NEW YORK (Oct. 27)
Many of the provisions to be found in the Wye River Memorandum signed last Friday at the White House reaffirm the details of previous, as yet unimplemented, Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Indeed, the Wye accord states in its opening section that it is intended to "facilitate implementation" of the 1995 Interim Agreement and the Note for the Record that accompanied the January 1997 Hebron Agreement.
Perhaps the most novel aspect of the latest accord is the role given the United States — namely, CIA officials in the region — as an active participant in a process that has made little perceptible headway since Israeli troops withdrew from most of Hebron nearly two years ago.
The Wye agreement goes into effect Nov. 2 — 10 days after the Oct. 23 signing ceremony took place at the White House. The accord provides a timetable of actions to be taken by Israel and the Palestinians — in conjunction with U.S. monitors — over a period of 12 weeks ending Jan. 24, 1999.
By the end of the period, Israel will have redeployed from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank. Of this, 1 percent will be transferred to sole Palestinian control. The remaining 12 percent will be under joint Israeli- Palestinian control — 3 percent of which will be designated a nature reserve.
In addition, 14.2 percent currently under joint control will fall under the sole control of the Palestinian Authority.
The handover of West Bank land includes the first and second redeployments that were spelled out in the Interim Agreement. Palestinian officials had sought to have the third redeployment called for in that agreement spelled out in the Wye accord. Instead, the Wye pact calls for the two sides to start discussing the third further redeployment as soon as the pact goes into effect. The United States has already stated that it is up to Israel alone to determine the extent of the third redeployment.
In exchange for the land transfers spelled out in the latest accord, the Palestinian Authority agreed to a series of specific security steps that deal "with terrorists, the terror support structure and the environment conducive to the support of terror."
The Wye accord makes no mention of Israel’s releasing Palestinian prisoners. That issue, as well as others, is expected to be taken up in an as-yet unpublished side letter to the agreement, according to Israeli officials.
Following is the timetable of actions to be taken by each side during the 12- week period:
Week 1 (Nov. 2-8)
Accelerated final-status negotiations begin.
The Palestinian Authority shares its "work plan" to combat terrorism with American officials.
The two sides resume full bilateral security cooperation.
A separate trilateral committee that also includes U.S. officials begins its work to "address the steps being taken to combat terror."
The two sides resume committee work to resolve issues remaining from the Interim Agreement. These include the establishment of safe-passage routes for Palestinians traveling between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the opening of a Gaza seaport. Without spelling out details, the Wye agreement notes that the two sides have already agreed on arrangements for opening an airport and an industrial zone in Gaza.
Weeks 2-6 (Nov. 9-Dec. 13)
The Palestinian Authority begins implementing its anti-terror "work plan" and begins biweekly meetings with American officials at which it will "inform the U.S. fully of all the actions it has taken to outlaw all organizations" that have a "military, terrorist or violent character."
The Palestine National Council and other Palestine Liberation Organization institutions convene to publicly revoke the anti-Israel clauses in the Palestinian Charter. In the days since the Wye agreement was signed, the two sides have differed as to who exactly will participate in the ceremony, at which President Clinton is expected to participate.
A trilateral committee begins meeting "to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror."
The Palestinian Authority presents a list of its policemen to Israel. The Wye accord does not make specific mention of how large the force should be. But this issue, as with all others in the latest agreement, "is subject to the relevant terms and conditions" of previous Israeli-Palestinian accords. The Interim Agreement sets a specific limit on the size of the Palestinian police force, and Israel can be expected to seek this limit upon receiving the list.
Weeks 6-12 (Dec. 7, 1998-Jan. 24, 1999)
The third and final stage of the 13 percent Israeli redeployment is completed. The first and second stages take place in earlier weeks.
Collection of illegal weapons in the self-rule areas begin.
Even after the 12-week period concludes, the Wye accord calls for continued meetings of all the bilateral and trilateral committees that oversee security, economic and legal issues. The accord also mandates the continuation of final- status negotiations until their successful conclusion.