Finality of Claims

This concept refers to an Israeli stipulation for signing a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians that would resolve all outstanding issues.

Definition

The concept Finality of Claims (FOC) refers to an Israeli stipulation for signing a Permanent Status Agreement (PSA) with the Palestinians that would:

  • Resolve all Outstanding Issues;
  • Encompass any claim either side might raise throughout the negotiation process;
  • Constitute the sole basis for resolving any future disputes between Israel and the Palestinians. The implementation of the PSA would be the only source of claims between the two sides.1

Historical Background

The framework of the Oslo Process (9/93-1/01) was the establishment of a Palestinian state after the signing of one comprehensive PSA which would then lead to FOC and an End of Conflict. (See: Package Approach).

The Declaration of Principles (9/93) identified a number of Outstanding Issues that the Government of Israel and the PLO agreed to defer until Permanent Status negotiations.2 These issues include: Sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Holy Sites; the Issue of Palestinian Refugeeism; demarcation of the Permanent Borders; future of Israeli settlements and security issues including border crossing arrangements, military cooperation and Safe Passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Though not stated explicitly in the Declaration of Principles, the Permanent Status negotiations would also have to resolve the political status and legal structures of the future Palestinian State.3 (For further information about the state-to-state relations in Permanent Status see the Re’ut Institute analysis-base product: Israeli-Palestinian State-to-State Relations in Permanent Status).

The Oslo mindset was represented by the Israeli demand for FOC, which first appeared at the 2000 Camp David Summit when then Prime Minister Ehud Barak made it a condition for the signing of a PSA.

The Roadmap represents the reversal of the Oslo mindset, in that it calls for the establishment of a Palestinian State with Provisional Borders in the Second Phase of the Roadmap before one comprehensive Permanent Status Agreement is reached. In other words, a Palestinian State would be established prior to the resolution of the Outstanding Issues.

Fragmentation and Dilution Approach

Non-comprehensive agreements reached within the framework of the Roadmap might resolve a portion of the aforementioned Outstanding Issues while leaving others open. For example, an agreement on permanent borders recognized by the international community would put an end to territorial claims while leaving the status of the refugees open. In this way, a partial de-facto PSA may be reached without officially establishing FOC.



1 See Gilead Sher, Just Beyond Reach, Tel Aviv; Miskal, 2001. p. 21. (in Hebrew).

2 See the official Knesset website for the text of the Declaration of Principles (Article V Number III).

3 For instance, negotiations would need to define the authorities and powers of representation of the Palestinian State, with corresponding regulations and agreements in fields such as the economy, civil and criminal law, intellectual property, agriculture, archeology, planning, education, culture, energy infrastructure, communications, and passage of goods and municipal issues in the greater Jerusalem region. (See: Conventional Issues).