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Five Points of Peace: Debate Preparation

Tomorrow you w ill be participating in a debate on t he five points of peace detailed in the Oslo Accords as a fictional character from either Israel o r the Occupied Territories. In p reparation,
it is important to figure out w hat your assigned character thinks about each issue so you will be ready share his o r her opinions with your classmates. B elow is a graphic o rganizer that
asks you to indicate your characters position on each of the five points and to explain exactly w hy he o r she holds such beliefs. In order to answer these questions, review t he descriptions
of each issue (presented on this page and the n ext), look over the stances taken by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators at Oslo (on the third p age), and, if still unsure, visit the w ebsite that is
indicated on your character card as it has a wealth of background information about your p erson.

Characters Position
Explanation of Position (Why?)

Borders: Borders refers not only to
drawn lines between Israel and a
proposed Palestinian state, but how to
best secure those borders. C haracters
with Borders as a priority are o ften
ones who live along borders, defend
borders, or are somehow affected by
the drawing of political lines.

Jerusalem:. Jerusalem is a major
point of contention for both Israelis
and Palestinians because of the citys
historical and religious importance.
The most important sites in Judaism
and Christianity are located there, as
is the third most important site in
Islam. Both Palestinians and Israelis
want full control of t he city, with
religious rights for all w ho live t here.
There have been proposals to
separate the city between East and
West, as w ell as to make Jerusalem an
international city with free access for
all religions.

Resources Resources can mean many
things. Water, farmlands, grazing
areas, and economic zones can fall
under Resources. In an ideal peace
agreement, Israelis and Palestinians
would have enough resources to
become self-sufficient states.

Characters Position

Explanation of Position (Why?)

Settlements: Settlements are areas in
the Occupied Territories that are
controlled by Jewish residents. The
first settlements were constructed
after t he 1967 War as a way of
claiming seized Palestinian and Syrian
territories. The Oslo discussions
centered around settlements
constructed in the West B ank and
Gaza Strip specifically, and it is
recognized t hat these settlements are
illegal under international law.
However, two or t hree generations of
Israel citizens have lived in t he oldest
of these settlements.

Refugees : Refugees mainly refers to
Palestinian refugees living o utside of
Israel and the Occupied Territories,
though t here are refugees w ho live in
the Occupied Territories as well.
Many of t hese people w ere displaced
during t he 1948 and 1967 wars,
though a few became refugees after
more recent conflicts. Refugees often
want to return to ancestral lands
taken by Jewish settlers, making t heir
situation even more difficult to deal

Time Magazine: A Peace-Process P rimer

Palestinian State and its borders: The Oslo agreement
established a limited form of self-rule for Palestinians living
in the main population centers of the West Bank and Gaza.
But final sovereignty over those areas remained w ith Israel,
and the Palestinian demand for a sovereign state was left to
"final status" talks although there w as a tacit
understanding t hat this would be the inevitable o utcome o f
the peace p rocess. The final borders o f such a state w ere
also left unresolved.

Jerusalem: No issue in t he conflict between Israel and the

Palestinians is more emotional t han Jerusalem. A big reason:
because Judaism's holiest site and Islam's third-holiest site
are located w ithin the city's boundaries. Half of t he city was
under Jordanian control until t he 1967 war, w hen it was
reunified after Israel drove Jordan o ut of the West Bank.

Israeli Settlements: Although Israel never formally
annexed the territories it captured in t he 1967 war, it began
settling tens o f thousands o f Israelis on land seized from
Palestinians. Today t here are 155,000 Israeli settlers living
in the West B ank and 6,000 in G aza, and t heir future is a
vexing question for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Refugees: Israel has excluded nearly a million Palestinians

from returning to homes from w hich they fled during the
1948 w ar between the Jewish state and her Arab neighbors.
Although many have now been absorbed as citizens in
countries across the Arab world, 50 years later 1.1 m illion
Palestinians still live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria,
Jordan and t he Palestinian territories. (A high birth rate
accounts for the increase.) A further 2.5 million Palestinians
are formally registered as refugees.

Palestinian Position
The Palestinians insist that a sovereign state is their right as
a people, and t hey expect that state to comprise all of t he
Palestinian territories conquered in 1967, including East
Jerusalem, w hich they regard as t heir capital. They argue
that the Palestinians made their territorial compromise at
Oslo, by accepting the principle of statehood only in the
West Bank and Gaza as opposed to the entire state of Israel
once demanded by t he PLO and t hey're in no mood to be
talked back from that position.

The Palestinians have always regarded Jerusalem, or Al

Quds, as they call it, as the capital of their future state. They
want to restore a divide between Israeli and Arab sections,
with the religious rights of all guaranteed.

The Palestinians have always m aintained that Israeli
settlements in t he o ccupied territories are illegal, and that
the settlers would ultimately have to be removed under any
peace agreement. In practice, however, they have been
forced to accept the reality of settlers' remaining in small
enclaves guarded by the Israeli military in t he countryside
and in such Palestinian-controlled towns as Hebron.
Settlements remain flashpoints for violence between Israelis
and Palestinians, and Arafat w ill seek to freeze and reduce
existing settlements in areas under Palestinian control.

Arafat insists on the right of t he refugees to return to t heir
original family homes, even though he recognizes t hat would
be a nonstarter for Israel. He also expects Israel to
compensate any who chose to remain abroad or move to the
new Palestinian state.

Israeli Position
While B arak accepts the inevitability of a Palestinian state,
his p riority is ensuring Israel's security a Palestinian
nation that shares borders w ith potentially hostile Arab
states could provide a lethal military advantage for Israel's
enemies. Those security concerns w ill lead Barak to limit t he
territorial scope of a Palestinian state probably by
seeking to maintain an Israeli military buffer along t he
Jordan River and to also limit the scope for the
Palestinians' development of t heir own army and the extent
of their alliances with Israel's enemies. Barak also upholds
Israel's exclusive claim on Jerusalem, and wants to annex
those parts of t he West Bank that are heavily populated by
Israeli settlers.

Israel insists that Jerusalem is its "eternal" capital (although
most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv) and
that the city w ill remain undivided under its control, w ith
rights of religious access guaranteed to all.

While B arak has no particular ideological commitment to

the settlers, their presence to some extent suits his o bjective
of maintaining an Israeli security presence throughout most
of the West B ank. So w hereas Israel forcibly ejected settlers
when it handed the Sinai p eninsula back to Egypt in 1979, in
the West Bank it w ill insist on t he right o f settlers to remain
in the territory under the protection of the Israeli m ilitary.

Israel has no intention of allowing Palestinians to return to

property seized in 1948 for fear of diminishing t he Jewish
majority in Israel, and would p refer not to see the
population of t he Palestinian state swelled by a m assive
influx of refugees although t he majority of diaspora
Palestinians would be unlikely to choose to live in Gaza or
the West Bank.