The Palestine Papers
Non-Paper: PLO Security Positions
NSU non-paper that summarizes PLO positions on security in permanent status negotiations, as presented in previous negotiation rounds, and consistent with the discussions held with US Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security (SEMERS) in 2009.
Last Updated:



May 2010

The following paper summarizes PLO positions on security in permanent status negotiations, as they were presented in previous negotiation rounds, and consistent with the discussions held with US Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security (SEMERS) in 2009.

The Israeli occupation has been the primary and overwhelming cause of insecurity for the Palestinian people and instability in the region for decades. Ending the occupation through full withdrawal from all Palestinian territory, airspace and territorial waters with no residual Israeli presence or control is a basic requirement for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, for the resolution of the conflict and for regional stability.

In order to fulfill our responsibilities as a state, and to meet legitimate Israeli security concerns, the following framework is proposed:

  •  We are committed to developing our security forces in a manner consistent with their required functions and up to international standards as an ongoing process. Our present efforts will continue to be ongoing until the creation of the state, and will continue thereafter.

  •  We require a robust, multi-faceted and possibly long-term international third party presence to assist us with meeting our security requirements, particularly regarding border protection and capacity building, and to serve as a transitional arrangement  between the completion of Israeli military withdrawal and the takeover of security functions by the government of the Palestinian state.

  •  We cannot, however, accept any residual Israeli military presence or control over any portion of our territory, airspace, territorial waters, borders, or electromagnetic sphere as part of a permanent status peace agreement. Rather, legitimate security concerns should be addressed by the third party international presence as outlined in the preceding paragraph.

  •  We are determined to establish strong bilateral and regional security cooperation mechanisms with all neighbouring and regional states, based on the principle of reciprocity and sovereign equality, to meet security interests and concerns of all on an equal basis.

In furtherance of the above framework, our national security policy, following the implementation of a peace agreement leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 border and the just resolution of the refugee issue, will be based on the following parameters:

I. Security Capabilities

Based on reciprocity, Palestine will not enter into alliances with parties hostile to Israel.

Palestine will be a state with limited arms. This means it will have a strong security force with appropriate arms to carry out needed functions, on the basis of international best practice. These functions are:

  1.  To protect national security interest based on a defensive security strategy;
  2.  To maintain and uphold internal law and order and carry out law enforcement duties pursuant to the rule of law;
  3.  To protect international borders from aggression, infiltration and smuggling; and
  4.  To fight crime and terrorism.

The capacity to meet several of these principles is being built gradually through the current efforts of the PA. To the extent that they are not, the government of the state of Palestine will take all efforts to further build required capacity with the assistance of the international presence and third parties.

II. International Presence

We require a strong international presence, both in a transitional arrangement, and possibly in the longer-term. As part of this presence, we require an international force (including monitors) being deployed under the mandate / authority of the United Nations or NATO - or both. The force may be under the leadership of the UN, NATO, US, EU or a combination thereof, and should be deployed in coordination with all neighbouring states. We are open to a number of possibilities regarding its composition.  

The force will maintain a presence in Palestine along the agreed 1967 Palestinian borders (with Israel, Egypt, and Jordan), and elsewhere within Palestinian territory. Its mandate and powers should be based on agreed functions, which we envisage will be to:

  1.  Assist the Palestinian government and security forces with border security and management of international border crossings;
  2.  Assist the Palestinian government and security forces maintain law and order and protect public peace;
  3.  Assist with the implementation of the peace agreement as necessary, possibly including specific dispute resolution functions;
  4.  Monitor compliance of both sides with the agreement;
  5.  Carry out training and capacity building programs to upgrade the performance and capabilities of Palestinian security forces and other institutions up to international standards.

III. Cooperation Mechanisms

Palestine will support regional and bilateral security cooperation with all its neighbours, and welcomes working with all regional peace-seeking states to promote stability in the region. In particular, we support the development of agreed multilateral regional security cooperation mechanisms, including with respect to fighting organized crime and terrorism. These mechanisms should take into account existing and previous experiences in regional security cooperation.

We support the establishment of regional multilateral security coordination committees. These can serve as forums for sharing of information, as control centres, and can serve additional functions as required.

Furthermore, we support a significant and effective role for international multilateral security organizations, such as NATO, and support extensive security cooperation with the EU.

IV.  Other Arrangements

Airspace: Palestine, as a sovereign state, should have full sovereignty and control over its airspace. We intend to accede to relevant international conventions and control our airspace in accordance with international standards (in particular the Chicago Convention and ICAO).

Electromagnetic sphere (EMS): Palestine, as a sovereign state, should have full sovereignty and control over its all natural resources, including EMS, which it will operate and allocate in a manner consistent with international standards and practice.

Maritime security: We will work with our neighbours and international organizations in order to secure our territorial waters as part of overall maritime security mechanisms of the Mediterranean Sea.

Nuclear weapons and other WMD:  We are against nuclear proliferation and support the goal of a region free of nuclear weapons and WMD.