September 4, 1999
On September 4, 1999, the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum was signed by representatives of Israel and the PLO. Restating the commitment of the two sides to full implementation of all agreements reached since September 1993, the Memorandum sets out to resolve the outstanding issues of the present interim status, in particular those set out in the Wye Memorandum of October 23, 1998, thus forming a kind of bridge between the completion of the interim period and the initiation of the permanent status.
Permanent Status Negotiations
The Memorandum provides that accelerated permanent status negotiations will commence not later than September 13, 1999, and that the goal of these negotiations is to reach a framework agreement on permanent status within five months and a comprehensive permanent status agreement within one year.
The Memorandum sets out a timetable for additional redeployments of Israeli forces in the West Bank and the transfer of areas to Palestinian control in several phases, to be completed by January 20, 2000. The first phase was carried out on September 10, 1999.
Release of Prisoners
The Memorandum provides for the releases of 350 prisoners in two stages (carried out on September 9 and October 15, 1999). The Israeli side will also aim to release additional Palestinian prisoners before next Ramadan.
The Memorandum provides for the reactivation of all Interim committees (Monitoring and Steering, Civil, Security, Economic, Legal, People to People) as well as Wye Memorandum Committees, including the Third Further Redeployment Committee. The Continuing Committee on displaced persons will also resume its activity.
The Memorandum establishes a timetable for the operation of the two safe passage routes between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Agreement on the southern route was signed on October 5 and entered into effect on October 25, 1999.
The Memorandum commits both sides to act immediately and effectively against any acts or threats of terrorism, violence or incitement, and arrangements for cooperation in this regard. It also sets out a series of specific security obligations of the Palestinian side under the Wye Memorandum, including the collection of illegal weapons, the apprehension of terrorist suspects and the forwarding of a list of Palestinian policemen to the Israeli side for review by the Monitoring and Steering Committee.