Package Approach

This concept refers to the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via one comprehensive agreement.

Definition

The concept Package Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Permanent Status Agreement (hereafter Package Approach) refers to the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinian side in order to resolve all of the Historic Issues emanating from the conflict in 1948 and later (such as territory and borders and refugees), as well as to the establishment of principles for co-existence in Permanent Status.

Background

The Reut Institute defines the concept of Permanent Status Agreement as referring to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which addresses, at least, the following issues:

  • A format for Finality of Claims with regard to the Historic Issues;
  • Attainment of a formal status of End of Conflict between Israel and the Palestinians;
  • End of the State of Occupation in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip as defined in international law;
  • Establishment of a Palestinian state; and
  • Establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Palestinian state.

The Package Approach has been the dominant approach since the beginning of the Israeli-Arab peace process in 1977. It is premised on the assumption that, to a large extent, the issues on the Israeli-Palestinian agenda are intertwined and therefore should be addressed in a comprehensive and integrative manner. The major structural weakness of the Package Approach has been its inherent all-or-nothing nature.

The 1978 Camp David Accords provided for a two-phased approach for reaching a Permanent Status Agreement. In the first phase a Palestinian Self-Governing Authority would come into being for an Interim Period of about 5 years. In the second phase, no later than the third year of the interim period, negotiations on the Permanent Status Agreement should have begun.

The Package Approach was adopted by Israel and the PLO in the Declaration of Principles (9/93), which became the agreed framework for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians known as the Oslo Process. The Package Approach served as the organizing concept for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations since the Declaration of Principles and during the Oslo Process. Variations notwithstanding, the Package Approach was reinforced by the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (5/94), Interim Agreement (9/95), Sharem Al-Sheikh Memorandum (9/99), the negotiations between Israel and the PLO (1999-2001) including in the 2000 Camp David Summit (7/00), The Clinton Ideas (12/00) and the Taba Talks (1/01), and by the Quartet Road Map (4/03).

The four best known models for a Permanent Status Agreement based on the Package Approach within the Oslo Process are the Beilin-Abu Mazen Document (10/95), the Israeli Draft Permanent Status Agreement (1/01)1, the ICG Document on Middle East End Game (7/02), and the Geneva Initiative (10/03).

It should be noted that the Package Approach is relevant to a number of sequences of Israeli-Palestinian political process. Hence, the sequence advocated by the Road Map is opposite to that of the Oslo Process.2 The Road Map calls for a Palestinian State with Provisional Borders before a Permanent Status Agreement. The Oslo Process envisions a Palestinian State coming into being after a Permanent Status Agreement.

An alternative to the Package Approach is the Fragmentation and Dilution Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Permanent Status Agreement advocating that:

  • The resolution of the Historic Issues and the constitution of future bilateral relations between Israel and the Palestinians will be achieved through fragmenting the one comprehensive Permanent Status Agreement to be concluded between Israel and the PLO into multiple separate agreements between Israel and the Palestinian State; and that
  • To the extent possible, the Historic Issues should be diluted by Israel through off-the-table strategies of unilateral and coordinated moves with 3rd parties, as well as through negotiating as many of their components as possible on a state-to-state basis with the Palestinian State.


1 Sher Gilead, Just Beyond Reach: Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations 1999-2001 – A Testimony, Tel Aviv: Miskal, 2001, pp. 419-444.
2 See Grinstein Gideon, “Follow the Roadmap to Palestine”, Forward, November 15, 2002
More Sources

For a chronology of the peace process, see the website of the Foreign Ministry of Israel - http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/ .

On the underlying logic of the Oslo process, see:

Hirshfeld Yair: Oslo: A Formula for Peace, Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2000;

Savir Uri, The Process: Behind the Scenes of a Historic Decision, Tel Aviv: Yedioth Aharonoth/Hemed, 1998.

For criticism of the Oslo process, see

Begin Benny, Sad Story, Tel Aviv: Miskal, 2000.

On the negotiations about the Permanent Status Agreement under the Barak Government (1999-2001), see:

Sher Gilead, Just Beyond Reach: Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations 1999-2001 – A Testimony, Tel Aviv: Miskal, 2001;

Ben-Ami Shlomo, A Front without A Rearguard – A Voyage to the Boundaries of the Peace Process, Tel Aviv: MIskal, 2004;

Edelist Ran, Ehud Barak: Fighting the Demons, Or Yehuda: Kinneret, 2003.