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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there