Press Release
Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari
March 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Ghaith al-Omari
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
A Two State Peace: Defining the Border
March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

On March 11, 2011, ATFP Advocacy Director Ghaith Al-Omari participated in a panel on “A Two State Peace: Defining the Border” along with Geoffrey Aronson. The event was organized by the American Task Force on Palestine, Foundation for Middle East Peace, the Middle East Institute and Churches for Middle East Peace and held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mr. Al-Omari presented an analysis of the Palestinian negotiating approach to the permanent status issue of borders. He stated that the Palestinians base their claim for a state along the 1967 borders on UN Security Council Resolution 242 and international legal principles prohibiting the acquisition of territory by force. The Palestinians, he observed, have been willing to consider compromises that accommodate real Israeli needs as long as these needs cannot be met through other means and do not harm Palestinian needs such as viability, contiguity and access to natural resources, especially water.

In return for such compromises, the Palestinians demand territorial compensation from Israel – commonly known as land swaps – of equal size and value. Value, he stressed, is a subjective criterion that includes future Palestinian expansion needs around Gaza as well as land of similar quality around the West Bank.

He encouraged the audience to consider a rational, interest-based approach to borders. Only such an approach can be translated to into a map that meets both sides’ needs and concerns. Any peace deal, he emphasized, must provide dignity to the parties and create a sustainable two-state solution.

He concluded that the territorial file is the most mature of the permanent status issues, since the zone of possible agreement is fairly well-defined. He expressed optimism that the issue of borders can be resolved when the political circumstances become conducive to reaching a permanent status agreement.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017