Safe Passage Between Gaza and the West Bank Now? Only with Guarantees for Permanent Status
The World Bank is currently conducting a US-funded research, examining various alternatives for the implementation of "Safe Passage" between the West Bank and Gaza (elevated road, sunken road or railroad). Israel should soon decide whether to support the research.
What is the Issue?
Prior to 1967 there was no Safe Passage between Gaza and the West Bank.
In the Camp David Accords (9/78) and the Declaration of Principles (9/93), Israel accepted the principle of Gaza and the West Bank as a "Single Territorial Unit".
The practical significance of this principle was embodied in arrangements regarding passage between Gaza and the West Bank within the framework of the Interim Agreement (9/95). These arrangements have not been implemented.
The "Safe Passage Protocol" (10/99) stipulated alternative arrangements to the Interim Agreement. This Protocol has not been fully implemented either.
Israel has clarified that the Safe Passage arrangements are provisional only. The Safe Passage Protocol clearly states that the arrangements provided included in the Protocol "are without prejudice to the permanent status negotiations".
During the Permanent Status negotiations (9/99-1/01) the Safe Passage was presented as compensation for the Palestinians for not receiving 100% of the West Bank territory. According to the Clinton Ideas, the Palestinians were supposed to receive 95%-99% of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Safe Passage.
According to the Geneva Initiative, the Palestinians receive 100% of the West Bank and a Safe Passage between Gaza and the West Bank.
The "Disengagement Plan" did not include a reference to the issue of Safe Passage. However, in the Quartet's comments on the Disengagement Plan (9/20/05), it clarified that in the future Palestinian State, Gaza and the West Bank should be contiguous.
Two State Solution, Partner for Peace, Legitimacy, West Bank, Gaza
Israel & The Palestinians
It is a systemic issue, relating to security, economic and civil modalities, such as border regime, customs arrangements and control over airspace.