The Wye Agreement was the second agreement between Israel and the Palestinians under the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, brokered by the Clinton administration. It was intended to reinstate implementation of the Interim Agreement of September 25, 1995, namely the Oslo II Agreement, 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. The Wye talks opened on October 14, 1998 and after 9 days of tough negotiations regarding the extent of the next stage of Israeli withdrawal, the Wye River Memorandum was signed. Israel would relinquish 13 percent of the land of which 10 percent would be turned over to Palestinian control and the rest would be turned into nature reserves. In return, Arafat agreed to take measures to prevent acts of terrorism against Israel, to apprehend individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror, and to punish all persons involved in acts of violence and terror. It was also agreed at Wye that the Palestinians would collect all illegal weapons from the Palestinians and that the Palestinian police would be reduced from 36,000 to 30,000 men. Arafat also agreed to reaffirm the letter he sent to President Clinton in January 1988, concerning the nullification of those Palestinian National Charter provisions that called for the destruction of Israel. According to the Wye Memorandum, permanent status negotiations would resume on an accelerated basis so that the sides could reach an agreement by May 4, 1999 (the target date for a final status agreement set in the Oslo Accords).>However, the optimism created at Wye was short lived. The main reason for this was Arafat’s failure to meet the commitments he made at Wye. He went so far as to announce his intentions of unilaterally declaring an independent Palestinian state. In response, the Israeli government on December 20, 1998, reached the decision to halt Israeli implementation of the Wye Memorandum until after Arafat retracted his statement and reaffirmed his commitment to halt violence and collect illegal weapons.


Ahron Bregman, A History of Israel, New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003

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26 Apr 2015 / 7 Iyar 5775 0