Four Guarantees Martin Indyk Must Make to Prevent Peace Talks From Collapsing

What will Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat tell U.S. mediator Martin Indyk and Israel’s Tzipi Livni at the first session of the renewed peace talks? The fly on the wall has told Haaretz.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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Amira Hass
Amira Hass

"Dear Martin, we definitely understand that Israel is concerned about its security. Fact. Our security coordination is praised by the Israeli military leadership. The truth? It's somewhat flattering that the world’s fourth-largest military power, where every other citizen knows how to use a gun, is so afraid of us.

"We know we’re weak and - don't tell the guys from the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades that I'm saying this – our pathetic military capacity won't ever come anywhere near yours, Tzipi. So maybe you know something about your weakness that we don't?

"It’s an interesting point - Israel’s internal weakness in the civilian domain due to its long-term reliance on military supremacy. Our colleagues in the sociology and psychology departments could probably develop the idea better than we can. Here we have to be more concrete.

"It's inconceivable that during the negotiations we will allow military activities against your citizens, what you call terror attacks, right? We will make a 100-percent effort to prevent that, although it's hard to guarantee 100-percent success. Who knows that better than you? Look how hard it is for you to prevent the 'price tag' terror attacks, or racist attacks against your Arab citizens.

"You know that we're also doing our utmost to prevent friction between our citizens and your army. But you know our point of view: When there are no soldiers, there is no friction. And if you're concerned about the settlers’ safety, when they attack us, why not impose a curfew on them? Just kidding….

"One thing is agreed and understood in advance: Our security services won't initiate or plan an attack against an Israeli citizen. But there must be reciprocity. You must understand, dear Martin, that our people see stone-throwing or the use of weapons as a natural reaction to Israeli attacks. For our citizens, attacks are not only carried out with explosives – this, dear Martin, is something you have to understand to be a successful mediator.

"For the military power the signature of a bureaucrat in the defense or interior ministry is no less of an attack. That's why for the sake of reciprocity and so as not to undermine the negotiations over the next nine months, Israel must immediately stop carrying out attacks against our Palestinian citizens and their security. And by "security" we mean in the broad, inclusive sense of the word.

“A. ‘A-roof-over-our-heads’ security

- The Interior Ministry will immediately stop denying residency status to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

- All plans to dismantle rural communities in Area C under full Israeli control and to expel their residents to Area A under full Palestinian control will be canceled.

- The Jerusalem municipality and the Interior Ministry will stop house demolitions in East Jerusalem.

- The Civil Administration will stop the demolition of tents and other structures in Area C.

“B. Food security

- The Israel Navy will stop firing at fishermen and detaining them in Gaza’s waters.

- Israeli snipers and artillerymen will stop firing at farmers with land on the margins of the Gaza Strip.

- Soldiers will stop denying freedom of movement to Palestinian shepherds and farmers in the South Hebron Hills and Jordan Valley.

“C. Employment security

- See B.

- 24/7 access to the agricultural areas beyond the separation fence and near the settlements.

- Renewed commercial ties between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

- Renewed delivery of raw materials to the Strip via the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings.

- An end to the ban on Gaza students studying in the West Bank.

- Entry visas and work permits for foreign citizens who teach at Palestinian universities.

“D. Water security

- An immediate cessation of the destruction of water cisterns.

- Aboveground pipes linked to the Mekorot Water Company or to the Israeli settlements will immediately be laid to every Palestinian community in Area C that lacks a water infrastructure.

“And now, regarding the security arrangements in the final-status solution, we demand the following guarantees:

- No Israeli who continues to live in one of the golden ghettos that you built for them (and for which we will carry out land swaps to leave them in place) will attack our citizens. And by attack I mean leaving the borders of an Israeli enclave to set fire to fields and trees, fire on our shepherds and farmers, pollute springs and wells, throw garbage into yards (as in the old cities of Hebron and Jerusalem), and throw stones.

- We have a right to detain and bring to trial any Israeli living in our territory who attacks us, even if he came to pray at the Western Wall and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

- No Israeli military commander who opposes the agreement will launch incursions into our villages beyond the border.

- You will not interfere in our activities to expose collaborators and end their services to you.

- You will end drone flights over our sovereign territory.

- No Israeli will attack our travelers on West Bank roads.

- No Israeli will attack travelers on the road connecting the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

"Why are you so upset? What, don't you consider the Gaza Strip part of the Palestinian state? So why are we sitting here talking?"

Kerry, center, meets with Livni, left, and Erekat in Washington, July 29, 2013.Credit: AFP
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.Credit: AP

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