Middle East Accord: Terms Of The Wye Agreement
Saturday 04 September 1999
Currently, 32 per cent of the West Bank is under Palestinian or joint Israeli-Palestinian control. After Wye is implemented, the Palestinians will have full civil and security control of 18.2 per cent of the territory, while 24.8 per cent will be under joint control, with Israel in ultimate charge of security and the Palestinians responsible for civil administration.
The agreement allows for the creation of a "safe passage" corridor for the free movement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Two routes are planned and buses using them will not face Israeli checks
The deal allows the Palestinians to have an airport and a sea port in the Gaza Strip. The airport is already operating - with a degree of Israeli security control - but the harbour has yet to be built.
The Israelis agreed to free 750 Palestinian prisoners in three stages starting after the signing of the agreement. Releases have started, but Yasser Arafat did not insist that the prisoners should be political. This has led to extended wrangling this week, with the Palestinians demanding that they want freedom fighters, not common criminals, to be freed.
The Palestinians have started to take action against militant groups and arrested a number of people accused by Israel of terrorism. They have also submitted a detailed plan of action to arrest alleged terrorists and confiscate weapons, under CIA supervision.
The Israelis - across the political spectrum - have already accepted that a Palestinian state will come into being. Not agreed are the constraints there will be on that state - in its defence policy, for example - and a number of issues that look almost insoluble. The last stage of negotiations will undoubtedly be the thorniest and most protracted. To be agreed are the state's borders, the fate of the Jewish settlements that occupy what will be Palestine, the right to return to the state of several million Palestinian refugees and - as if all this were not enough - the final state of Jerusalem, claimed as their capital by Israelis and Palestinians alike.
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