Text size

The importance of Israel's recognition of the June 4, 1967 border is that since 1967 (and even today), Israel's official position has been that UN Security Council Resolution 242 mandates withdrawal from "territories" conquered in the Six Day War. The Arab position, in contrast, is that the resolution requires withdrawal from "the territories." Israel's official refusal to recognize the June 4, 1967 borders is currently an obstacle to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in his efforts to reach an agreement with the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala). There is no Palestinian confirmation of Peres' claim that the Palestinians have accepted the formulation that a final-status agreement will be based on Resolution 242.

Israel agreed to recognize the June 4, 1967 border as the basis for the border between Israel and Palestine after the Palestinians agreed in principle to discuss territorial swaps in the West Bank, as proposed by Clinton, that would enable Israel to annex parts of the West Bank adjacent to the Green Line (but not parts of Gaza). The maps presented by the Palestinians at Taba gave Israel 3.1 percent of the West Bank. That is less than the lower limit proposed in the Clinton plan (under which the Palestinians would receive 94 to 96 percent of the West Bank). Israel demanded 6 percent - the upper boundary of the Clinton plan - plus an additional 2 percent in the context of a leasing agreement. The Palestinians also rejected Israel's demand that the "no man's land" around Latrun not be considered part of the West Bank.

According to the document, Israel gave up all the Jordan Valley settlements, focusing instead on its security interests in that area. The dispute centered around the large stretch of territory between Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev, which contains both a fairly large Palestinian population and East Jerusalem's most important land reserves. The Palestinians retracted their earlier readiness to include these two settlements in the settlement blocs to be annexed to Israel after realizing that Israel also insisted on annexing the large tract that joins them - which would mean that Palestinian citizens would suddenly find themselves in sovereign Israeli territory. Barak instructed his chief negotiator, Gilad Sher, to tell the Palestinians that the map presented by then foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, which reduced the area of the settlement bloc (including the Ma'aleh Adumim-Givat Ze'ev tract) to only 5 percent of the West Bank, had no validity.

Another dispute that remained unresolved stemmed from Israel's refusal to accept the Palestinian demand for a 1:1 ratio between the area of the West Bank annexed to Israel and the parts of Israel that would be given to the Palestinians in exchange. Israel proposed a ratio of 1:2, in its favor. In addition, the Palestinians rejected Israel's proposal that the Halutza Dunes in the Negev, the area of the "safe passage" between the West Bank and Gaza, and the part of Ashdod Port that would be set aside for Palestinian use all be considered part of the land swap. They insisted that the land they received be contiguous with either the West Bank or Gaza, and that it not include any land that was merely set aside for their use, over which they would not have sovereignty.