Israel Government meeting about the Prime Minister’s statement on the Roadmap
Jerusalem, May 25, 2003

A. The Government of Israel, today (Sunday), May 25, 2003, considered the Prime Minister’s statement on the Roadmap, as well as Israel’s comments on its implementation. Following its deliberations, the Government, by a majority vote, resolved:

Based on the 23 May 2003 statement of the United States Government, in which the United States committed to fully and seriously address Israel’s comments to the Roadmap during the implementation phase, the Prime Minister announced on 23 May 2003 that Israel has agreed to accept the steps set out in the Roadmap.

The Government of Israel affirms the Prime Minister’s announcement, and resolves that all of Israel’s comments, as addressed in the Administration’s statement, will be implemented in full during the implementation phase of the Roadmap.

A list of the comments forwarded by Israel for the review of the Administration in the United States has been attached to this decision.

B. The Government also resolved, concerning the issue of the refugees, as follows:

The Government of Israel today accepted the steps set out in the Roadmap. The Government of Israel expresses its hope that the political process that will commence, in accordance with the 24 June 2002 speech of President Bush, will bring security, peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Government of Israel further clarifies that, both during and subsequent to the political process, the resolution of the issue of the refugees will not include their entry into or settlement within the State of Israel.

Israel’s Road Map Reservations

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s cabinet on Sunday approved the “road map” – a three-phase plan that calls for a settlement freeze and an end to terror attacks in the first stage, a Palestinian state with temporary borders in the second, and a final-status agreement by 2005. The vote was 12-7 with four abstentions at the end of a stormy six-hour debate.

Israel attached 14 reservations to the road map, which the U.S. has promised to “fully and seriously address,” but this promise was not an assurance that all of Israel’s demands would be met. The following is the text of the reservations:

Primary themes of Israel’s remarks

1. Both at the commencement of, and during the process, and as a condition to its continuance, calm will be maintained. The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and implement security reforms during the course of which new organizations will be formed and act to combat terror, violence and incitement (incitement must cease immediately and the Palestinian Authority must educate for peace).

These organizations will engage in genuine prevention of terror and violence through arrests, interrogations, prevention and the enforcement of the legal groundwork for investigations, prosecution and punishment. In the first phase of the plan and as a condition for progress to the second phase, the Palestinians will complete the dismantling of terrorist organizations (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front, Al-Aqsa Brigades and other apparatuses) and their infrastructure; collection of all illegal weapons and their transfer to a third party for the sake of being removed from the area and destroyed; cessation of weapons smuggling and weapons production inside the Palestinian Authority; activation of the full prevention apparatus and cessation of incitement.

There will be no progress to the second phase without the fulfillment of all above-mentioned conditions relating to the war against terror. The security plans to be implemented are the Tenet and Zinni plans. [As in the other mutual frameworks, the road map will not state that Israel must cease violence and incitement against the Palestinians].

2. Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement. Progress between phases will come only following the full implementation of the preceding phase. Attention will be paid not to time lines, but to performance benchmarks (time lines will serve only as reference points).

3. The emergence of a new and different leadership in the Palestinian Authority within the framework of governmental reform. The formation of a new leadership constitutes a condition for progress to the second phase of the plan. In this framework, elections will be conducted for the Palestinian Legislative Council following coordination with Israel.

4. The Monitoring mechanism will be under American management. The chief verification activity will concentrate upon the creation of another Palestinian entity and progress in the civil reform process within the Palestinian Authority. Verification will be performed exclusively on a professional basis and per issue (economic, legal, financial) without the existence of a combined or unified mechanism. Substantive decisions will remain in the hands of both parties.

5. The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum.

6. In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.

7. End of the process will lead to the end of all claims and not only the end of the conflict.

8. The future settlement will be reached through agreement and direct negotiations between the two parties, in accordance with the vision outlined by President Bush in his 24 June address.

9. There will be no involvement with issues pertaining to the final settlement. Among issues not to be discussed: settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (excluding a settlement freeze and illegal outposts); the status of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions in Jerusalem; and all other matters whose substance relates to the final settlement. 10. The removal of references other than 242 and 338 (1397, the Saudi Initiative and the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the road map will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity therefrom. The only possible reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.

11. Promotion of the reform process in the Palestinian Authority: a transitional Palestinian constitution will be composed, a Palestinian legal infrastructure will be constructed and cooperation with Israel in this field will be renewed. In the economic sphere: international efforts to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy will continue. In the financial sphere: the American-Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be implemented in full as a condition for the continued transfer of tax revenues.

12. The deployment of IDF forces along the September 2000 lines will be subject to the stipulation of Article 4 (absolute quiet) and will be carried out in keeping with changes to be required by the nature of the new circumstances and needs created thereby. Emphasis will be placed on the division of responsibilities and civilian authority as in September 2000, and not on the position of forces on the ground at that time.

13. Subject to security conditions, Israel will work to restore Palestinian life to normal: promote the economic situation, cultivation of commercial connections, encouragement and assistance for the activities of recognized humanitarian agencies. No reference will be made to the Bertini Report as a binding source document within the framework of the humanitarian issue.

14. Arab states will assist the process through the condemnation of terrorist activity. No link will be established between the Palestinian track and other tracks (Syrian-Lebanese).

Sharon: Road map doesn’t require settlement freeze

Jerusalem Post, 5/27/03

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a Knesset panel Tuesday that in accepting the US-backed road map, Israel made no commitments regarding the issue of Jewish settlements in the territories, media reports said.

Sharon told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel has an understanding with the US that the issue of demands for a settlement freeze would be dealt with in separate channels, Israel Radio said.

Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed that a Sharon meeting scheduled for Wednesday with Palestinian Premier Mahmud Abbas, has been postponed. Israel Radio said the meeting was delayed until Thursday.

According to reports, Abbas had a schedule problem due to plans to meet Wednesday with the Spanish foreign minister.

Despite the delay in what would be a second Sharon-Abbas summit, a three-way summit with US President George W. Bush is still expected to be held next week in the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba.

In the Knesset committee meeting, Sharon was quoted as criticizing Abbas openly for the first time Tuesday. He accused Abbas of being too soft with terrorist leaders, and holding “heart-to-heart” talks with them instead of cracking down on the violence, media reports said.

Much of the meeting focused on the words uttered by Sharon at a Likud Party meeting on Monday, which stunned right and left-wingers alike.

Dovish lawmakers praised Sharon for saying that Israel’s “occupation” of the territories is “terrible,” and should be curtailed. But, while hawkish National Religious Party lawmaker Shaul Yahalom said he was shocked by the remarks, other legislators were blase.

“He’s a man of zig zags,” Meretz lawmaker Yossi Sarid said. “I’ll wait to judge him when I see a settlement freeze, and illegal outposts removed.”

Sharon meanwhile, appeared to backtrack on his groundbreaking remarks by agreeing to a correction made by Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein, that the territories, i.e., the West Bank and Gaza Strip are “disputed” not “occupied.”