The first dedicated Israeli-Palestinian centre for the resolution of cross-border commercial disputes has opened.

The Jerusalem Arbitration Centre, is the first concrete measure to be taken since the 1993 Oslo Accord to establish an internationally accepted arbitration mechanism to resolve commercial disputes between the two jurisdictions.

The centre is an initiative of the International Court of Arbitration of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). It will serve as an independent provider of resolution services for the settlement of commercial disputes between Palestinian and Israeli businesses using specific rules based on the ICC rules of arbitration.

Harold McGraw, the ICC’s chairman, said that providing greater certainty for the business community would encourage expansion of the $4bn (£2.5bn) in annual trade between Palestinians and Israelis. ‘By strengthening commercial relations and improving economic cooperation between the Palestinian and Israeli people there are new opportunities to attract investments and enhance long-term economic growth in the region,’ he said. 

Until now, companies have relied on a mechanism provided by the Oslo Accords, signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the State of Israel in 1993, to resolve Palestinian-Israeli civil disputes. However, as this mechanism involves governments, case work is often stalled by political and security related issues in both jurisdictions, the ICC said.

The new centre will be recognised by judicial authorities in Israel and Palestine with its arbitration awards enforceable in both jurisdictions, based on legal coordination with the relevant authorities. Its governing offices are in Ramallah and Tel Aviv, with a secretariat and hearing centre in East Jerusalem.