Following are the minutes of U.S. president Bill Clinton's
comments at a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian representatives
at the White House on December 23, 2000, as given to Ha'aretz
newspaper by Palestinian sources.
Based on what I heard, I believe that the solution should be in the
mid-90 percents, between 94-96 percent of the West Bank territory
of the Palestinian state.
The land annexed by Israel should be compensated by a land swap of
1-3 percent, in addition to territorial arrangements such as a
permanent safe passage.
The parties also should consider the swap of leased land to meet
their respective needs.
The Parties should develop a map consistent with the following
• Eighty percent of settlers in blocks;
• Minimize the annexed areas;
• Minimize the number of Palestinians affected.
The key lies in an international presence that can only be
withdrawn by mutual consent. This presence will also monitor the
implementation of the agreement between both sides.
My best judgment is that the Israeli presence would remain in fixed
locations in the Jordan Valley under the authority of the
international force for another 36 months. This period could be
reduced in the event of favorable regional developments that
diminish the threat to Israel.
On early warning stations, Israel should maintain three facilities
in the West Bank with a Palestinian liaison presence. The stations
will be subject to review every 10 years with any changes in the
status to be mutually agreed upon. (According to the Israeli
version of the minutes, Clinton said the stations would be subject
to review after 10 years.)
Regarding emergency developments, I understand that you will still
have to develop a map of the relevant areas and routes… I
propose the following definition:
Imminent and demonstrable threat to Israel's national security of a
military nature that requires the activation of a national state
Of course, the international forces will need to be notified of any
On airspace, I suggest that the State of Palestine will have
sovereignty over its airspace and that the two sides should work
out special arrangements for Israeli training and operational
I understand that the Israeli position is that Palestine should be
defined as a "demilitarized state" while the Palestinian side
proposes "a state with limited arms." As a compromise, I suggest
calling it a "non-militarized state."
This will be consistent with the fact that in addition to a strong
Palestinian security force, Palestine will have an international
force for border security and deterrent purposes.
The general principle is that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish
ones are Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge
the two sides to work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both
Regarding the Haram/Temple Mount, I believe that the gaps are not
related to practical administration but to symbolic issues of
sovereignty and to finding a way to accord respect to the religious
beliefs of both sides.
I know you have been discussing a number of formulations. I add to
these two additional formulations guaranteeing Palestinian
effective control over the Haram, while respecting the conviction
of the Jewish people. Regarding either one of those two
formulations will be international monitoring to provide mutual
1. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty
over a) the Western Wall and the space sacred to Judaism of which
it is a part, or b) the Western Wall and the Holy of Holies of
which it is a part.
There will be a firm commitment by both not to excavate beneath the
Haram or behind the Wall.
2. Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty
over the Western Wall and shared functional sovereignty over the
issue of excavation under the Haram and behind the Wall such that
mutual consent would be requested before any excavation can take
I sense that the differences are more relating to formulations and
less to what will happen on a practical level.
I believe that Israel is prepared to acknowledge the moral and
material suffering caused to the Palestinian people as a result of
the 1948 war and the need to assist the international community in
addressing the problem.
The fundamental gap is on how to handle the concept of the right of
return. I know the history of the issue and how hard it will be for
the Palestinian leadership to appear to be abandoning the
The Israeli side could not accept any reference to a right of
return that would imply a right to immigrate to Israel in defiance
of Israel's sovereign policies and admission or that would threaten
the Jewish character of the state.
Any solution must address both needs.
The solution will have to be consistent with the two-state
approach. The State of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian
people and the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish
Under the two-state solution, the guiding principle should be that
the Palestinian state should be the focal point for the
Palestinians who choose to return to the area without ruling out
that Israel will accept some of these refugees.
I believe that we need to adopt a formulation on the right of
return that will make clear that there is no specific right of
return to Israel itself but that does not negate the aspiration of
the Palestinian people to return to the area.
I propose two alternatives:
1. Both sides recognize the right of the Palestinian refugees to
return to historic Palestine, or
2. Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return
to their homeland.
The agreement will define the implementation of this general right
in a way that is consistent with the two-state solution. It would
list the five possible homes for the refugees:
1. The State of Palestine
2. Areas in Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land
3. Rehabilitation in host country
4. Resettlement in third country
5. Admission to Israel
In listing these options, the agreement will make clear that the
return to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and areas acquired in the
land swap would be the right of all Palestinian refugees, while
rehabilitation in host countries, resettlement in third countries
and absorption into Israel will depend upon the policies of those
Israel could indicate in the agreement that it intends to establish
a policy so that some of the refugees would be absorbed into Israel
consistent with Israel's sovereign decision.
I believe that priority should be given to the refugee population
The parties would agree that this implements Resolution 194.
The End of the Conflict
I propose that the agreement clearly mark the end of the conflict
and its implementation put an end to all claims. This could be
implemented through a UN Security Council Resolution that notes
that resolutions 242 and 338 have been implemented and through the
release of Palestinian prisoners.