Can Palestinian Authority Request
the Transfer of Israelis?
Recently a number of Israeli commentators have defended the Palestinian Authority's (PA) refusal to transfer terrorists to Israel by claiming that this is acceptable behavior since Israel does not extradite Israelis to the PA. This argument, however, ignores the irrefutable fact that the PA has no authority to request the transfer of Israeli suspects.
According the Interim Agreement, Israel has sole criminal jurisdiction over offenses committed by Israelis and the PA can only request the transfer of non-Israelis. As for civil cases against Israelis which fall within the PA's jurisdiction, PA imprisonment orders against Israelis are effected by the Israeli police so they serve their punishment in Israeli rather than Palestinian prison.
The relevant sections of the Interim Agreement are presented below:
Washington, 28th September, 1995
Annex IV Protocol Concerning Legal Matters
ARTICLE I Criminal Jurisdiction
2. Israel has sole criminal jurisdiction over the following offenses:
b. offenses committed in the Territory by Israelis.
ARTICLE II Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
2. Cooperation in Criminal Matters
... b. Where an offense is committed in the Territory by an Israeli acting jointly with an individual under Palestinian personal jurisdiction, the Israeli military forces and the Palestinian Police will cooperate in conducting an investigation.
c. The Palestinian authorities shall not arrest Israelis or place them in custody. Israelis can identify themselves by presenting Israeli documentation.
However, when an Israeli commits a crime against a person or property in the Territory, the Palestinian Police, upon arrival at the scene of the offense shall, if necessary, until the arrival of the Israeli military forces, detain the suspect in place while ensuring his protection and the protection of those involved, prevent interference with the scene of the offense, collect the necessary evidence and conduct preliminary questioning, and in any case shall immediately notify the Israeli authorities through the relevant DCO.
d. Without derogating from the jurisdiction of the Council over property located or transported within the Territory, where the property is being transported or carried by an Israeli , the following procedure shall apply: The Palestinian authorities have the power to take any measures necessary in relation to Israeli vehicles or property where such vehicle or property has been used in the commission of a crime and present an immediate danger to public safety or health. When such measures are taken, the Palestinian authorities shall immediately notify the Israeli authorities through the relevant DCO, and shall continue to take the necessary measures until their arrival.
3. When an Israeli is suspected of committing an offense and is present in the Territory, the Israeli military forces shall be able to arrest, search and detain the suspect as required; in areas where the Palestinian Police exercise powers and responsibilities for internal security and public order, such activities shall take place in coordination with the Palestinian Police, in its presence and with its assistance.
4. Israel shall hand over to the Palestinian Police the Palestinian offenders to whom Article I, paragraph 1.b applies, together with any collected evidence.
6. Summons and Questioning of Witnesses
a. Where the statement of a witness who is an Israeli or other person present in Israel is required for a Palestinian investigation, the statement shall be taken by the Israeli Police in the presence of a Palestinian Police officer in an Israeli facility at an agreed location.
7. Transfer of Suspects and Defendants
a. Where a non-Israeli suspected of, charged with, or convicted of, an offense that falls within Palestinian criminal jurisdiction is present in Israel , the Council may request Israel to arrest and transfer the individual to the Council.
ARTICLE III Civil Jurisdiction
4. Israelis, including registered companies of Israelis, conducting commercial activity in the Territory are subject to the prevailing civil law in the Territory relating to that activity. Enforcement of judicial and administrative judgments and orders issued against Israelis and their property shall be effected by Israel, within a reasonable time, in coordination and cooperation with the Council.
ARTICLE IV Legal Assistance in Civil Matters
3. Enforcement of Judgments
c. Without derogating from the civil jurisdiction of the Palestinian courts and judicial authorities in accordance with Article III, imprisonment orders against Israelis, and orders restraining Israelis from traveling abroad (excluding interim orders before a judgment was given), shall only be issued by Israeli execution offices and effected by the Israeli police.
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Redeployment - What Does That Mean?
The next round in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations deals with the redeployment issue. The Israelis want redeployment from a minimum amount of territory in Judea in return for a maximum effort to meet their security needs. The Palestinians want a maximum re-deployment in return for security arrangements that they feel they can realistically live with given the Byzantine political realities facing their Palestinian Autonomy.
The real facts on the ground level are strikingly different. While both sides negotiate and argue about what percentage will fall under control of what group, the truth is that about 85% of what was Judea and Samaria is already under tactical control of the PA.
The Israelis have found themselves to be in a difficult tactical military situation. The only area that they control is the area that the IDF soldiers actually occupy, in their bases, or in the Jewish settlements.
The lifelines connecting the settlements and bases to Israel proper are patrolled by the IDF but not under their control. The terrorists can strike at any passing Jewish bus, civilian vehicle, or military transport at will and disappear back into the areas under exclusive PA control.
What then is the real issue? The real issue is simply a matter of political control. The main cause for conflict during this transitional period centers on the destruction of Palestinian housing. This housing was built without obtaining building permits from the IDF civilian affairs command. On the Jewish side, the freeze on all building or expanding of existing settlements is still in effect.
At the same time as the political debate continues, most of Judea and Samaria lie woefully underdeveloped and neglected. The utilization of it's natural resources, water table, sewage treatment, and other ecological issues which affect all residents, Jewish and Palestinian alike, have yet to be addressed in a non-political atmosphere of grass-roots co-operation. The medical needs of the peoples living in this area are not being properly dealt with. No properly staffed and operated hospitals exist which can compete with the complex medical centers found elsewhere in the world. The reasons for this are mainly political. The finances, human resources, and the desire for co-operation in this area exist. There is, at this time, a window of opportunity, which can bring about the realization of a better life for all the peoples in Judea and Samaria. Politicians on both sides who neither live in the area nor understand the complex grass-roots survival issues involved, are closing this window.
What should be done is to create an internationally monitored housing authority, which would supervise two separate departments, one operated by the PA and the other by the Israelis. In the event of conflict of interests, a tribunal consisting of international authorities acceptable by all sides concerned would settle the issues. Under this plan, all houses presently in existence should be retroactively granted building permits.
All new Palestinian housing and expansion of the Jewish settlements should be left exclusively in the hands of this newly created housing authority. What this plan would do is allow for the natural commercial and industrial expansion of infrastructure in Judea and Samaria without political restrictions.
Jewish and Palestinian joint housing and business ventures should be encouraged to build housing and industrial parks, roads, hospitals, schools, and the necessary infrastructure to support hi-tech industries.
This program could well be called Industry for Peace, and there is no reason why the program couldn't be moved forward in parallel to the political track.
For the man on the street, political realities usually take a back seat to the reality of health, security, welfare, and education. No matter how the political lines are finally drawn, the economic infrastructure, which will provide the bread and butter of co-existence, must be established_and established now.
PLC Rep. Hatem Abdul Kader:
IMRA interviewed Jerusalem Fatah Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Representative, Hatem Abdul Kader, in English, on January 3rd. The entire interview follows:
IMRA: You are quoted in the weekly "Al-Bayader Al-Siyasi" today as saying that you don't thing that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is doing enough in Jerusalem. Is that an accurate quote? What do you think they should be doing?
Abdul Kader: I think that the PNA can do many things in Jerusalem but for some reason, which I don't understand, they have stopped. Why? I don't know exactly.
We have, in the Jerusalem Committee of the PLC, made many decisions about east Jerusalem, but the PNA has not accepted any decisions.
IMRA: Do you think that this indicates that Yasser Arafat in the end may be willing to compromise on Jerusalem?
Abdul Kader: I think that maybe Yasser Arafat has an agreement with the Israelis about east Jerusalem- I don't know exactly. When I talk about Jerusalem I mean the city and the villages around the city. The region. It is part of Jerusalem. But the PNA is also not doing anything about the electricity , water, building, housing. Nothing. But in Gaza they are doing all the things.
IMRA: Do you think that if Yasser Arafat would try to cut a deal with the Israelis, with something like Beilin-Mazen that talks about Abu Dis as the Jerusalem capital of Palestine, that the public would accept this? That he could get away with this?
Abdul Kader: No, no, no. Nobody has accepted it. Not the Palestinians. Not the Arab world. Not the Moslem world. Jerusalem is Jerusalem. It is our capital. In my opinion we need all of east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
IMRA: What do you think would happen to Yasser Arafat if he did make such a deal?
Abdul Kader: I think it would be illegal.
IMRA: What do you think would happen? What would the public do to him?
Abdul Kader: I am sure that Yasser Arafat isn't doing anything like this. Abu Mazen-Beilin can talk what they want, but I think that there is nothing on the ground.
IMRA: One last question. Recently I have asked a number of Palestinians what they think what will happen to places like French Hill and Ramat Eshkol, areas beyond the 1967 borders which have been populated by Israelis and developed for many many years. They are quite strong that even those areas would be within the Palestinian state. Do you feel the same way?
Abdul Kader: I think that east Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. We think two capitals for two states. East Jerusalem and west Jerusalem. I think that east Jerusalem and west Jerusalem must be open, but not united. Two municipalities, two capitals, two cities, but it must be open.
IMRA: What do you see happening to the Jewish neighborhoods beyond the 1967 borders in east Jerusalem?
Abdul Kader: I don't think It is a problem for us.
IMRA: They would be part of Israel?
Abdul Kader: No, no. It is not a problem for us. Any Jews who want to live under Palestinian rule in east Jerusalem are welcome.
IMRA: So they would be living in the Palestinian state.
Abdul Kader: Yes. And have all the rights like the Palestinians. We don't want to transfer all the Jews from east Jerusalem.
IMRA: Many of the Jews living in east Jerusalem are living on property with 49 year leases - they don't own the land, its government land. What happens to these people since they don't actually own the land?
Abdul Kader: Any Jews who have paper - a right to land or buildings in east Jerusalem are not a problem for us. We are talking about the capital. About the policy. We want east Jerusalem under the Palestinians. But if any Jews have a building or land it is no problem for us.
IMRA: So they would become Palestinian citizens?
Abdul Kader: Yes. And also we have Palestinians in east Jerusalem who own buildings in west Jerusalem. We have papers to land and any Palestinians or Jews who have papers - any rights to buildings or land it is not a problem. I think that all of east Jerusalem must be under Palestinian rule.
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Bridges Between Arab and Jewish
When the late Anwar Sadat made his historic dramatic trip to Jerusalem 20 years ago , he asserted the importance of bridging the gap between Arabs and Jews by breaking what he called the "Psychological Barrier." existing between the two peoples. While real and objective problems need to be solved between Israelis and the Arabs as part of a peace settlement, certainly the psychological atmosphere existing between Israelis, and Palestinians is a factor which can either enhance or retard the possibilities for peace to develop. In this article we will suggest that the insufficiently explored commonalities between the Islamic and Judaic cultures can serve as a psychological bridge of the type which President Sadat spoke of, referring to concrete examples.
As educators of university students we would like to share our experiences as supervisors of a unique student dialogue which has been taking place for the last several years. The dialogue has involved students from Bar-Ilan University and Palestinian students from a variety of Palestinian universities. We believe that the experiences of the above-mentioned dialogue points the way and serves as an excellent head-start toward the possibility that both Arabs and Jews can achieve positive perceptions of each other. In contrast to the belief that religion only serves to fan the flame of conflict, the dialogue has shown that the religious cultural background of both Islam and Judaism can contribute to a friendly psychological atmosphere which will bridge the gap between the two peoples.
When our students met for the first time three years ago in Bethlehem, it wasn't clear what common agenda could be found as a foundation for constructive dialogue. The answers though appeared to come from the students themselves. It began with an innocent question by a Jewish woman student to an Arab female student who asked if she wore the head covering for the same reason that an Orthodox Jewish woman would. This first exchange led to other questions and answers, for instance concerning similarities and differences between the observances of Ramadan and Yom Kippur, the Kosher and Halal food, the way the two peoples worship the same G-d, the teachings of the two religions, the belief of the Moslems and Jews in the same one G-d, the respect and belief of the Moslems of all the prophets and not discriminating between anyone of them, the belief of the Moslims that Prophet Abraham is the grandfather of all Arabs and Jews. As a result of the last-mentioned point, one of the most important things concluded was the idea that Moslims and Jews as descendants of Abraham could achieve improved perceptions of each other. Also they discussed the origins and similarities among the three monotheistic religions. A variety of topics were initially discussed. The way the Qu'ran and Prophet Mohammed recommended the good treatment of the neighbors. Even during war, the Islamic teachings advise the Moslims not to kill children, elderly people or women. In one meeting the story and significance of creation as presented in both the Torah and Qu'ran were compared; in another meeting, essential prayers and religious credos in both Islam and Judaism were explored as expressions of the faith which Arabs and Jews hold dear.
As students from both sides wished to continue their meetings, it became clear to us that a continued comparison between Islam, Judaism (and Christianity) served as a highly constructive foundation for dialogue. Many important issues were dealt with in a thoughtful manner such as the challenge of bio-ethics, or the ethics of life concerning both biological and social ecology; how the two religions update religious structure and observance in each era; and the manner in which prayer is performed by the two peoples. Students were pleased to discover almost identical terminology or concepts for many elements in the two religions, as reflected in culture and language (for instance such as the name of G-d). On several occasions high level student faculty delegations from Japan and India, who were interested in bio-ethics from a religious perspective and in conflict resolution, joined and enriched our deliberations.
Besides the intellectual stimulation, the experience of scores of our students can make an important contribution for conflict resolution. Experts in inter-cultural communication believe that when groups in conflict discover some elements of commonality in an opposing group, the way can be opened for a lessening of tension and new more positive mutual perceptions to emerge.
Again, the activity of the Arab-Israeli students can be instructive. After discovering commonalities in the two religious cultures in the semi-formal circle discussions which opened our meetings, students were then able to divide into their own informal discussion sub-groups, and over coffee and refreshments, to discuss freely and openly any topic that was on their minds including highly controversial political issues in a warm, friendly and respectful atmosphere.
Interactions between the Israeli and Palestinian students and faculty have not remained limited to the formal meetings. Personal relationships have developed which have survived the vicissitudes of sometimes turbulent current events; members have reacted constructively during tragedy and difficulty and have visited each other on personal occasions of both illness and celebration, thus creating a strong human bond for the dialogues to continue.
From our experience, we do not assume that achieving a formal Israeli-Palestinian peace will be easy. Both the Israeli and Palestinian members of the dialogue are proud members of their communities and have their respective religious and national principles. However we have found that we can enrich each other and together discover deeper elements such as our similar religious heritages which can serve to create a new atmosphere that would generate hope instead of despair, while the official leaders on both sides are summoned to arrive at a peace agreement ultimately to serve both of our peoples.
We sincerely hope that our efforts will be encouraged by the formal leadership on both sides and that other groups will follow our example. In recent years, courageous leaders have come forward to enable the peace process to develop. President Sadat understood the importance of breaking the psychological barrier between Arabs and Jews and building new bridges between them, and Yitzhak Rabin sensed new possibilities in the region. It is their legacy which we wish to honor and enlarge upon., as we tap into the cultural backround of Islam and Judaism as a basis for conflict resolution and perception change to occur.
Ben Mollov is a lecturer in political science at Bar-Ilan University and coordinates the department of Political Science at the Ashkelon Regional College under Bar-Ilan's auspices.
Musa Isa Barhoum is an assistant professor at Al-Quds Open University. He is in charge of the Department of Educational Technology. He has taught in a number of Palestinian universities.
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