bombing which killed 13 people.

2f. Confiscation of illegal firearms - To comply with their commitments, the PA must act to systematically confiscate all illegal weapons and punish those illegally bearing arms. The PA must also act to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Palestinian-controlled areas by all elements, including by senior Palestinian officials and VIPs. PA officials caught smuggling weapons must be removed from their posts. Any weapons and explosives in PA possession or in Palestinian-controlled areas which violate the terms of the accord must be transferred to Israel.

3. Size of Palestinian Police - The PA must reduce the size of its police force. The PA has deployed nearly 36,000 policemen in areas under its jurisdiction, exceeding the limit prescribed by the Oslo Accords by over 12,000, or 50%. The PA must also comply with its obligation to submit to Israel a complete list of all police recruits for review and approval. The PA has submitted only 18,500 names. Hence, nearly half of the Palestinian policemen currently serving in the field have not received the required Israeli approval.

4. Restricting Palestinian governmental activity to areas under PA control - In violation of the accords, the PA is active in Jerusalem in spheres ranging from education to health to religious affairs. The PA must halt all its activity in Jerusalem, including that of its officials, such as PA Minister for Religious Affairs Hassan Tahboub and PA Mufti Ikrama Sabri. The PA must close Feisal Husseini's Ministry for Jerusalem Affairs at the Orient House and put an end to the Palestinian security services' activity in Jerusalem. The PA has also attempted to exercise various powers in Area C in Judea and Samaria to which they are not entitled under the accords, including the issuance of building permits, activity at archaeological sites and the illegal use of broadcast frequencies. The PA must halt such activities in Area C, and they must refrain from engaging in foreign relations in violation of the accord.

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