Skip to main content


Back to Resources

Towards Palestinian National Reconciliation

1 January, 2009



Before developing new reconciliation agreements, it may be useful to understand what has worked in the past and what has not, and therefore what might work in the future and what might not, and why. Are the failures due to weaknesses in the texts or in the implementation? Have expectations about reconciliation been too high or too low? Has reconciliation been overloaded with too many issues or on the other hand, have important issues been left out?

In this sense, the collection of reference texts can be seen as an invitation to deal with reconciliation as a policy issue. The process of developing a new policy usually begins with a review of the existing one. Reviewing past reconciliation policy may have the advantage of leading to more realistic assessments of Palestinian attitudes and capacities. It may also generate realistic expectations about the future outcome of a new reconciliation policy.

One can argue whether reconciliation in divided societies is part of security sector reform or whether it is only a necessary pre-condition for it. As long as a society is divided, security sector reform can never achieve its main objective, which is to provide security and justice for all. It will thus remain meaningless. The division of society is incompatible with the idea of good governance of the security sector, which rests on values such as the rule of law, democratic governance, inclusiveness, accountability, and institutional process.

Against this background, the booklet contains three sections: The first section comprises important legal documents, such as the PLO Declaration of Independence, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) Basic Law, and the Amended Basic Law of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The second section includes all Palestinian inter-factional agreements since 2005, such as the Cairo Declaration of 2005, the National Conciliation Document of 2006, the Mecca Agreement of 2007, and the Programme of the National Unity Government of 2007. In the Annex, the reader will find documents that deal with more practical aspects of Palestinian security sector governance that were either provided by Palestinian experts or by external actors.