A Caabu Briefing Paper
1.1 The Oslo Accords which were intended to lead to peace between Israelis and Palestinians were signed as long ago as 1993. Yet today what is still called the "peace process" is leading nowhere. Over the years Palestinian negotiators have offered many concessions, but were only asked to make more. The fundamental problem is that Israel, by far the stronger party, has always insisted that the Palestinians recognise its rights while refusing to concede the rights of the Palestinians themselves. How could negotiations ever succeed in such circumstances, when one party will not acknowledge the other's lawful entitlements?
1.2 President Abbas has therefore embarked on a new initiative. He has called on the international community to recognise Palestine as a sovereign State based on the pre-1967 lines, and will take his country's case to the UN in September and apply for membership. His intention is at long last to put the parties on a footing of equality. What this means in practical terms is that the Palestinians will be able to ensure that their legal rights, alongside those of Israel, will be taken as the starting point for peace negotiations.
1.3 This paper explains why President Abbas is entitled to take this initiative and calls on the British government to respond positively to it.