The Mofaz Plan

Nov 17, 2009 Published under Gaza, Israel, Middle East, Mideast Negotiations, Palestine

Interesting IPF discussion with Gen. Shaul Mofaz about his new peace proposal…

Published on Israel Policy Forum (

The Mofaz Plan: A Permanent Palestinian State in Temporary Borders In Advance of Final Status Talks

By Israel Policy Forum

Created Nov 16 2009 – 4:20pm

On November 11, 2009, Israel Policy Forum hosted a conference call discussion with General Shaul Mofaz. A former Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff, Mofaz is a Member of Knesset representing the second seat on the Kadima Party list. He recently announced a new proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The following is a summary of the discussion between Mofaz, IPF National Scholar Dr. Steven L. Spiegel and call listeners.

(Please note: The following is a summary – the content has been paraphrased and should not be considered as direct quotes. To listen to the entire discussion, click here [1].)

Question: Please describe the various aspects of your plan.

General Shaul Mofaz:  My proposal is to move in two phases to a peace agreement with the Palestinians. I propose the immediate establishment of an independent disarmed Palestinian state in the West Bank and in Gaza. Simultaneously, we will engage in dialogue with the Palestinians on the final status issues.

I believe that a permanent Palestinian state with temporary borders and simultaneous negotiations on the core issues: borders, refugees and Jerusalem, will allow us to rebuild the trust between the two sides, and totally change the atmosphere in our region. In this process, we must have the support of the moderate Arab countries, the European countries and the leadership of the United States.

The second phase of my plan would be the implementation of the agreements reached between the two sides on the final status issues.

Before implementing final status agreements, the Palestinians must provide a clear statement about the end to demands and end to the conflict. We have to build a mechanism for potential mediation if gaps still exist between the two sides; and I call for a referendum in Israel to approve what was achieved during the negotiations on the core issues before implementing the second phase. I have full confidence that the moment the Prime Minister of Israel adopts this plan, and the moment the President of the U.S. approves of it as the right direction to move forward, we will be able to achieve an agreement in not less than four but not more than six years.

Question: Regarding the concept of temporary borders, how would the Palestinians know that they still would gain additional territory along the lines of the 1967 borders?

Mofaz: Today in Gaza, 100% of the territory and 100% of the population is under Hamas control. In the West Bank, there are three types of areas; Area A, B, and C. Palestinians have security and civilian responsibility in Area A. In Area B, Israel has security responsibility, the Palestinians have civilian sovereignty. Security and civilian issues are controlled by Israel in Area C.

Today, Areas A and B represent 40% of the West Bank territory and 99.2% of the Palestinian population. But there is no continuity between the Palestinians in Areas A and B. I am suggesting adding 20% of Area C to give full continuity to the Palestinian state, with 60% of the territory in the West Bank and 99% of the population.

I can give a guarantee to the U.S. that at the end of the second phase the Palestinians will have most of the size of the 1967 territory, but not the exact borders because they should be based on the settlement blocs: Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Ariel, etc. These communities will become a defendable, eastern border for the state of Israel.

Question: What do you do about Gaza?

Mofaz: Generally speaking, Gaza is part of the Palestinian state, under one condition: that the elected Palestinian government will control Gaza with one authority, one law and one gun. But this is not a precondition for negotiations and moving ahead with the Palestinians because we no longer have the privilege of waiting.

The potential to reach an agreement on the core issues will be higher when the Palestinian state functions as one unit, both the West Bank and Gaza.

Question: What about Jerusalem? Would you give an opportunity for the Palestinians to have East Jerusalem as their capital in the final status?

Mofaz: The issue of Jerusalem should be discussed in a very sensitive way. There is no chance to divide Jerusalem. It will remain united as the capital of the state of Israel and we have to find a way to handle the daily life of the Jewish and Palestinian people in Jerusalem.

It would be irresponsible to discuss Jerusalem now before we started negotiations. We have to speak about the core issues the moment we begin speaking with a permanent Palestinian state in temporary borders. Then, I believe we will have enough time to discuss the core issues.

Question: And you would talk to Hamas during this process?

Mofaz: No. Hamas is a terror organization, and it is gaining more and more power, preparing themselves for the next round of violence. They are smuggling arms from the sea and from the borders. Today they have long-range missiles, and even more launching positions than they had before the last operation in Gaza. We cannot accept terror organizations living side-by-side with Israel and launching missiles against our people.

But, if Hamas accepts the Quartet requirements: stop terror activity and incitement; accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish democratic country; and implement all the agreements achieved so far, we will sit with them at the negotiation table, if they are elected by the Palestinian people. In my proposal I agree to negotiate with the elected Palestinian leadership. If the Palestinian people vote for Hamas and Hamas wins the election I will respect their decision and will return to the negotiating table with Hamas as a partner.

Question: As part of this plan, would you guarantee to freeze settlements in the West Bank, and also to stop building inside the existing settlements?

Mofaz: We will not freeze the life or building in Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Ariel and some others, all of which are known as the settlement blocs.

Regarding the areas that will be the future Palestinian state, I believe that we should consider the continuation of the life of the people, but we should not build in this area because it will be under the sovereignty and responsibility of the Palestinian state. This makes it very clear which areas we will continue to build in and which we should allow daily life to continue but without any building.

Question: Who would handle security in the Palestinian state with temporary borders? Would it be Israel? The Palestinians? An international force?

Mofaz: Israeli forces will be on the Israeli side and Palestinian security forces will be on the Palestinian side. Palestinians will be responsible for their security but as Israelis, we would retain the right to defend ourselves. International forces from U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, could be placed within the Palestinian territory to support the security in their first years if the Palestinians would be unable to control the situation themselves. But I believe that with a peace agreement, even in the first phase, it will be in the Palestinian interest to make sure that they are handling security and controlling and governing their state before Israel would take steps against terror groups or other hostile activity from their territory.

Question: What happens to the settlers outside the settlement blocs, once the state is declared in your first phase? Does Israel remove them?

Mofaz: I believe that in the first year we should pass an evacuation-compensation law in the Knesset and to prepare the civilian infrastructure for the people moving from these settlements to the Galilee or the Negev. We cannot predict the size or the percentage of the people that will move by their own will, but I believe that giving them the infrastructure, giving them the time, knowing that the Palestinian state with temporary borders was approved in a referendum in Israel, will make it easier for them to make the right decision. But we cannot predict how many people will stay in any case in their houses, in their settlements. In the end, we should ask them or remove them to other areas.

Question: Why do you think that this peace plan will succeed where others have failed?

Mofaz: The other plans have been based on starting to negotiate without any implementation, and this will not achieve any kind of results. I believe that the moment the Palestinians accept the idea of a permanent state with temporary borders, and at the same time we start to speak about the final status issues, the atmosphere and the trust between the two sides will completely change.

My main idea is to start with a Palestinian state. The state is not temporary, the borders are temporary. The moment they have a state, they could build their economy, law and security apparatuses. They could build a better life for the Palestinian people.

I believe that there is a new atmosphere in Israel. All the leaders of the major parties in Israel agree today to the two-state solution. Prime Minister Netanyahu, the head of the Likud party, said that the vision of the two-state solution should be implemented in his speech at Bar Ilan University. I believe that President Obama has the goodwill to move forward and to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. I believe that today in Israel more and more people want to see this conflict having a solution. And the current generation of the leaders of the state of Israel cannot pass the responsibility to end the conflict on to the next generation. We have to take the decision right now, in these years to avoid the continuation of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and to open the horizon and to give hope to our people that we can have peace with our neighbors.

Compiled by IPF staff

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