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Positions on issues by the State of Israel and the State of Palestine

Israeli Settlements and International Law

Attempts to present Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria ("the West Bank") as illegal and "colonial" in nature ignore the complexity of this issue, the history of the land, and the unique legal circumstances of this case.

​The Historical Context

Jewish settlement in the territory of ancient Judea and Samaria ("the West Bank") is often presented as merely a modern phenomenon. In fact, Jewish presence in this territory has existed for thousands of years and was recognized as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, which provided for the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish people's ancient homeland.

After recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and "the grounds for reconstituting their national home", the Mandate specifically stipulated in Article 6 as follows:

"The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use".

Some Jewish settlements, such as in Hebron, existed throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule, while settlements such as Neve Ya'acov, north of Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion bloc in southern Judea, and the communities north of the Dead Sea, were established under British Mandatory administration prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, and in accordance with the League of Nations Mandate.

Many contemporary Israeli settlements have actually been re-established on sites which were home to Jewish communities in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and abiding connection with this land - the cradle of Jewish civilization and the locus of the key events of the Hebrew Bible. A significant number are located in places where previous Jewish communities were forcibly ousted by Arab armies or militia, or slaughtered, as was the case with the ancient Jewish community of Hebron in 1929.

For more than a thousand years, the only administration which has prohibited Jewish settlement in these areas was the Jordanian occupation administration, which during the nineteen years of its rule (1948-1967) declared the sale of land to Jews a capital offense. The right of Jews to establish homes in these areas, and the private legal titles to the land which had been acquired, could not be legally invalidated by Jordanian occupation - which resulted from their illegal armed invasion of Israel in 1948 and was never recognized internationally as legitimate - and such rights and titles remain valid to this day.

In short, the attempt to portray Jewish communities in the West Bank as a new form of "colonial" settlement in the land of a foreign sovereign is as disingenuous as it is politically motivated. At no point in history were Jerusalem and the West Bank subject to Palestinian Arab sovereignty. At issue is the right of Jews to reside in their ancient homeland, alongside Palestinian Arab communities, in an expression of the connection of both peoples to this land.

International Humanitarian Law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) or the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) prohibits the transfer of segments of the population of a state to the territory of another state which it has occupied as a result of the resort to armed force. This principle, which is reflected in Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), was drafted immediately following the Second World War and as a response to specific events that occurred during that war.

As the International Red Cross' authoritative commentary to the Convention confirms, the principle was intended to protect the local population from displacement, including endangering its separate existence as a race, as occurred with respect to the forced population transfers in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary before and during the war. Quite apart from the question of whether the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure to territory such as the West Bank over which there was no previous legitimate sovereign, the case of Jews voluntarily establishing homes and communities in their ancient homeland, and alongside Palestinian communities, does not match the kind of forced population transfers contemplated by Article 49(6).

As Professor Eugene Rostow, former US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs has written: "the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there" (AJIL, 1990, vol. 84, p.72). The provisions of Article 49(6) regarding forced population transfer to occupied sovereign territory should not be seen as prohibiting the voluntary return of individuals to the towns and villages from which they, or their ancestors, had been forcibly ousted. Nor does it prohibit the movement of individuals to land which was not under the legitimate sovereignty of any state and which is not subject to private ownership.

In this regard, it should be noted that Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been established only after an exhaustive investigation process, under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Israel, and subject to appeal, which is designed to ensure that no communities are established illegally on private land.

Just as the settlements do not violate the terms of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, they do not constitute a "grave breach" of the Fourth Geneva Convention or "war crimes", as some claim. In fact, even according to the view that these settlements are inconsistent with Article 49(6), the notion that such violations constitute a "grave breach" or a "war crime" was introduced (as a result of political pressure by Arab States) only in the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, to which leading States including Israel are not party and which, in this respect, does not reflect customary international law.

In legal terms, the West Bank is best regarded as territory over which there are competing claims which should be resolved in peace process negotiations - and indeed both the Israeli and Palestinian sides have committed to this principle. Israel has valid claims to title in this territory based not only on the historic Jewish connection to, and long-time residence in this land, its designation as part of the Jewish state under the League of Nations Mandate, and Israel's legally acknowledged right to secure boundaries, but also on the fact that the territory was not previously under the legitimate sovereignty of any state and came under Israeli control in a war of self-defense. At the same time, Israel recognizes that the Palestinians also entertain claims to this area. It is for this reason that the two sides have expressly agreed to resolve all outstanding issues, including the future of the settlements, in direct bilateral negotiations to which Israel remains committed.

Israeli-Palestinian Agreements

The bilateral agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians, and which govern their relations, contain no prohibition on the building or expansion of settlements. On the contrary, it is specifically provided that the issue of settlements is reserved for permanent status negotiations, reflecting the understanding of both sides that this issue can only be resolved alongside other permanent status issues, such as borders and security. Indeed, the parties expressly agreed - in the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 1995 - that the Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction or control over settlements or Israelis and that the settlements are subject to exclusive Israeli jurisdiction pending the conclusion of a permanent status agreement.

It has been charged that the prohibition, contained in the Interim Agreement (Article 31(7), against unilateral steps which alter the "status" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip implies a ban on settlement activity. This position is unfounded. This prohibition was agreed upon in order to prevent either side from taking steps which purport to change the legal status of this territory (such as by annexation or unilateral declaration of statehood), pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations. Were this prohibition to be applied to building - and given that the provision is drafted to apply equally to both sides - it would lead to the dubious interpretation that neither side is permitted to build homes to accommodate for the needs of their respective communities until permanent status negotiations are successfully concluded.

In this regard, Israel's decision to dismantle all settlements from the Gaza Strip and some in the Northern West Bank in the context of the 2005 Disengagement Plan were unilateral Israeli measures rather than the fulfilment of a legal obligation.


Attempts to present Jewish settlement in ancient Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as illegal and "colonial" in nature ignores the complexity of this issue, the history of the land, and the unique legal circumstances of this case.
Jewish communities in this territory have existed from time immemorial and express the deep connection of the Jewish people to land which is the cradle of their civilization, as affirmed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and from which they, or their ancestors, were ousted.

The prohibition against the forcible transfer of civilians to territory of an occupied state under the Fourth Geneva Convention was not intended to relate to the circumstances of voluntary Jewish settlement in the West Bank on legitimately acquired land which did not belong to a previous lawful sovereign and which was designated as part of the Jewish State under the League of Nations Mandate.

Bilateral Israeli-Palestinian Agreements specifically affirm that settlements are subject to agreed and exclusive Israeli jurisdiction pending the outcome of peace negotiations, and do not prohibit settlement activity.

Israel remains committed to peace negotiations without preconditions in order to resolve all outstanding issues and competing claims. It continues to ask the Palestinian side to respond in kind. It is hoped that such negotiations will produce an agreed secure and peaceful settlement which will give legitimate expression to the connection of both Jews and Palestinians to this ancient land.

1967: The reunification of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is and has been the geographic and spiritual center of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years

Jerusalem served as the capital of sovereign Jewish kingdoms and commonwealths for centuries in antiquity, until after the birth of Jesus. The city is integrally enmeshed in Jewish history and culture, part of the bedrock of national and individual Jewish identity for three thousand years. The yearning for Jerusalem has always been a central theme of Jewish life.

Jews have resided almost continuously in Jerusalem under many conquerors throughout the centuries. In the modern era, the Jewish community has formed the majority in Jerusalem since the mid-1800s. As the population grew in the first half of the twentieth century, the city became the political center of the Jewish community of the British Mandate, which preceded the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Zionist movement, which arose to give modern political expression to the Jewish people's national identity, draws its name from the ancient Hebrew word for Jerusalem, and always viewed the return to Zion – and the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the ancient Land of Israel - as its primary purpose.

Drawing from the deep well of Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the centrality of the city to the life of the newly established State of Israel, it was only natural that the Knesset, Israel's parliament, declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on 23 January 1950.

Today, Jerusalem – Israel’s largest city – serves as the center of its governmental activity. The Knesset is located there, as are the President’s Residence, the Prime Minister’s Office and most government ministries.

1967 – the Battle for Jerusalem

Jerusalem was reunified under Israeli rule as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War launched against Israel by the Arab world.

Despite Israel's appeal to Jordan to stay out of the war, Jordanian forces fired artillery barrages at Israeli cities and also attacked and occupied the UN headquarters in Jerusalem. At first Israel held back but eventually was forced to counterattack and within two days was able to defeat and repulse the Jordanian forces across the West Bank and retake Eastern Jerusalem. On June 7, IDF paratroopers, after fierce fighting with Jordanian soldiers, were able to advance into the Old City and gain control of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. "The Temple Mount is in our hands" – the report from Paratroop Commander Lt. Motta Gur – remains one of the most dramatic statements in Israel's history.

Jerusalem under Israeli Sovereignty

Since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the city has become a haven for coexistence and revitalized religious and cultural expression for all faiths.

Freedom of worship at all holy sites is guaranteed for the faithful of all three monotheistic religions, the first time in modern history that this has been the case.

The Palestinian attitude to Jerusalem

The Palestinian rejection of the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel lies at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Not only does the Palestinian leadership refuse to acknowledge the Jewish people as a nation, with national rights and aspirations like any other people – including the right to a national homeland – it actively engages in policies and rhetoric which explicitly deny these truths and seek to undermine Palestinian and international acceptance of them.

This, even though Jerusalem has never served as the capital of any Arab polity.

Palestinian denial of the Jewish people's profound and unbroken connection to its ancient homeland is a key theme in public statements by Palestinian leaders and in the Palestinian education system. It underpins the consistent glorification of terrorists and serves as the starting point for international campaigns (such as at UNESCO) where history is rewritten and the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is deliberately erased. Palestinian denial of the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem also creates direct and grave security and political risks.

Palestinian recognition and acceptance of Israel's Jewish character and the Jewish people's inherent and legitimate connection to the land and to Jerusalem are essential for the achievement of peace.

The State of Palestine's Fundamental Issues

The State of Palestine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates publishes that there are six key issues: settlement and apartheid wall; refugees; water; prisoners; borders; and Jerusalem.



No issue is more emblematic of the 20th century Palestinian experience than the plight of the approximately seven million Palestinian refugees. An estimated 70 percent of all Palestinians worldwide are refugees, while one out of three refugees worldwide is Palestinian. Approximately half of all Palestinian refugees are stateless. For decades, Israel has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, violating UNGA Resolution 194, while providing for unfettered Jewish immigration to Israel.

Palestinian refugees lack the most basic human rights, suffer from inadequate international protection and assistance, and bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict with Israel. A just resolution of the refugee issue – one that recognizes the right of return and provides a range of meaningful choices to refugees – is essential to a successful negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Brief History of the Refugee Issue

From 1947 to 1949, more than 726,000 Palestinians were expelled from or forced to leave their homes and became refugees prior to, and immediately following, Israel’s statehood declaration. Many fled from direct military assaults, while others fled from fear of imminent assaults by Jewish militias. Some 150,000 Palestinians remained in the areas of Palestine that became the State of Israel, including 46,000 Palestinians who were internally displaced during the war. Israel has refused to allow these internally displaced Palestinians to return to their homes and villages.

During Israel’s 1967 military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, roughly 300,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes there to other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) as well as across regional borders. Among this new wave of fleeing Palestinians, approximately 120,000 had previously been displaced in 1948. Since 1967, we have continued to face displacement from and within the oPt as a result of Israeli policies that include home demolition, evictions, land confiscation, residency revocation, construction of settlements and the Separation Wall, and the massive supporting Israeli military presence. Neither the 1948 refugees nor the 1967 refugees and internally displaced persons have been allowed by Israel to return to their homes within what are now Israel and the oPt.

Those Palestinians who were expelled or fled the violence in and around 1948 were effectively denationalized by Israel’s parliament in 1952. Their properties were seized and ultimately transferred to the State of Israel for the nearly exclusive benefit of the Jewish people. During and following the 1948 war, more than 400 of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed. Israel built new Jewish-only communities over some of these destroyed village areas. As former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stated in 1969,

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

However, by some estimates, 90 percent of the sites of our villages destroyed by Israel during and after its 1948 conquest remain vacant. By contrast, the vast majority of our refugees’ homes located in urban centers were left standing in 1948 but were occupied by Jewish immigrant Israelis.

In 1948, in response to the mass displacement of our refugees, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194, including paragraph 11 which provides, in part, that:

…the [Palestinian] refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Resolution 194 endorsed the right of our refugees to choose whether to repatriate to what is now Israel or to be resettled elsewhere, and codified the accepted principles of customary international law. It has been reaffirmed by the General Assembly every year since its adoption.

The right of return for our refugees also is well-established under other international law, including:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948): “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country” (Art. 13(2)).

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country” (Art. 12(4)).

  • The UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons: “All Refugees and displaced persons have the right to voluntarily return to their former homes, lands or places of habitual residence, in safety and dignity” (Art. 10.1)… “Refugees and displaced persons should be able to effectively pursue durable solutions to displacement other than return, if they so wish, without prejudicing their right to the restitution of their housing, land and property” (Art. 10.3).

International Law

UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and calls for the “[w]ithdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
UN Security Council Resolution 252 (1968) states that the Security Council “[c]onsiders that all…actions taken by Israel…which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”
UN Security Council Resolution 476 (1980) states that the Security Council “[r]econfirms that all…actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of…Jerusalem have no legal validity…and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Our Position

Our vision requires a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with international law, and specifically UN General Assembly Resolution 194. A just solution must be based on the right of return and reparations. Our position on refugees is also included and supported in the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which calls for “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations.

Right of Return

Key to the resolution of the refugee issue is Israel’s recognition of the applicable principles and rights of the refugees, including our refugees’ right to return to their homes and lands. Israel’s recognition of the right of return will pave the way to negotiating how that right will be implemented. Choice is a critical part of the process. Our refugees must be allowed to choose how to implement their rights and normalize their status. The options for our refugees should be: return to Israel, return/resettlement to a future Palestinian state, integration in host states, or resettlement in third-party states. Rehabilitation in the form of professional training, education, medical services, provision of housing, etc will also be a necessary component of each of the options.


Reparations consist of three elements. The first is Israel’s recognition of its role in the creation and perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee upheaval. While Israel may have its own narrative to explain the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Palestinian refugees, it is undeniable that when our refugees sought to return to their homes, Israel systematically, and adamantly, blocked their efforts. To this day, Israel continues to deny their right to return. Israel must acknowledge unequivocally its responsibility for these actions if there is to be a just, peaceful, and sustainable solution to the conflict.

Restitution is the second element of reparations. Under international law, restitution is the primary remedy for property that has been confiscated arbitrarily. If restitution is materially impossible, or where the damage will not be made whole by restitution alone, or if a refugee chooses compensation in lieu of restitution, that compensation must be full and complete. Alternatively, compensation in-kind may be offered in the form of vacant land in Israel.

Compensation is the third element of reparations and is comprised of three categories. Compensation must be made for property that cannot be restituted (or if the refugee chooses compensation in lieu of restitution), for material damages (personal items, livelihood, etc.) and for non-material damages (pain and suffering resulting from longstanding displacement).



For centuries, Jerusalem has been the political, administrative and spiritual heart of Palestine. Metropolitan East Jerusalem – an area extending from Ramallah to Bethlehem – has for long been the driving force of our economy. In fact, nearly one-third of our economic activity is centered around East Jerusalem. Given East Jerusalem’s economic, cultural, social and religious importance, without East Jerusalem, there can be no viable Palestinian state.

Though central to three faiths, Israel has since 1967 systematically pursued policies aimed at ensuring exclusive control over the city with disregard to the rights of the indigenous Christian and Muslim Palestinian populations. In so doing, Israel unilaterally is taking control of East Jerusalem, the future capital of our state, thereby putting at risk the possibility of a two-state solution.

Key Facts

  • Approximately 35 percent of our economy is dependent upon Metropolitan East Jerusalem, which extends from Ramallah to Bethlehem.

  • The international community, including the UN, the US and the EU do not recognize Israel’s claim of sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

  • Due to discriminatory Israeli restrictions on land use, Palestinians in East Jerusalem live and build on only 13 percent of our land. Those who, lacking any other alternatives, build either without permits or while the application is pending are subject to forced evictions and home demolitions. The Israeli military has destroyed over 3,000 of our homes in occupied East Jerusalem since 1967.

  • Palestinian Jerusalemites, who constitute over 36 percent of the population of Jerusalem, receive less than 10 percent of Jerusalem’s municipal budget.

  • Approximately 78% of Palestinian Jerusalemites live in poverty and at least 160,000 Palestinians living in the City have no suitable or legal connection to water networks.

International Law

  • UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and calls for the “[w]ithdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

  • UN Security Council Resolution 252 (1968) states that the Security Council “[c]onsiders that all…actions taken by Israel…which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”

  • UN Security Council Resolution 476 (1980) states that the Security Council “[r]econfirms that all…actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of…Jerusalem have no legal validity…and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Our Position

In conformity with international law and as stated in the Declaration of Principles, all of Jerusalem (and not only East Jerusalem) is subject to permanent status negotiations. With respect to East Jerusalem, because it remains part of the territory occupied since 1967, Israel has no right to any part of it.

As the political, economic and spiritual heart of our nation, there can be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem, in particular the Old City and the surrounding area, as its capital. We are committed to respecting freedom of worship at, and access to, religious sites within East Jerusalem for everyone. All possible measures will be taken to protect such sites and preserve their dignity.

Beyond ensuring our sovereignty over East Jerusalem, we will consider a number of solutions, as long as they are in our interest and in line with international law. For example, Jerusalem may be an open city for both Palestinians and Israelis-the capital of two nations. Whatever the specific solution, East Jerusalem is essential to the economic, political and cultural viability of our future state. There can be no integrated Palestinian national economy and, thus no sustainable resolution of the conflict, without a negotiated solution on Jerusalem that guarantees our rights.

Settlements and colonization

Settlements and Colonization

Since 1967, Israel has colonized the oPt by systematically transferring parts of its Jewish civilian population into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in violation of international law. Today, more than half a million Israeli settlers, including over 190,000 in and around East Jerusalem, live in settlements established on land illegally seized from us in the oPt. These settlements range in size from nascent settlements or “outposts,” consisting of a few trailers, to entire towns of tens of thousands of settlers.

The aim and effect of Israel’s settlement enterprise has been to alter the oPt’s status, both physically and demographically, so as to prevent its return to us. The construction of Israeli settlements is designed to illegally confiscate our land and natural resources while confining our population to unsustainable, ever-shrinking enclaves and severing East Jerusalem from the rest of the oPt. By limiting the territorial contiguity and economic viability of the oPt, Israeli settlements pose the single greatest threat to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and hence, to a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.



The Middle East is one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, given its semi-arid nature, population growth and shared transboundary water resources . In addition, in Palestine in particular, water scarcity is hydro-politically induced. Since its 1967 occupation of the oPt, Israel has completely controlled our water resources and deprived us of access to an equitable and reasonable share of transboundary shared water, in violation of international law. Instead, Israel has used our water resources for its illegal settlements and meeting the demands of its growing population (natural and immigrants) , forcing our communities to purchase water from the Israeli company at high commercial prices.

Key Facts

Israel draws water from Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) and transports it out of the Jordan River Basin to coastal cities and the Naqab (Negev) Desert through the National Water Carrier. The amount of water diverted (about 440 to 600 MCM/yr) is such that no natural water flows naturally out of Lake Tiberias, to the lower part of the Jordan River. This is one of the main reasons for the decrease in the water level of the Dead Sea.

The availability of fresh water has decreased markedly on a per capita basis since the 1995 Interim Agreement.

The per capita consumption of water in Israel is over four times greater than that in the oPt.

The groundwater in Gaza is in a state of crisis, due to massive Israeli pumping from large wells surrounding Gaza, by over-pumping inside Gaza in re action to Israeli imposed water scarcity, and due to contamination resulting from the forgoing two factors and the Gaza Strip’s dearth of waste processing capacity. As a result, 95 percent of the water is non-drinkable. Around 60 percent of diseases in the Gaza Strip result from poor water quality. According to the World Bank and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, only five to ten percent of drinking-water wells in Gaza are suitable for the provision of safe drinking water. At its present rate of deterioration, the southern end of the coastal aquifer is expected to collapse by 2020.

Customary International Law

Customary international water law guides, informs, governs, and controls the water rights of the parties. Principles include those identified in the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers of 1966 and the 1997 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.

The reliance of Palestine on international law is of critical importance, as the Palestinian case in all facets of the negotiations must be both defensible and consistent

Under customary international water law, the principle of “equitable and reasonable” allocation of water among the two or more parties that share transboundary watercourses, will generate a fair and stable structure within which the Parties can establish a respectful and constructive relationship, in the future

The right to water and sanitation is a human right. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has noted: “The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.” Palestinians – i.e., the individual people – enjoy human rights

Our Position

Palestine and Israel are sharing the Jordan river basin along with other riparian countries (Lebanon, Jordan and Syria) as well as they both do share the ground water of the three aquifer basins underneath West bank (the Mountain Aquifer basin that divided into three sub aquifer basins being the Eastern, the North Eastern and the Western Aquifer basins) that extends beyond the green line in Israel as well as the Coastal Aquifer Basin that goes underneath Gaza Strip.

Palestinians have been denied access to the Jordan river since 1967 while the allocation of the Mountain aquifer in the West bank is allocated inequitably and non-reasonably. As of 2020, the sub aquifer underneath Gaza is totally damaged and water does not fit for human consumption while in West Bank Palestinian have been denied access to the resources, drilling wells and projects need prior approval from both the Israeli side at the Joint water Committee and all projects to be implemented in area classified as C area require an additional construction permit from the civil administration.

The attainment of water rights and the equitable and reasonable allocation of water are required for a successful two-state solution and future political stability in the region. To face increase demand on water Palestinians are purchasing around 90 MCM from Israel on yearly basis. Israel deducting millions of dollars from the clearance revenues as treatment of Palestinian sewage that crosses the green line. Such deduction is done in absence of sewage protocol between the parties and with no con=sent with the Palestinian side

Water issues are linked to, and impact numerous other issues to be negotiated, including borders, settlements, economic relations and refugees, among others.

We must have control over and access to our water resources. We accept the principle of international water law stipulating that both Israel and Palestine are entitled to an equitable and reasonable allocation of shared freshwater resources, both groundwater and surface water resources. We further uphold the other two key principles of customary international water law– no significant harm; and prior notification. We strongly believe that solution to the water issue must be just & sustainable over time requiring appropriate monitoring and management regime


Palestine is an area in the eastern Mediterranean region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in Asia. Palestine territories include the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and parts of modern Israel. This region has a strategic location between Jordan in the east, Lebanon and part of modern Israel to the north, Mediterranean Sea to the west, and Negev and Gulf of Aqaba to the South. Syria, Egypt, and the Arabian nations are its neighboring countries.

The delineation and demarcation of agreed upon borders are central to reaching an end of conflict on the basis of the two-state solution. Our position on borders has undergone a significant transformation since 1948. Our national movement once laid claim to its rights over all of historic Palestine, an area that includes modern day Israel. Since 1988, however, in the interest of achieving peace and ending the conflict, we limited our national aspirations to statehood to 22 percent of historic Palestine, seeking a state of our own in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital (that is, all of the territory occupied by Israel in 1967). Despite this, Israel continues to create “facts on the ground,” building the Wall, expanding settlements, confiscating and grabbing Palestinian Land, demolishing of Palestinian homes, in violation of international law.