Israeli-Palestinian Security: Issues in the Permanent Status Negotiations
This report has its roots in the deliberations of a study group put together by the Middle East Program of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to examine in detail the security and military defense requirements of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Membership in the group was drawn from experts in the Israeli and Palestinian communities as well as several Americans with Middle East experience. The study group, co-chaired by Joseph Alpher and Ahmed Khalidi, began its meetings in October 1992 and continued through seen sessions to its final formal meeting in May 1994. in addition, two trips throughout the Middle East involving group members allowed in-depth discussions with political leaders, security experts, and knowledgeable academics in the Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and other Arab communities.
During the course of the study the dramatic shift in Israeli-Palestinian relations, stemming from the Oslo agreement of September 1993 and the extension of mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, made the group's work both more relevant and more difficult. The relevance, of course, came from the central role that security considerations played in the accord and subsequent agreements, and the difficulty from the fact that several members in the group were recruited to participate in the direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations following the Oslo breakthrough. The intense early discussions of the study group were credited by some, including Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Gur (in a speech to the Knesset), with having opened a key channel of communication between Israel and the PLO that provided key insights and greater confidence to both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships as they initiated the secret Oslo track.
From its initial meeting in October 1992, the aim of the study group was to identify options and alternatives which Israel and the Palestinians could explore further as they moved ahead in formal negotiations. As with most Academy studies the meetings were closed and limited to study group members although never considered secret. Interim reports were shared on a limited basis with Israeli and Palestinian decision-makers and knowledgeable experts. Materials were not circulated to the press nor were formal interviews arranged. In the course of the deliberations, while attempts were regularly made to identify areas of common understanding, no efforts were made to establish a single point of view or reach a consensus. As the discussions proceeded, Jeffrey Boutwell and Everett Mendelsohn served as rapporteurs and circulated summaries of the discussions and drafts of the report, which study group members were encouraged to comment on, criticize, and correct. On some occasions drafts of some proposed sections were prepared by group members. But this document, as published, remains the responsibility of Jeffrey Boutwell and Everett Mendelsohn. At the same time it obviously reflects the extraordinary depth of knowledge and understanding found in the group. As published, the report is not an expression of the views of the American Academy, yet does represent a broad, though by no means unanimous, consensus among study group members regarding the central security issues to be settled between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Academy would like to give special thanks to the Ford Foundation for its support of the project and to the Rockefeller Foundation for providing a supplemental grant which permitted in-depth discussions within the Palestinian communities in Gaza, Nablus, and Jerusalem. The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies (CPRS) in Nablus, and the Palestinian Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) in East Jerusalem, all graciously hosted meetings which brought study group members together with local experts and involved individuals from the several communities.
Finally, and most importantly, we would like to thank our colleagues in the study group itself. Working together for more than two years on issues that are as emotional as they are critically important, members of the group displayed equal parts of conviction, warmth, and wit that allowed the project to succeed. We thank them all, and thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of working with them.
- Jeffrey Boutwell and Everett Mendelsohn
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Cambridge, Massachusetts April 1995
Table of Contents
Section I: Fundamental Israeli-Palestinian Security Requirements
- Israeli and Palestinian Concepts of Security
- Israeli Security
- Palestinian Security
- The Role of Jordan
Section II: Permanent Status Security Issues
- Palestinian Self-Determination
- The Interim Period and the Permanent Status Agreement
- Israeli-Palestinian Security Issues
- Politico-Security Issues
Section III: The Middle East Security Environment
- Syria and Lebanon
- Regional Water Issues
- Regional Trade and Economic Agreements
- Broader Regional Developments
- Conventional, Chemical, and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
- Nuclear Militancy and Religious Radicalism