Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process

II. PNA-Israel Peace Process

Interim Agreement on Hebron 12
Also referred to as the 'Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron' [see map], this agreement was signed in Jerusalem on January 17, 1997 by the Israeli Chief Negotiator, General Dan Shomrom, and the Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Sa'eb Erakat.
The Hebron Protocol provided: "In accordance with the provisions of the Interim Agreement and in particular of Article VII of Annex I to the Interim Agreement, both Parties have agreed on this Protocol for the implementation of the redeployment in Hebron." 13
The main issues addressed in the Protocol were security arrangements and civil arrangements, regarding redeployment in Hebron, which included issues such as the Holy Sites in the City, the normalization of life in the Old City of Hebron, the transfer of civil powers and responsibilities, including planning, zoning, building, infrastructure, and transportation.
Under the terms of the Hebron Protocol, 85 % of the City came under the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) control (H1) while the remaining 15 % of the city was designated as area H2 and remained under Israeli control. H2 included around 20,000 Palestinians and 400 Jewish settlers.

Wye River Negotiations
The United States President Bill Clinton held a Middle East Summit Conference at the Wye River Plantation, in Maryland during mid-October 1998. As a result of the negotiations, the 'Wye River Memorandum' was signed in Washington by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian National Authority President, Yasser Arafat, on October 23, 1998, in a ceremony that was also attended by King Hussein of Jordan.
The memorandum included several steps to facilitate the implementation of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Oslo II of September 28, 1995) and to clarify the mutual responsibilities of the two parties. It also aimed at re-launching and completing the implementation of the 'Oslo II Agreement' interrupted more than one year ago. It was hoped that the memorandum would lead to the resumption of the talks on the final status of the Palestinian Territories.
In the memorandum [see map], Israel undertook to withdraw its troops from a further 13 % of the West Bank (1% to be Area A and 12% to be Area B), in three stages, over a period of three months, opening of an airport in Gaza, a 'safe corridor' between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the liberation of some Palestinian prisoners.14
In return, the Palestinians agreed to a detailed 'work plan', under which they were to cooperate with the CIA in tracking down and arresting extremists in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups. Arafat also undertook to summon a broad assembly of Palestinian delegates to review the 1968 Palestinian National Charter and to cross out the clauses calling for the destruction of Israel.15
The Israeli Knesset approved the Wye River Agreement on November 17, 1998 by a 79 to 19 vote, and two days later it was approved by the Cabinet, by 7 to 5, with several ministers abstaining, and on November 20, 1998, Israel withdrew from 2% of the West Bank included in Area C, which then became part of Area B, while 7.1 % in Area B has joined Area A. Most of the areas evacuated were around Jenin, in the Northern part of the West Bank. 16
On December 14, 1998, the PNC met jointly with other Palestinian bodies in President Clinton's presence and reiterated their commitment to the nullification of those clauses in the Palestinian Charter that called for the destruction of Israel. However, by then Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners had persuaded him to suspend implementation of the Wye River Agreement and call off the further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank scheduled, according to the agreement, for early January and mid February 1999. This effectively suspended the implementation for the duration. 17

Sharm Al-Sheikh Conference
On September 4, 1999, Ehud Barak, newly elected Prime Minister of Israel, and Palestinian Chairman, Yasser Arafat, signed the 'Sharm Al-Sheikh Memorandum' in Egypt. The ceremony was also attended by the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, the Jordanian King, Abdullah II and US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
The 'Sharm Al-Sheikh Memorandum' set out a timetable for a permanent peace settlement. A declaration of principles on final status issues was to be reached by February 13, 2000 and a permanent settlement reached by September 13, 2000 [see map1 - map2 - map3 - map4]. Israel accepted the remaining 11% redeployment agreed upon by the 'Wye River Memorandum' and Arafat compromised by accepting the release of 350 prisoners, rather than the 400 the Palestinians had requested. 18

Camp David II Negotiations
On July 11, 2000, the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, the President of the Palestinian National Authority. Yasser Arafat and other officials met at Camp David, Maryland, to negotiate a final settlement of the Palestine-Israel conflict based on the Oslo Accords. The Summit ended on July 25, 2000, without an agreement being reached. At its conclusion, a Trilateral Statement was issued defining the agreed principles to guide future negotiations. The main cases that were discussed in the negotiations and which were the principal obstacles to agreement were territory, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount-Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, and the 'Right of Return' of refugees.19

Ehud Barak declared that Israel would not return to its pre-1967 borders, and that East Jerusalem with its 175,000 Jewish settlers would remain under Israeli sovereignty. He further proclaimed that Israel would annex settlement blocs in the West Bank, containing some 80% of the 180,000 Jewish settlers and that Israel would not accept any legal or civilian responsibility for the 'displacement' of the Palestinian refugees, stating that an international fund would compensate them, a fund that Israel, the US and EU would contribute to.20
The Palestinians refused the Israeli offer, for it represented a failure to meet both UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the mutual understanding of the Oslo Declaration of Principles. Palestinians sought Israeli withdrawal from the vast majority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem and recognition of an independent state in those territories, including a solution for the refugee problem. 21

After 15 days of negotiations, the distance between the two sides, especially on the issues of Jerusalem and refugees, rendered agreement impossible.  


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