Fragmentation and Dilution Approach

This concept presents a potential approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through multiple separate agreements and unilateral moves.

Definition

The concept "Fragmentation and Dilution Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Permanent Status Agreement" (hereinafter "Fragmentation and Dilution Approach"), refers to (a) resolution of the Historic Issues emanating from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948 such as refugeeism, borders and territories or Jerusalem; and (b) constitution of future bilateral relations between Israel and the Palestinians through:

  • Fragmentation: concluding multiple separate agreements between Israel and the Palestinian State, each addressing a separate issue;
  • Dilution: breaking each of the Historic Issues into components to be addressed via:
    concluding agreements primarily with the Palestinian State (as opposed to the PLO);
    Off-The-Table Strategy, i.e. Unilateral Moves or coordinated actions with 3rd parties but not through Across-The-Table Strategy, which is based on the premise of cooperation, coordination with or agreement of the Palestinian side.

Background

The Fragmentation and Dilution Approach is a departure from the Package Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Permanent Status Agreement. The Package Approach is defined as the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinian side represented by the PLO in order to resolve all of the historic issues, as well as to establish the principles for future co-existence.

The Package Approach has been the dominant approach since the beginning of the Israeli-Arab peace process in 1977.

It was set in the 1978 Camp David Accords, adopted by Israel and the PLO in the Declaration of Principles (9/93), which became the agreed framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace process known as the Oslo Process and served as the organizing concept for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations since.1

The concept of Permanent Status Agreement2 refers to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which addresses, at least, the following issues:

The Fragmentation and Dilution Approach argues that the better way to fulfill the objectives of the Permanent Status Agreement is by fragmenting its agenda and diluting the Historic Issues. For example:

According to the Package Approach, issues pertaining to the permanent borders between Israel and the future Palestinian state should be negotiated with the PLO within a comprehensive agreement, which addresses also all other Historic Issues such as the issue of refugees, as well as all issues pertaining to future coexistence.

According to the Fragmentation and Dilution Approach:

  1. Fragmentation: Israel and the Palestinian State may conclude one bilateral state-to-state agreement on the issue of their permanent borders. This would separate (i.e. fragment) the resolution of the territorial issue from the resolution of the refugee issue;
  2. Diluting: With regard to the refugee issue, Israel may take unilateral action to allow Palestinian refugee households to apply for and receive compensation for their property directly from Israel. Such action would constitute an Off-The-Table Strategy, i.e. a policy that does not depend on agreement with the Palestinian side, which "dilutes" the issue of refugees by resolving from some or all of its property component.


1 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), Clinton Ideas (12/00) and the Taba Talks (1/01), as well as by the Quartet Roadmap (4/03).

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