The Jerusalem Arbitration Center is intended to be an apolitical, effective, impartial, professional, enforceable and cost-effective alternative for the resolution of Palestinian-Israeli business related disputes:
"Apolitical" - The JAC is the brainchild of Israeli and Palestinian businessmen, focused on improving bilateral relations from the ground up. It is not a governmental or political initiative and does not address or impact upon any of the sensitive issues of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Notwithstanding its purely apolitical nature, both the Israeli and Palestinian governments have recognized the unique potential of the project and are fully and actively supportive of its success.
"Effective" - Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms are increasingly viewed as a preferred approach to the resolution of commercial disputes. The JAC will offer prospective Israeli and Palestinian parties, for the first time, an option to resolve their disputes more efficiently through the use of modern ADR methods (arbitration and, where appropriate, mediation), based on internationally accepted rules and procedures.
"Impartial": Recognizing the extreme sensitivities of the two sides, the JAC structure is based upon a principle of equal representation of Palestinians and Israelis in all bodies and forums. Combined with a strong international presence, this should provide both parties with a high level of confidence in the objectivity and impartiality of the JAC and its proceedings.
"Professional"- While arbitration has become a very popular practice in Israeli business over the last decade, it is still much less accepted in the Palestinian areas. In order to overcome this disparity and to imbue the JAC with a high level of professional respectability , the JAC is being modeled on the basis of the structure, rules and procedures of one of the world's premier commercial dispute resolution centers – the ICCs International Court of Arbitration in Paris (ICA). Furthermore, in order to guarantee that the JAC maintains international professional standards, the ICC and ICA, in fulfillment of their goal to serve as "merchants of peace", have both consented to actively support the JAC project and have recently signed a detailed Memorandum of Understanding with ICC Israel and ICC Palestine, setting out the agreed "roadmap" for the establishment and successful operation of the JAC.
"Enforceable"- All sides recognize that effective enforcement of its awards, on both sides, is crucial to the success of the JAC and will make it stand out from all other dispute resolution mechanisms available to Palestinian and Israeli parties. Accordingly, the JAC will only commence operations once it has obtained sufficient guarantees from the responsible authorities that its awards will be enforced. It should also be noted that effective enforcement ahs also been identified by the ICC and ICA as one of the most important pre-conditions for their continued support for the project. Due to the fact that the seat of the hearings will be in east Jerusalem, enforcement in Israel should not be a problem, as standard Israeli arbitration enforcement laws and procedures will apply. On the Palestinian side, the responsible Ministers in the Palestinian Authority have already committed to guaranteeing enforcement of the JAC's awards, and discussions are now underway so as to set up mechanisms and procedures ensuring this result.
"Cost-effective"- In recognition of regional commercial realities, the JAC plans to offer a relatively low-cost alternative to otherwise extremely expensive judicial proceedings. Similarly to the ICA fee structure, JAC fees will be based upon the monetary scope of the dispute in question. In order to keep fees and costs as low as possible, the JAC is being planned as a "lean" organization, with the minimal number of staff required to fulfill its various functions. Furthermore, for the first several years of its operation, until it reaches an expected equilibrium point, it is expected that the JAC's main source of funding will be external.
© ICC ISRAEL 2014
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