The Peace Process is Not Frozen

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry)
December 28, 1998

1. The Government of Israel has not frozen the implementation of the Wye River Memorandum nor has it frozen the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the framework of the joint committees and the permanent status talks.

2. Despite recent internal political developments, the Government of Israel has reiterated its commitment to the Wye Memorandum, and all the agreements that have been signed with the Palestinians.

This commitment is subject to the principle of reciprocity and the fulfillment by the Palestinian Authority of all the obligations which it has undertaken in accordance with the Wye Memorandum. (It should be recalled that according to the Memorandum, each stage of further redeployments is dependent upon the Palestinian fulfillment of the specific commitments and relevant obligations of each phase, as detailed in the time-line attached to the Memorandum).

It should be stressed in this regard, that Israel is continuing its participation in the ongoing work of the joint negotiating committees, and more than 30 meetings have taken place since the Wye summit. The only committees which have been inactive, are those that deal with issues that the Palestinians, for their own reasons, refuse to discuss (the legal committee and the standing committee which addresses, among other subjects, "people-to-people" programs).

3. At the same time, it is should be clarified that during the elections period, difficulties may arise, and conditions caused by the changes in the national agenda in Israel may slow the decision making process in various realms.

4. It is important to stress that no policy to freeze the peace process or the implementation of the Wye Memorandum has been initiated. Indeed the opposite is true – the policy of the Government and the activities of the Foreign Ministry are aimed at advancing negotiations on all tracks.

5. All Israeli Governments, including the present one, have considered the achievement of peace to be a strategic national goal, alongside other national goals such as security and immigrant absorption.

6. Regretfully, the difficulties and delays in implementing the Wye Memorandum are the result of the failure of the Palestinian Authority to comply with its obligations under the agreements. The Palestinian Authority has yet to completely fulfill its commitments in the following matters:

  • There have been incidents of violence, and incitement to violence and terrorism, carried out by the Palestinian Authority, most notably in connection to the Palestinian demand for the release of prisoners "with blood on their hands" (in contradiction to what was agreed upon at Wye).
  • The collection of illegal weapons in the hands of both civilians and the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, and their subsequent transfer to U.S. representatives for destruction, has still not been carried out.
  • Senior officials of the Palestinian Authority have made grave statements regarding their intention to unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state in May 1999, with Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the UN partition plan of 1947 (UN Resolution 181).
  • The reduction of the number of members of the Palestinian police force to 30,000 has yet to be carried out.
  • The outlawing of organizations, factions and their support structures, which call for violence, terrorism or armed actions in order to achieve their aims, has not been carried out.
  • The arrest of murderers and the end of the "revolving door" phenomenon have yet to be implemented.

Israel, for its part, will fulfill its commitment to continue the further redeployment according to the Wye time-line, this subsequent to the complete fulfillment, by the Palestinian Authority, of its appropriate obligations at every phase of the implementation of the Wye Memorandum.