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The Wye Agreement

by Neil Lazarus

The Wye Agreement was the second agreement between Israel and the Palestinians under the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, brokered by the US Clinton administration. It was intended to restart the peace process that had stalled as a result of Palestinian protest over a controversial new Jewish community planned in Har Homa, Jerusalem, and as a result of a growing mistrust between both sides.

Netanyahu's attitude to the peace process differed from that of Rabin, Peres and Barak, in that there was a demand by the government of Israel for reciprocal implementation ("reciprocity") on the part of the Palestinians. Netanyahu refused to offer more concessions until the Israeli needs for security were met, including:

The amendment of the PLO Covenant;

Palestinian Authority action against Hamas and its terrorist activities;

Cessation of the PA's so-called "revolving door policy" of releasing terrorists from prison after a few months.

The Wye agreement was never more than partially implemented, as it precipitated the collapse of the Netanyahu government, with new elections being held in May 1999 and Ehud Barak being elected as the new Israeli Prime Minister.


The Sharm el Sheikh Memorandum

by Neil Lazarus



Following the election of Ehud Barak in May 1999, the Palestinians, who had become frustrated by progress in the Peace process, greeted the change with great expectations. The Sharm el Sheikh agreement was a rapid intervention by the new Prime Minister to put the Peace Process back on track by setting target dates for a staged, but relatively rapid implementation. The Sharm el Sheikh Memorandum established new and extended old deadlines in a bid to finally resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians by September 13 2000. It aimed to move the sides to finalize bilaterally all major final status talks by this date, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water and Palestinian statehood.

However, while many subsidiary redeployment, freepassage, airport and other arrangements, did emerge, the major issues were not addressed in the pressured time scale, and a new summit was called by the US in mid-summer 2000, shortly after Israel withdrew the IDF from Lebanon.




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