The Interim Agreement

Thus, the interim agreement was essentially seen as a holding action intended to complement the ABM Treaty by restricting competition on strategic offensive weapons and allowing time to continue negotiations. The agreement essentially freezes at the existing level the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers operational or under construction on each side and allows SLBM launchers to be increased to an agreed level for each party only by dismantling or destroying an equivalent number of icBM or SLBM missile launchers. The interim agreement includes more than 300 pages of 5 chapters containing 31 “articles” and 7 “appendices” and 9 “cards.” The agreement has a “preamble” that acknowledges its roots in the previous diplomatic efforts of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) and UN Security Council Resolution 338 (1973), the 1991 Madrid Conference and other previous agreements. In particular, the agreement recognizes the establishment of an “acting autonomous Palestinian authority”, i.e. an elected Council called the “Council” or “Palestinian Council”. Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have welcomed the idea of crossing borders before addressing subsequent final status issues, but have so far refused to consider temporary borders. However, there are signs that this position may change. In a 2007 Al-Hayat article, former Palestinian negotiator Omar Dajani and former Egyptian diplomat Izz al-Din Shukri wrote that the Palestinian Authority could now propose a peace plan that established “Palestinian advantages in the affairs of the state and its borders,” while it is effectively sticking to two cards to play later: Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and the issue of refugees. And it can do so “without making it an obstacle to realizing these benefits.” Similarly, Ata Qaymari, a prominent Palestinian journalist, wrote in 2008 that “Palestinians, including Hamas, should agree to pursue more temporary agreements”, namely tahde`a (calm), and then hudna (ceasefire) to “improve the political status of the country and Palestinian citizens”.” More than 16 years after the euphoria of the Oslo Accords, Israelis and Palestinians have yet to reach a peace agreement with final status. In fact, the last decade has been dominated by setbacks — the second intifada, which began in September 2000; Hamas` victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006; then his military takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 — all of this exacerbated the conflict.

The Palestinians never participated in their own ceasefire agreement in 1949 because they did not exercise any military control over any territory. Instead, Jordan and Egypt were negotiating territorial claims over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Today, the reality on the ground is very different: the Palestinians militarily control the entire Gaza Strip and large parts of the West Bank. If ceasefire talks were to begin today, Palestinian leaders would finally have the opportunity to claim the seat they have been denied for so long. (Hamas leaders in Gaza should decide whether or not to accept the outcome of the negotiations) With regard to refugees, refugees residing in the new Palestinian state could be offered prompt compensation and resettlement assistance without risking losing their refugee status before reaching a comprehensive solution to the refugee problem. In addition, refugee education, health and social benefits budgets could be transferred from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to the Palestinian Authority.

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