A Plan for Unilateral Separation:
Creating Certainty in a Situation of Uncertainty
adopted and distributed in November 2001 by the Council for Peace and Security, Israel
Our ongoing rule over the Palestinian people constitutes a strategic and moral liability for the State of Israel. Hence we must strive to bring about separation between the two peoples. Fulfilling the right of the Jewish people to self determination means dividing the Land of Israel, creating two states for two peoples, and guaranteeing a Jewish majority in the independent State of Israel. It means secure and recognized boundaries based on the 1967 borders, with essential border alterations.
The political peace process is at a dead end, and a violent confrontation is threatening to escalate into a bloody war between the two peoples. Since there appears to be little likelihood of a change for the better in the foreseeable future, it is imperative for us to find a phased, unilateral process of separation at our own initiative--a course that does not necessarily require the concurrence of the Palestinian side. In parallel both sides must continue to strive for a political resolution, for this is the only way to end the violence.
The plan for unilateral separation does not aspire to generate a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it is a temporary arrangement, based on an Israeli initiative, that is intended to serve the vital and immediate interests of both peoples.
Israel for its part will announce that in parallel with the process of separation and redeployment along new lines, it will be prepared to offer official recognition to an independent Palestinian state declared by the Palestinian Authority in areas under its control. In this way, future negotiations will be held between two legitimate governments.
Israel will act to recruit the political support of the United States and Europe, and to persuade them that these steps will have the effect of ending the current political stalemate.
Primary objectives of the unilateral separation plan
- To reduce the huge burden (in budgetary allocations and human and material resources) currently shouldered by the security establishment.
- To strengthen the security forces’ defensive capacity while reducing threats and dangers to the Israeli public.
- To minimize friction with the Palestinian population.
- To reduce the danger of uncontrollable escalation toward all-out war.
- To halt what is for Israel a negative demographic dynamic, whereby Jews are becoming a minority in historic Eretz Yisrael between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.
Main aspects of the unilateral separation plan
- A significant shortening of Israel’s lines of defense, requiring the removal of settlements and installations.
- Initial implementation of the unilateral separation plan will not involve Jerusalem. The fate of Jerusalem will be determined within the framework of negotiations over a permanent settlement.
- Settlements adjacent to and just across the Green Line will constitute the basis for redeployment, and will remain under Israeli rule until a permanent border has been agreed between the two sides.
- Initially the international transit points on the Jordan and at Rafah will remain under Israeli rule until agreement is reached with the Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt on alternative coordinated arrangements for border control.
- The plan will be presented to, and to the extent possible coordinated with, the US, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states in the region.
- The plan can be carried out in phases, beginning with the more easily accomplished aspects and ending with the more difficult. These objectives can be achieved through a flexible timetable of phasing.
- The plan will be rendered more feasible by the continued implementation of measures to improve the living conditions of Arab citizens of Israel and to reduce socioeconomic gaps between them and Jewish citizens.
Components of the Plan
Shorter lines of defense mean dismantling of settlements and installations:
- Gaza Strip: Withdrawal from all areas except a buffer strip along the international border with Egypt.
- Northern Samaria (Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm and Qalqilya districts): redeployment along the topographically dominant line to the east and south of the Green Line.
- Southern Mt. Hebron: Redeployment along the topographically dominant line to the east and north of the Green Line.
- Bethlehem district: Redeployment based on the Green Line.
- Ramallah district: Redeployment according to the topography dominating the Green Line.
The unilateral separation plan will initially not comprise the following areas, which will remain for the time being under Israeli control:
- the Jordan Valley, from Mehola in the north to Ein Gedi in the south, including all settlements and Maaleh Efraim.
- the Jerusalem area and a corridor connecting it to the Jordan Valley.
- the Etzion Bloc area.
- the Ariel area.
- Hebron (Qiryat Arba and the Jewish Quarter).
Unilateral separation that comprises the removal of settlements and installations will require considerable budgetary resources. But in the long term it will save both material resources and human lives, and offer an opportunity to end the current impasse.
The unilateral separation plan does not offer a complete solution. It was formulated for the future benefit of the State of Israel. It has the potential to create conditions that are substantially better than the current situation, in which escalation threatens both peoples.