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
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.