Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Ellul 5760 - September 20, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by











Home and Family
Beilin-Abu Mazen Plan Finally Published -- Protege of Peres Would Divide Jerusalem
by Mordecai Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Soon after the signing of the first Oslo agreement seven years ago, Dr. Yossi Beilin, then the protege of Shimon Peres and now Minister of Justice (and acting Minister of Religions), embarked on an eighteen month effort with prominent Palestinians to frame a plan for a final settlement that was acceptable to both sides. The result -- never before released for public scrutiny -- was known as the Beilin-Abu Mazen plan.

Right at the beginning, Beilin went straight to Arafat (while he was still in Tunisia) to ask him to join in an effort to work out principles for a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Arafat agreed and delegated the job to his closest advisor, Mahmoud Abbas, known also as Abu Mazen. Both took the effort very seriously and formed negotiating teams. The number of people involved in the effort was deliberately kept to a minimum in order to ensure secrecy.

For eighteen months they met and worked. Secrecy was preserved, even though they met in Jerusalem, Cyprus and various European cities. The effort was financed, at least in part, by Sweden.

In the end they produced a sweeping yet very detailed blueprint for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The final document was completed on October 31, 1995, and was supposed to have been presented to Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and to Arafat. However the Israeli prime minister was struck down by an assassin's bullet only four days later, so his reaction to the plan will never be known. Prime Minister Rabin's widow recently said that her husband would not have agreed to concessions offered by current Israeli Prime Minister Barak at the recent Camp David negotiations, though they do not go substantially beyond what was already envisioned by Beilin five years ago.

Though Abu Mazen withdrew his unqualified assent soon after it was published, and it was never adopted officially by anyone, nonetheless, the plan was known and served to define the parameters of the discussion. It had something to say about almost every aspect of contention.

One of the most revealing paragraphs relates to Jerusalem.

"The government of Israel shall extend its recognition to the independent State of Palestine within agreed and secure borders, with its capital Al-Quds. Simultaneously, the State of Palestine shall extend its recognition to the State of Israel within agreed and secure borders with its capital Yerushalayim. Both sides continue to look favorably at the possibility of establishing a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation, to be agreed upon by the State of Palestine and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."

Since this agreement was signed by Beilin, a very close associate of Shimon Peres (Rabin had called him "Peres' poodle"), more than six months before the elections of 1996 in which Binyamin Netanyahu became prime minister, it makes clear that the Likud charge in that election campaign -- "Peres will divide Jerusalem" -- was accurate. At the time, Peres and the Labor Party argued that the Likud slogan was a malicious distortion. The official Labor platform did call for a united Jerusalem, but the terms of the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement, which clearly provide for a division of Jerusalem into Jewish and Arab states, are not consistent with that.

The Beilin-Abu Mazen plan envisions an expanded Jerusalem that would include Abu Dis, Eizariya, Ma'aleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, and other adjacent areas. Within the city of Jerusalem, neighborhoods inhabited by Israelis are defined as "Israeli boroughs," and neighborhoods inhabited by Palestinians are called "Palestinian boroughs."

"The parties agree to maintain one municipality for the city of Jerusalem in the form of a Joint Higher Municipal Council, formed by representatives of the boroughs. These representatives will elect the mayor of the city of Jerusalem," the document reads.

Beilin and Abu Mazen did not go into details regarding the Old City, but wrote that "in recognition of the special status and significance of the Old City area for members of the Christian, Jewish, and Moslem faiths, the parties agree to grant this area a special status."

An official in the Prime Minister's Office denied Monday night that this document was the basis for the talks at the Camp David summit in July. Newsweek reported that U.S. President Bill Clinton considered the draft document a "core idea" at Camp David.

Regarding settlements, the plan stipulates that "there will be no exclusive civilian residential areas for Israelis in the State of Palestine. Individual Israelis remaining within the borders of the Palestinian state shall be subject to Palestinian sovereignty and Palestinian rule of law."

On another difficult issue, the Palestinian refugees, the document says that Israel "acknowledges the moral and material suffering caused to the Palestinian people as a result of the war of 1947-1949; it further acknowledges the Palestinian refugees' right of return to the Palestinian state and their right to compensation and rehabilitation for moral and material losses."

At the same time, the document reads that, "Whereas the Palestinian side considers that the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is enshrined in international law and natural justice, it recognizes that the prerequisites of the new era of peace and coexistence, as well as the realities that have been created on the ground since 1948, have rendered the implementation of this right impracticable."

Newsweek did not publish the maps that accompanied the paper, but according to details that have leaked out over the years, some 94 percent of the West Bank -- including the Jordan Valley -- as well as all of the Gaza Strip would be ceded to the Palestinians. The new state would be demilitarized, and Abu Mazen agreed that Israel maintain three battalions and three early warning stations and air defense units in the Jordan valley.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.