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The Geneva Accord - Draft Permanent Status Agreement

Source: The following is the text of the Geneva Accord, obtained exclusively by Haaretz. (Annex X referred to in the document is yet to be completed)

Article 7 - Refugees
1. Significance of the Refugee Problem
(a) The Parties recognize that, in the context of two independent states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace, an agreed resolution of the refugee problem is necessary for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between them.

(b) Such a resolution will also be central to stability building and development in the region.

2. UNGAR 194, UNSC Resolution 242, and the Arab Peace Initiative
(a) The Parties recognize that UNGAR 194, UNSC Resolution 242, and the Arab Peace Initiative (Article 2.ii.) concerning the rights of the Palestinian refugees represent the basis for resolving the refugee issue, and agree that these rights are fulfilled according to Article 7 of this Agreement.

3. Compensation
(a) Refugees shall be entitled to compensation for their refugeehood and for loss of property. This shall not prejudice or be prejudiced by the refugee's permanent place of residence.

(b) The Parties recognize the right of states that have hosted Palestinian refugees to remuneration.

4. Choice of Permanent Place of Residence (PPR)
The solution to the PPR aspect of the refugee problem shall entail an act of informed choice on the part of the refugee to be exercised in accordance with the options and modalities set forth in this agreement. PPR options from which the refugees may choose shall be as follows;
(a) The state of Palestine, in accordance with clause a below.
(b) Areas in Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land swap, following assumption of Palestinian sovereignty, in accordance with clause a below.
(c) Third Countries, in accordance with clause b below.
(d) The state of Israel, in accordance with clause c below.
(e) Present Host countries, in accordance with clause d below.

  1. PPR options i and ii shall be the right of all Palestinian refugees and shall be in accordance with the laws of the State of Palestine.
  2. Option iii shall be at the sovereign discretion of third countries and shall be in accordance with numbers that each third country will submit to the International Commission. These numbers shall represent the total number of Palestinian refugees that each third country shall accept.
  3. Option iv shall be at the sovereign discretion of Israel and will be in accordance with a number that Israel will submit to the International Commission. This number shall represent the total number of Palestinian refugees that Israel shall accept. As a basis, Israel will consider the average of the total numbers submitted by the different third countries to the International Commission.
  4. Option v shall be in accordance with the sovereign discretion of present host countries. Where exercised this shall be in the context of prompt and extensive development and rehabilitation programs for the refugee communities.

Priority in all the above shall be accorded to the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon.

5. Free and Informed Choice
The process by which Palestinian refugees shall express their PPR choice shall be on the basis of a free and informed decision. The Parties themselves are committed and will encourage third parties to facilitate the refugees' free choice in expressing their preferences, and to countering any attempts at interference or organized pressure on the process of choice. This will not prejudice the recognition of Palestine as the realization of Palestinian self-determination and statehood.

6. End of Refugee Status
Palestinian refugee status shall be terminated upon the realization of an individual refugee’s permanent place of residence (PPR) as determined by the International Commission.

7. End of Claims
This agreement provides for the permanent and complete resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem. No claims may be raised except for those related to the implementation of this agreement.

8. International Role
The Parties call upon the international community to participate fully in the comprehensive resolution of the refugee problem in accordance with this Agreement, including, inter alia, the establishment of an International Commission and an International Fund.

9. Property Compensation
(a) Refugees shall be compensated for the loss of property resulting from their displacement.

(b) The aggregate sum of property compensation shall be calculated as follows:

  1. The Parties shall request the International Commission to appoint a Panel of Experts to estimate the value of Palestinians' property at the time of displacement.
  2. The Panel of Experts shall base its assessment on the UNCCP records, the records of the Custodian for Absentee Property, and any other records it deems relevant. The Parties shall make these records available to the Panel.
  3. The Parties shall appoint experts to advise and assist the Panel in its work.
  4. Within 6 months, the Panel shall submit its estimates to the Parties.
  5. The Parties shall agree on an economic multiplier, to be applied to the estimates, to reach a fair aggregate value of the property.

(c) The aggregate value agreed to by the Parties shall constitute the Israeli “lump sum” contribution to the International Fund. No other financial claims arising from the Palestinian refugee problem may be raised against Israel.

(d) Israel's contribution shall be made in installments in accordance with Schedule X.

(e) The value of the Israeli fixed assets that shall remain intact in former settlements and transferred to the state of Palestine will be deducted from Israel's contribution to the International Fund. An estimation of this value shall be made by the International Fund, taking into account assessment of damage caused by the settlements.

10. Compensation for Refugeehood
(a) A "Refugeehood Fund" shall be established in recognition of each individual's refugeehood. The Fund, to which Israel shall be a contributing party, shall be overseen by the International Commission. The structure and financing of the Fund is set forth in Annex X.

(b) Funds will be disbursed to refugee communities in the former areas of UNRWA operation, and will be at their disposal for communal development and commemoration of the refugee experience. Appropriate mechanisms will be devised by the International Commission whereby the beneficiary refugee communities are empowered to determine and administer the use of this Fund.

11. The International Commission (Commission)
(a) Mandate and Composition

  1. An International Commission shall be established and shall have full and exclusive responsibility for implementing all aspects of this Agreement pertaining to refugees.
  2. In addition to themselves, the Parties call upon the United Nations, the United States, UNRWA, the Arab host countries, the EU, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Japan, the World Bank, the Russian Federation, and others to be the members of the Commission.
  3. The Commission shall:
      1. Oversee and manage the process whereby the status and PPR of Palestinian refugees is determined and realized.
      2. Oversee and manage, in close cooperation with the host states, the rehabilitation and development programs.
      3. Raise and disburse funds as appropriate.
  4. The Parties shall make available to the Commission all relevant documentary records and archival materials in their possession that it deems necessary for the functioning of the Commission and its organs. The Commission may request such materials from all other relevant parties and bodies, including, inter alia, UNCCP and UNRWA.

(b) Structure

  1. The Commission shall be governed by an Executive Board (Board) composed of representatives of its members.
  2. The Board shall be the highest authority in the Commission and shall make the relevant policy decisions in accordance with this Agreement.
  3. The Board shall draw up the procedures governing the work of the Commission in accordance with this Agreement.
  4. The Board shall oversee the conduct of the various Committees of the Commission. The said Committees shall periodically report to the Board in accordance with procedures set forth thereby.
  5. The Board shall create a Secretariat and appoint a Chair thereof. The Chair and the Secretariat shall conduct the day-to-day operation of the Commission.

(c) Specific Committees

  1. The Commission shall establish the Technical Committees specified below.
  2. Unless otherwise specified in this Agreement, the Board shall determine the structure and procedures of the Committees.
  3. The Parties may make submissions to the Committees as deemed necessary.
  4. The Committees shall establish mechanisms for resolution of disputes arising from the interpretation or implementation of the provisions of this Agreement relating to refugees.
  5. The Committees shall function in accordance with this Agreement, and shall render binding decisions accordingly.
  6. Refugees shall have the right to appeal decisions affecting them according to mechanisms established by this Agreement and detailed in Annex X.

(d) Status-determination Committee:

  1. The Status-determination Committee shall be responsible for verifying refugee status.
  2. UNRWA registration shall be considered as rebuttable presumption (prima facie proof) of refugee status.

(e) Compensation Committee:

  1. The Compensation Committee shall be responsible for administering the implementation of the compensation provisions.
  2. The Committee shall disburse compensation for individual property pursuant to the following modalities:
      1. Either a fixed per capita award for property claims below a specified value. This will require the claimant to only prove title, and shall be processed according to a fast-track procedure, or
      2. A claims-based award for property claims exceeding a specified value for immovables and other assets. This will require the claimant to prove both title and the value of the losses.
  3. Annex X shall elaborate the details of the above including, but not limited to, evidentiary issues and the use of UNCCP, “Custodian for Absentees' Property”, and UNRWA records, along with any other relevant records.

(f) Host State Remuneration Committee: There shall be remuneration for host states.

(g) Permanent Place of Residence Committee (PPR Committee): The PPR Committee shall,

  1. Develop with all the relevant parties detailed programs regarding the implementation of the PPR options pursuant to Article 7/4 above.
  2. Assist the applicants in making an informed choice regarding PPR options.
  3. Receive applications from refugees regarding PPR. The applicants must indicate a number of preferences in accordance with article 7/4 above. The applications shall be received no later than two years after the start of the International Commission's operations. Refugees who do not submit such applications within the two-year period shall lose their refugee status.
  4. Determine, in accordance with sub-Article (a) above, the PPR of the applicants, taking into account individual preferences and maintenance of family unity. Applicants who do not avail themselves of the Committee's PPR determination shall lose their refugee status.
  5. Provide the applicants with the appropriate technical and legal assistance.
  6. The PPR of Palestinian refugees shall be realized within 5 years of the start of the International Commission's operations.

(h) Refugeehood Fund Committee: The Refugeehood Fund Committee shall implement Article 7/10 as detailed in Annex X.

(i) Rehabilitation and Development Committee: In accordance with the aims of this Agreement and noting the above PPR programs, the Rehabilitation and Development Committee shall work closely with Palestine, Host Countries and other relevant third countries and parties in pursuing the goal of refugee rehabilitation and community development. This shall include devising programs and plans to provide the former refugees with opportunities for personal and communal development, housing, education, healthcare, re-training and other needs. This shall be integrated in the general development plans for the region.

12. The International Fund
(a) An International Fund (the Fund) shall be established to receive contributions outlined in this Article and additional contributions from the international community. The Fund shall disburse monies to the Commission to enable it to carry out its functions. The Fund shall audit the Commission’s work.

(b) The structure, composition and operation of the Fund are set forth in Annex X.

(a) UNRWA should be phased out in each country in which it operates, based on the end of refugee status in that country.

(b) UNRWA should cease to exist five years after the start of the Commission's operations. The Commission shall draw up a plan for the phasing out of UNRWA and shall facilitate the transfer of UNRWA functions to host states.

14. Reconciliation Programs
(a) The Parties will encourage and promote the development of cooperation between their relevant institutions and civil societies in creating forums for exchanging historical narratives and enhancing mutual understanding regarding the past.

(b) The Parties shall encourage and facilitate exchanges in order to disseminate a richer appreciation of these respective narratives, in the fields of formal and informal education, by providing conditions for direct contacts between schools, educational institutions and civil society.

(c) The Parties may consider cross-community cultural programs in order to promote the goals of conciliation in relation to their respective histories.

(d) These programs may include developing appropriate ways of commemorating those villages and communities that existed prior to 1949.

Jerusalem top Roads, religious sites and prisoners
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