Alan Dershowitz, Chibli Mallat
The National (Opinion)
October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Two professors at Harvard Law School, Chibli Mallat, Custodian of the Two Holy Places Visiting Professor of Islamic Legal Studies, and Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, have adopted what they consider a compromise basis for negotiations on a two-state solution. What follows is their joint statement of principles on what could become a UN Security Council Resolution:

This draft Security Council Resolution originated in an unplanned lunch encounter in the Harvard Law School common room at the time of the discussion over Palestinian statehood during the annual UN General Assembly meeting. Considering how close some of the language of the two main parties looked after years of intense suffering and debates, we thought it should be possible to agree on a text that our respective "tribes" could accept. The text strictly reflects our personal convictions and hopes. It is up to the directly concerned parties and peoples to decide if it may serve as a basis for negotiations or be useful in any other manner.


Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side, as expressed in Security Council Resolutions 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008);

Recalling all previous relevant Resolutions, including Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as the basis of a just and enduring peace in the principle of land for peace;

Inspired by the human rights revolutions afoot in the region and the persistent commitment of dozens of millions of its citizens to the principle of non-violence as the privileged means to effect democratic change in the region and beyond;

Recognising that Palestinians and Israelis are destined to live forever together on the same soil, in the same land;

1. Recognisesthe State of Israel as the Democratic State of the Jewish people with due regard to the full equality of the Palestinians in the Israeli State, and the State of Palestine as an Arab Democratic State, with the full equality of non-Arabs and non-Muslims in the Palestinian State, along secure borders defined by Resolution 242 and the demarcation lines as of June 1, 1967, with adjustments and acre-for-acre land swaps to be agreed in good faith by the Israeli and Palestinian governments within a reasonable timeframe not exceeding five years.

It is understood by all sides that the agreed upon borders will not be exactly the same as the June 1, 1967 demarcation lines and will be consistent with the recognition by Resolution 242 of the need to balance the requirement of secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force with the general principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.

2. Calls for an immediate resumption of the negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian government represented by the Palestinian Authority based on the positive acquis of the negotiations between the two parties since the Oslo Accords, and for developing this acquis on established principles of international law, including the rejection of the use of physical coercion to advance territorial claims, the need for secure and recognised boundaries, the cessation of all individual and collective incitement and delegitimisation by the Palestinian and Israeli governments and civil societies, and their replacement by an active empathy recognising the immense suffering of both peoples.

3. Notes the deep and difficult outstanding problems dear to both parties, including justice for Palestinian and Jewish refugees and the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the continued unity of Jerusalem, as well as security concerns for all, for Israel in particular, and calls for their nonviolent resolution by negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, with the facilitation by all concerned of the fullest solidification of the two democratic states living in peace side by side.

4. Requests the parties in their coming negotiations to honour the principle of non-subordination and non-discrimination established in the best practices of states domestically and internationally and the right to freedom of movement in Israel and Palestine stipulated in the Oslo Accords for all Palestinians and Israelis, with due regard to justice and fairness in allaying the legitimate security fears of the Jewish community within and outside Israel, and the prolonged stateless suffering of Palestinian refugees.

5. Establishes a Nonviolent Israeli-Palestinian Committee, led by the Israeli Prime Minister and the President of the Palestinian State tasked to accelerate the peaceful solidification of the two states, and meanwhile to ensure that facts on the ground and the use of violence do not imperil the security and viability of the two states, in particular the security of Israel as a Jewish democratic state, and the viability of a democratic State of Palestine that appeals to all Palestinians, and to establish prompt and effective mechanisms to resolve the disputes non-violently among them.


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