A group of Labor and Likud legislators who have been working to find common ground for future negotiations with the Palestinians have joined in proposing that the Palestinians be eventually granted a self-ruled "entity" and that no Jewish settlers be forcibly uprooted from the West Bank or Gaza Strip.
While the proposals have not been officially approved by either party and are not likely to be, the plan was the first to be prepared jointly by members of the two major parties. It is likely to serve at least as a frame of reference in the talks on a final settlement with the Palestinians that are supposed to be restarted soon and in the debates within Israel over the settlement's shape.The document, to be made public Sunday but made available to The New York Times in advance, was drafted by prominent members of each party. The Likud group was led by Michal Eitan, the governing party's whip in parliament, and the Labor team by Yossi Beilin, a former Cabinet minister and a candidate for the party leadership. The proposals are to be made public Sunday.
The notion behind the project was that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995 and the vicious disputes among Israelis over peace with the Palestinians pointed to the need for a national consensus on where the final-status talks should be headed.
To this end, the document sets out the necessity of continuing negotiations with the Palestinians and the recognition that a permanent agreement would include the establishment of a Palestinian "entity," the recognition of Israel's right to defend itself and a commitment not to uproot any Jewish settlement on occupied lands.
The definition of the Palestinian entity was one of several points on which the two sides failed to agree. The document noted that according to one "opinion," it would be an enlarged "autonomy," and according to another, Beilin's, a state.
All agreed, however, that it would not have an army nor the power to make agreements that could threaten Israel. And they agreed that if the Palestinians agreed to these limitations, the entity's "self-determination will be recognized."
That formulation went beyond what the Likud guidelines currently would allow, though officials of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have publicly discussed various models under which the Palestinians could call their entity a state but with limited sovereignty.
The Likud members also proposed to keep the Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty, while the Labor members proposed to maintain it as only a "special security zone." Both agreed that the Jordan River would remain Israel's "security border."
The proposal ruled out a return to the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East War, in which the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem were under Arab - then Jordanian - control.