Last updated on: 5/15/2008 11:39:00 AM PST

What Was the 2002 Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Gidon Doni Remba, President of Chicago Peace Now, in an article posted on the Chicago Peace Now website titled "The Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement," wrote (accessed July 19, 2007):

"[T]he Nusseibeh-Ayalon agreement [is] a historic statement of basic principles for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict written by Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, the senior Palestinian representative in Jerusalem, and Ami Ayalon, former chief of Israel’s Shin Bet security service. It involves several major Palestinian concessions, including these key points:

  • An unequivocal recognition of Israel as the Jewish state,
  • A complete relinquishment of the right of refugee return for Palestinians to Israel,
  • Demilitarization for the Palestinian state;
  • The agreement is made between the Palestinian people and the Jewish people, and each recognizes the other's historic rights to the same land, while accepting the need for a historic compromise, resulting in two states for two peoples.
These are major concessions which Arafat was unwilling to make both at Camp David or Taba. The Palestinian recognition that Israel is the state of the Jewish people is unprecedented, as is the complete Palestinian renunciation of the demand to repatriate Palestinian refugees into Israel. At Taba, Arafat's negotiators still insisted on as many as 100,000 - 250,000 returning to Israel over a decade. In other respects, the plan is similar to the Taba proposal and the Clinton Plan, although it opts for 'divine sovereignty' (or no sovereignty) over the holy sites in Jerusalem, with Palestinian control over the Haram A-Sharif/Temple Mount, and Israeli control over the Western Wall. As in the Taba and Clinton plans, all Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem will come under Israeli sovereignty, while all Arab neighborhoods would come under Palestinian sovereignty."

July 19, 2007 - Gidon Doni Remba 

Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Kuds University and (at the time) PLO Representative in Jerusalem, and Ami Ayalon, Member of the Knesset and former Chief of the Israeli General Security Service (Shin Bet), completed the following document on Aug. 6, 2002, and then published it in Ha'aretz on Sep. 3, 2002:

"Cover Letter

The Palestinian people and the Jewish people each recognize the other's historic rights with respect to the same land. The Jewish people has for generations wanted to establish the Jewish State in all the Land of Israel, while the Palestinian people has similarly wanted to establish a state in all of Palestine.

The two sides hereby agree to accept a historic compromise based on the principle of two sovereign and viable states existing side by side. The following Statement of Intentions is an expression of the will of the majority of the people. Both sides believe that through this initiative they can influence their leaders and thereby open a new chapter in the region's history. This new chapter will be realized by calling on the international community to guarantee security in the region and to help in rehabilitating and developing the region's economy.

The People Vote - Statement of Intentions

1. Two states for two peoples: Both sides will declare that Palestine is the only state of the Palestinian people and Israel is the only state of the Jewish people.

2. Borders: Permanent borders between the two states will be agreed on the basis of the June 4, 1967 lines, UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative (known as the Saudi initiative).

  • Border modifications will be based on an equal territorial exchange (1:1) in accordance with the vital needs of both sides, including security, territorial contiguity, and demographic considerations.

  • The Palestinian State will have a connection between its two geographic areas, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

  • After establishment of the agreed borders, no settlers will remain in the Palestinian state.
3. Jerusalem: Jerusalem will be an open city, the capital of two states. Freedom of religion and full access to holy sites will be guaranteed to all.
  • Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem will come under Palestinian sovereignty; Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty.

  • Neither side will exercise sovereignty over the holy places. The State of Palestine will be designated Guardian of the Temple Mount for the benefit of Muslims. Israel will be the Guardian of the Western Wall for the benefit of the Jewish people. The status quo on Christian holy sites will be maintained. No excavation will take place in or underneath the holy sites.
4. Right of return: Recognizing the suffering and the plight of the Palestinian refugees, the international community, Israel, and the Palestinian State will initiate and contribute to an international fund to compensate them.
  • Palestinian refugees will return only to the State of Palestine; Jews will return only to the State of Israel.
  • 5. The Palestinian State will be demilitarized and the international community will guarantee its security and independence.

    End of conflict: Upon the full implementation of these principles, all claims on both sides and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end."

    Aug. 6, 2002 - Sari Nusseibeh, PhD 
    Ami Ayalon, MA