Accord gives Israelis a sunnier outlook

'REGARDING meteorology, there shall be mutual assistance and co- operation between the Israeli and the Palestinian weather forecasting offices.'

So states paragraph F, section 19, article 11, of Annex 11 (Protocol Concerning Civil Affairs) of the Agreement on the Gaza and the Jericho Area, signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation on Wednesday.

It is probably the most telling paragraph in the document, setting up a vivid metaphor for the new Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

'We have the same weather,' the negotiators have decided. 'So we must co-ordinate our weather forecasts. We live on the same patch of land - so we must co-ordinate our lives, to our mutual convenience.'

The agreement has been billed by both Israelis and Palestinians as an agreement to divorce after 27 years of miserable co-existence, in which the strong partner forced the weaker to live under its yoke. In a wealth of painstaking detail, however, the final document talks repeatedly of co-operation, co-ordination, and harmonisation.

Many sections of the agreement show the stronger partner still exerting firm control in the new relationship. But the message is clear: if the agreement is to be successfully implemented, Palestinians and Israelis must work together.

Palestinians and Israelis are going to talk to each other as they never have before. There will be a new Joint Civil Affairs Co-ordination and Co-operation Committee (CAC), which will have 'day-to-day contacts' on employment, hospitalisation, transportation, and licensing. The CAC will convene every month, or at any time at short notice.

On harmonisation of standards, the Palestinians are obliged to bring their standards of health, vaccination, pollution and environmental protection to the standards of Israel. The same human rights obligations and international laws are to be observed by both parties.

Both sides must also allow the other access to holy sites. With the recent Hebron massacre in mind, the document states that all 'visitors to holy sites shall behave according to accepted rules of behaviour in holy sites'.

It is on legal jurisdiction that the two sides most strongly desired complete separation. It is here that the stronger partner insists on exerting overriding controls. But as Annex 111, article 1 of the Criminal Jurisdiction section states, even separation can only happen through co-ordination.

The Palestinian authorities shall not arrest or detain Israelis or place them in custody, states the document. But a Palestinian, committing an offence inside a Jewish settlement, can be detained if the offence is 'security related'. In all such cases, however: 'The Israeli police and the Palestinian police shall co-operate in the conduct of investigations . . . including the exchange of information, records and fingerprints of criminal suspects, vehicle ownership registration records etc.'

The Palestinians have struggled to gain every possible symbol of sovereignty to prove their statehood. But even here co-ordination is called for. Section 26 (Postal Services) says Palestinian stamps may include the term 'Palestinian authority'. The section also says 'both sides will co-ordinate and co- operate in establishing postal rates', and in arrangements for sending and receiving all postal items. No accurate Palestinians census exists, as the Israeli occupiers hold all information on the population. For the first time in 27 years, the Palestinian population registry is to be handed over.

The Palestinians of Gaza and Jericho will have dual identity. They will have new Gaza-Jericho identity cards, while their old Israeli IDs will remain necessary for passage into Israel, or along any of the four designated 'safe passage' routes between Gaza and Jericho through Israel. Travellers on these routes may tune into the Israeli and the Palestinian weather forecasts - and find it is the same.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...