The Nusseibeh/Ayalon Grassroots Petition (The People's Voice) (December 2003)

The Nusseibeh/Ayalon Initiative (also known as The Peoples' Voice) is a grassroots petition drive headed by Sari Nusseibeh (President of Al Quds University in Jerusalem) and Ami Ayalon (former chief of the Navy and General Security Chief--Shin Bet). The Peoples' Voice calls for an end to the conflict and a two-state solution. So far the initiative has collected thousands of signatures among Israelis and Palestinians.

Cover Letter

The Palestinian people and the Jewish people each recognize the other's historic rights with respect to the same land.

The Jewish people has for generations wanted to establish the Jewish State in all the Land of Israel, while the Palestinian people have similarly wanted to establish a state in all of Palestine.

The two sides hereby agree to accept a historic compromise based on the principle of two sovereign and viable states existing side by side. The following Statement of Intentions is an expression of the will of the majority of the people. Both sides believe that through this initiative they can influence their leaders and thereby open a new chapter in the region's history. This new chapter will be realized by calling on the international community to guarantee security in the region and to help in rehabilitating and developing the region's economy.

The People's Voice -- Statement of Intentions

1. Two states for two peoples: Both sides will declare that Palestine is the only state of the Palestinian people and Israel is the only state of the Jewish people.
2. Borders: Permanent borders between the two states will be agreed upon on the basis of the June 4, 1967 lines, UN resolutions, and the Arab peace initiative (known as the Saudi initiative).

· Border modifications will be based on an equitable and agreed-upon territorial exchange (1:1) in accordance with the vital needs of both sides, including security, territorial contiguity, and demographic considerations.

· The Palestinian State will have a connection between its two geographic areas, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

· After establishment of the agreed borders, no settlers will remain in the Palestinian State.

3. Jerusalem: Jerusalem will be an open city, the capital of two states. Freedom of religion and full access to holy sites will be guaranteed to all.

· Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem will come under Palestinian sovereignty, Jewish neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty.

· Neither side will exercise sovereignty over the holy places. The State of Palestine will be designated Guardian of al-Haram al-Sharif for the benefit of Muslims. Israel will be the Guardian of the Western Wall for the benefit of the Jewish people. The status quo on Christian holy site will be maintained. No excavation will take place in or underneath the holy sites without mutual consent.

4. Right of return: Recognizing the suffering and the plight of the Palestinian refugees, the international community, Israel, and the Palestinian State will initiate and contribute to an international fund to compensate them.

· Palestinian refugees will return only to the State of Palestine; Jews will return only to the State of Israel.

· The international community will offer to compensate toward bettering the lot of those refugees willing to remain in their present country of residence, or who wish to immigrate to third-party countries.

5. The Palestinian State will be demilitarized and the international community will guarantee its security and independence.
6. End of conflict: Upon the full implementation of these principles, all claims on both sides and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end.

The Peoples' Voice Website: