Principle of Historic Compromise

This concept refers to a Palestinian narrative which adopts the Two State Solution based on the partition of Mandatory Palestine.

Definition

The concept of the Principle of Historic Compromise refers to a Palestinian narrative which adopts the Two State Solution based on the partition of Mandatory Palestine. This narrative focuses on the understanding that the existence of the State of Israel is a fait accompli.

Opposing Narratives

The Re’ut Institute frames two Palestinian narratives regarding the realization of Palestinian nationalist aspirations: the Principle of Historic Compromise and the Ethos of the Palestinian Struggle.

The concept of the Ethos of the Palestinian Struggle (hereinafter Ethos of Struggle) refers to a Palestinian perception that negates Israel's right to exist and calls for the realization of Palestinian nationalist aspirations through the establishment of a Palestinian state on all of Mandatory Palestine using diplomatic, political and military means.1 (See table.)

Principle of Historic Compromise

The essence of the Principle of Historic Compromise is based on the Palestinian acceptance of a Two State Solution within the area of Mandatory Palestine. Its central tenets are:

  1. Recognition – either implicit or explicit – of the Jewish Right to Self-Determination as embodied by the State of Israel;
  2. The Palestinian Right to Self-Determination will be realized in the Palestinian state, whose borders will be based upon the 6/4/67 Borders and will include the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) comprising its capital;
  3. The 6/4/67 borders are the basis for the division of Mandatory Palestine between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine according to a 78:22 ratio;
  4. The Palestinians cannot accept further territorial compromise within the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem. Therefore any recognition of Israeli sovereignty within these areas must be compensated territorially on a 1:1 ratio;
  5. The PLO represents the Palestinian refugees and is authorized to negotiate on their behalf regarding the implementation of the Right of Return according to UN Resolution 194;
  6. The issue of Palestinian Refugeeism will be resolved in agreement with Israel. Hence, it is inferred that the majority of Palestinian Refugees will not return to the State of Israel;
  7. Though Israeli-Arabs are Palestinians, issues regarding their interaction with the state are an internal Israeli matter;
  8. A Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel is the end-goal of the Palestinian national struggle;

Historical Background

Prior to 1988, The Palestinian Ethos of Struggle was the main Palestinian narrative.

The PLO's Phased Plan (6/74) affirmed that through "armed struggle" the Palestinians would establish an "independent combatant national authority" over any territory that is "liberated" from Israeli rule (Article 2), and subsequently continue the struggle against Israel using this territory as a base of operations (Article 4).

Some argue that the Oslo Process represented the first phase of the plan to establish an independent national authority before the liberation of “all Palestinian Territory”. Others argue that the Oslo Process represented a genuine departure by the Palestinian leadership from the Ethos of Struggle towards a Historic Compromise.

1988-1993

The Palestinian Declaration of Independence (Algiers Declaration (11/88)) provided for the creation of a Palestinian state on the basis of the General Assembly Resolution 181 (11/47) (Partition Plan), and also referenced UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It was the first official Palestinian adoption of a two state solution.

1993-2001 The Declaration of Principles2 (9/93) signified the formal Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel and commenced the Oslo Process, which had as its implicit end-goal the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.The PLO annulled the sections of the Palestinian National Charter which negate the existence of the state of Israel (4/96 and 12/98).3 However, throughout the Oslo Process there were indications that the Palestinians had not completely committed to principle of compromise.4

2001-present

The Roadmap (4/03), the current political process, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel after both sides fulfill a set of obligations. Included among these, is the formulation of a Palestinian Constitution written in the spirit of the Roadmap. (See: First Phase of the Roadmap).The current draft of the Constitution is ambiguous, containing elements of both the Ethos of Struggle and the Principle of Historic Compromise5 (See: Palestinian Constitution – Third Draft (5/03)).

The electoral victory of the Hamas Movement in the Palestinian Legislative Council, strengthens the Ethos of Struggle, as it has never officially recognized Israel or existing agreements and refuses to disarm. The Hamas Covenant (8/88) states that “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad”.6

Table For the two opposing Palestinian narratives as they relate to key issues that define the Palestinian nationalist aspirations click here.



1 The concept of the Ethos of the Palestinian Struggle is distinct from the Doctrine of Armed Struggle. While the Ethos of Struggle accepts that liberating Palestine will require diplomatic, political and legal battles (as well as military means), Armed Struggle ideologically restricts the Palestinian liberation struggle to military tactics. For more detailed information regarding the “Doctrine of Armed Struggle” see: Bechor Guy, Lexicon of the PLO, Israeli Ministry of Defense; Tel Aviv, 1991, p.191 (in Hebrew).
2 An Exchange of Letters between Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat accompanied the Declaration of Principles. In the letters, Israel recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
3 Ross Dennis, The Missing Peace, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux: New York, 2004. pp. 198, 442-447 and 479-486.
4 On multiple occasions Chairman of the PLO Yasir Arafat justified the process by referencing the Phased Plan, under which the establishment of a Palestinian Self-Governing Authority would be used to continue the struggle for a single Palestinian state. Begin, Zeev Binyamin, A Sad Story, Miskal-Yediot Ahronot; Tel-Aviv, 2000, pp. 44-45 (in Hebrew).
5 For example:According to the Ethos of Struggle, the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian People until the liberation of Mandatory Palestine in its entirety and the realization of the refugees' Right of Return to their original homes.In contrast, according to the Principle of Historic Compromise, the Palestinian state is the representative of its residents and successor to the PLO.The Third Draft reflects inability to decide between the two approaches. The undefined nature of the borders and lack of resolution of Outstanding Issues means that the PLO will have valid claim for representation even after the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Third Draft does not clearly distinguish between the authorities of the two bodies. (For further elaboration see Israel's Interface with the Palestinian Constitutional Structure).

6 Hamas Covenant (Article 13).