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Appendiks 6

Ad verbum: STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL, Paris, July 21, 1993

Dear Mr. Peres,

  1. Many thanks for your very kind letter of 18 July 1993. I am very pleased indeed that you find our efforts useful. I am also extremely encouraged by the tone and content of your letter as well as by the report I received from Ms. Juul and Mr. Larsen.
  2. I had another meeting with Mr. Arafat in Tunis on July 20th prior to my departure from Tunisia. Mr. Abu Alaa, Ms. Juul and Mr. Larsen were also present. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the major contents and thrust of our discussion.
  3. I opened the discussion with a statement where I had the following points having warned against further leaks:
    1. It is clear that Israel wants to reach an agreement and that such an agreement is within reach. The Norwegian channel seems to be the preferred avenue. Time is running out, however, and the negotiations cannot be permitted to drag on. The major advantage of the Norwegian Channel is that it provides for direct negotiations between the principal parties, i.e., Israel and the PLO. Norway’s role is that of facilitator not mediator. We have no special interests or global considerations compelling us to seek particular solutions. A solution reached through the Norwegian channel will not be a brokered solution, but direct agreement. It is my impression that the PLO can never achieve a better deal than now.
    2. Successful conclusion of the talks requires a realistic approach by both sides. It is realistic to go for a historical breakthrough now.
    3. Concluding an agreement will require leadership, willingness to break consensus in order to make possible that which is necessary. I appealed to Arafat as the undisputed leader of the Palestinians to play that role and expressed high confidence that the present Israeli government has leaders who are willing and able to play the same role.
    4. On the key outstanding issues of substance I observed that a realistic approach on both sides should enable to tackle the Jericho-issue, including that of access. I observed that rather than talking of “corridors” we should think in term of “free passage” or “guaranteed access”.
    5. Furthermore, I made the point that security is important for Israel, also in order to ensure public support for a settlement. New acts of terrorism or continued prosecution of the intifada could jeopardize any agreement. It was necessary for the PLO to create structures which ensured accountability and control of their own people entrusted with arms.
    6. On the subject of Jerusalem I observed that both sides have many red lights. It is nevertheless my view that is possible to leave some issues open without prejudice to a final settlement, and to include some constructive ambiguities in the first phase DPO.
    7. Any agreement should comprise a substantial economic package. It should be possible to mobilize international commitment to such a package if Israel and the PLO can achieve an historical breakthrough. Implementation of a first phase agreement would then pave the way to a broader ethos of cooperation based on a recognition of the fact and potential of independence.
    8. An historical breakthrough in the Norwegian channel will capture the imagination and initiative in a way which will deny the expectation and projection that fundamentalism and confrontation will shape the future of the Middle East. Instead realism, moderation and cooperation will have been given significant boost.
    9. Israel is willing to participate in a new round of negotiations in Oslo July 24th-26th. We are ready to arrange it and hope that the PLO will participate as well. It should be a realistic objective to initial the DOP during that meeting in Oslo.
  4. Arafat responded firmly and thoughtfully to my introduction. He made the following points:
    1. He was obviously intrigued by the term “historical breakthrough” and readily and enthusiastically embraced the notion.
    2. He promised to do his outmost to prevent further leaks in the future, but claimed most of the leaks now come from Israel.
    3. As during our conversation the previous week he emphasized the importance of a Gaza-Jericho construction. He emphasized that no “Gaza-only solution” will be acceptable. Any “Gaza first solution” was inadequate although pointing in the right direction, but it would represent a dead-end if it were not linked to the Jericho-area. In his view Gaza had no religious significance for Israel, the implication that a “Gaza-only solution” could seem to convey an Israeli determination to hold on to all those areas of alleged significance. Arafat would then be confronted with an impossible sales problem. Without Jericho there would be no agreement. He again referred to the Allon-plan which allegedly comprised an element of regulated passage between Gaza, Jericho and Jordan. He expected difficulties in the negotiations concerning access arrangements, but stated confidently that “where there is a will, there is a way”.
    4. Arafat referred to his discussions with King Hussein concerning a confederation solution. In this context they had also touched on the question of safe passage. He claimed that the economic relations between Jordan, Jericho and Gaza presumed som kind of agreed access arrangements. In a final agreement Israel would have in his word to ble “obligated to give us passage”. He emphasized that it was not possible to divide the Palestinian population in two.
    5. When he focused on Jericho as the initial area under Palestinian control on the West Bank he did so because it would not raise problems concerning Israeli settlements up front.
    6. Arafat referred to recent statements by Prime Minister Rabin that he was ready to make controversial decision in relation to Syria. In the event of an Israeli-PLO DOP agreement he thought that the negotiations with Jordan, Lebanon and even Syria would be successful.
    7. He asserted that the need his own security forces in the area subject to early empowerment. He confirmed in response to my question that establishment of a police force based on PLO-fighters was necessary both for purposes of controlling the Intifada and maintaining control and discipline within the ranks of his own organization. He affirmed that they had succeeded in Southern Lebanon in the 70’s. He stressed that is was not a question og establishing “an army”, but rather what he referred to as “central security forces” or police forces similar to the Egyptian forces which were subject to control from the Ministry of Interior.
    8. Arafat volunteered that if it proved impossible to reach agreement on the DOP the parties could possibly sign a “joint statement” containing the point and emphasized the importance of signing the DOP now. I remarked that it seemed necessary to maintain a total package rather than an á la carte approach.
    9. Arafat thought that the DOP should contain at least “something vague” on Jerusalem. He expressed understanding for Israeli sensitivities on this issue, but claimed he needed something in order not to put the PLO in an impossible position in relation to its own people. He observed that Rabin had given the signal that Palestinians in Jerusalem could be given the right to vote. He suggested also that the DOP included “something about religious places” and access there to for Jews, Muslims and Christians. Such Arrangements would for him constitute a “comfortable relaxation” of the issues involved.
    10. Mr. Arafat reiterated the readiness of the PLO to conclude and sign the DPO now. “We are dealing in this attitude”, he asserted. He made impassioned reference to the deterioration living conditions in Gaza. If there were delays both the PLO and Israel would lose control of the situation in Gaza. “If we delay now we will lose control - all of us. Both of us need peace, but we have to make a compromise”. I observed that one of the spin-offs of the negotiations seems to be recognition that Israel and the PLO need each other; that they can only solve their own problems if they solve them together. Arafat agreed and stated that the Israelis and Palestinians must learn to live together.
    11. In illustration of the problems of the PLO leadership in Tunis in terms of opposition he pointed to Haidar Abdel Shafi’s recent remarks. The latter as well as the internal struggle in the negotiation delegation constituted proof of “how we are all losing”, and how important it is to arrive at an early agreement. He claimed that it was important to exploit the momentum of recent set-backs for the “integristes” (fundamentalists) in the university election in Bethlehem and Nablus.
    12. On my explicit prodding Arafat stated emphatically that the PLO charter was “caduc” and that he was ready to state that publicly again. Then he referred to his statement in Cairo in March. He affirmed that the PLO has accepted the two state solution by accepting SCR 242, and that the very fact of the DOP negotiation constituted proof that PLO was no longer committed to the destruction of Israel. He wanted to work towards a long term arrangement in the whole area. PLO is not anti-jewish and includes Jews.
    13. In my discussion with Abu Ala’a prior to the meeting with Arafat the former asserted that the DOP would supersede the decisions (make them not valid) in a way that would remove problems about Arafat’s title of “President” etc. The DPO would institute a new framework and regime.
    14. Arafat confirmed the readiness and eagerness of the PLO to participate in what he hoped would be the final round of negotiantions in Oslo the following weekend (24th-26th July).

Johan Jørgen Holst

Last modified: Sun Aug 30 20:43:51 2015 - BL