The Peace Process

The IDF played an integral role in the Peace Process, often the harbinger, if not the initiator of certain demarches. In 1994, in the context of the Oslo and Cairo accords, the IDF withdrew its forces from large areas of the Gaza Strip and from Jericho, redeploying along the demarcation line. The IDF was to be responsible for external security and ultimate control of those who would enter the Gaza Strip and Jericho, including maritime security, as well as for total security in areas along the Egyptian border and near the Erez checkpoint. The IDF was likewise responsible for the security of Israelis and Israeli settlements within the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority was “responsible for security of areas under its control”. On certain roads joint patrols were established.

The IDF was to be responsible for external security and ultimate control of those who would enter the Gaza Strip and Jericho, including maritime security, as well as for total security in areas along the Egyptian border and near the Erez checkpoint. The IDF was likewise responsible for the security of Israelis and Israeli settlements within the Gaza Strip The Palestinian Authority was “responsible for security of areas under its control”. On certain roads, joint patrols were established.

The process continued with the 1995 interim redeployment from more extensive areas in the West Bank (where told area is 5,500 square kms). Security in seven major West Bank cities was given over to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is responsible for internal security and public order, along with complete civilian responsibilities (this is known as “Area A” of the West Bank, containing 362,000 Arabs). In other areas in the West Bank (“Area B” containing 825,000 Arabs), the PA was given responsibility for public order and complete civilian responsibilities, but Israel maintained overriding responsibility for security. In the remaining areas (amounting to 72.3% of the West Bank, including Jewish towns, villages and settlements) Israel maintains responsibility for security and management. Likewise, Israel has exclusive responsibility for security, including security over the Jordanian border.

Israel is responsible for security of Israelis, wherever they may be in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A series of joint patrols, mobile units, District Coordination Offices, Regional and Joint Security Committees serve as liaison mechanisms for arrangements both within the Gaza Strip and West Bank. A Steering and Coordinating Committee headed by the Director of the Strategic Planning Division of the IDF General Staff’s Planning Branch was established to direct and coordinate IDF teams which approve and formulate recommendations for security matters negotiated with the Palestinians. The Liaison and Control Mechanism established by the Interim Agreement includes:

The Liaison and Control Mechanism established by the Interim Agreement includes:

  • Joint Israel-Palestinian Liaison Committee which is the highest level (political) liaison between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • A Monitoring and Steering Committee, subordinate to the Joint Security Committee (JSC), which supervises activities of joint committees established in the framework of the agreement. The heads of the JSC and Joint Civil Affairs Coordination and Cooperation Committee, among others, are members of this committee.
  • A Joint (Israel-Palestinian) Security Committee or JSC (in which the Israeli member is a brigadier general) is the senior security liaison committee on matters of mutual concern to the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Corresponding to the IDF Command level, the Israeli component reports directly to the IDF General Staff.
  • Two Regional Security Committees (RSC), one for the West Bank and the other for the Gaza Strip, in which the senior member is a colonel, are coordinated by the JSC. The IDF component reports directly to the respective Division commands. Two District Coordination Offices (DCO) in the Gaza Strip, and eight in the West Bank, headed by lieutenant-colonels, coordinate security matters. At the brigade level they are responsible for administering and monitoring security events, directing Joint Patrols and Joint Mobile Units and responding to the senior military (brigade) commander and to the RSC.They are professionally coordinated by the RSC and subordinate to the regional brigade. They operate Border Police Companies which run Joint Patrols (consisting of one Palestinian and one Israeli vehicle) on main roads in Area A and Joint Mobile Units deployed next to DCOs or holy sites, which undertake assignments given to them by the DCO and helps to coordinate movement in the complex mosaic of Areas A, B and C.

Two District Coordination Offices (DCO) in the Gaza Strip, and eight in the West Bank, headed by lieutenant-colonels, coordinate security matters. At the brigade level they are responsible for administering and monitoring security events, directing Joint Patrols and Joint Mobile Units and responding to the senior military (brigade) commander and to the RSC. They are professionally coordinated by the RSC and subordinate to the regional brigade. They operate Border Police Companies which run Joint Patrols (consisting of one Palestinian and one Israeli vehicle) on main roads in Area A and Joint Mobile Units deployed next to DCOs or holy sites, which undertake assignments given to them by the DCO and helps to coordinate movement in the complex mosaic of Areas A, B and C.

A special regime governs Hebron. According to the Interim Agreement it is divided into an area under the responsibility of Israel (H-2) which includes the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Jewish houses, and an area under the responsibility of the Palestinians (H-1). A temporary international presence in the city was agreed upon.

To coordinate civil affairs, a parallel mechanism was established. A Joint Civil Affairs Coordination and Cooperation Committee (CAC), in which the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories is on the Israeli side, and Jamil Tarifi is on the Palestinians side. It has two subcommittees (Regional Civil affairs Coordinating Committees [RCAC]). There are eight District Liaison Offices (DCLs) in the West Bank and two in Gaza. Joint Liaison Bureaus will operate at terminals and crossing points.

The Interim Agreement spoke of a further redeployment to be carried out in three stages of six months each after the inauguration of the Palestinian Council. The IDF in all instances maintains the right to take “engagement steps” if the security situation warrants, with the view of transferring handling of the matter to the Palestinian Authority as soon as possible (in the case where measures are taken in territory over which the PA has security responsibility). To support the redeployment, the IDF Corps of Engineers paved roads (including bypasses of populated Arab areas), built fortifications and fortified villages and settlements. The interim redeployment has been completed. Discussions concerning a permanent status began in May 1996.

The peace treaty with Jordan formalized and expanded unofficial relations which had existed between the two countries. Initial contacts between Israel and Jordan began with liaison between the Jordanian armed forces and the IDF. The IDF’s Liaison Unit for Foreign Forces, which is responsible for IDF contacts with United Nations forces in the area (e.g. UNDOF and UNIFIL) and the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai, is responsible for control and liaison between the IDF and Jordanian armed forces. In anticipation of the Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan, IDF and Jordanian army troops cleared minefields and helped construct new border crossing points to serve as bridges of goodwill. In a symbolic gesture of cooperation, Israel Air Force and Royal Jordanian Air Force aircraft overflew Israel and Jordan in a combined formation. The new relationship evolving between the two armed forces was cemented by a visit of the Chief of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces.

In anticipation of the Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan, IDF and Jordanian army troops cleared minefields and helped construct new border crossing points to serve as bridges of goodwill. In a symbolic gesture of cooperation, Israel Air Force and Royal Jordanian Air Force aircraft overflew Israel and Jordan in a combined formation. The new relationship evolving between the two armed forces was cemented by a visit of the Chief of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces.