Letter dated 30 October 1996
from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel
to the Secretar - General of the United Nations
This is my first letter to you as Foreign Minister and it is being sent almost immediately after the successful conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians at the Wye Plantation, Maryland. These negotiations testify to the seriousness of Israel's desire to achieve peace with the Palestinians, and to our steadfast determination to see this process through.
As someone deeply involved in the defence of Israel since my youth, I have seen first- hand the terrible destruction that war wreaks upon combatants, families and nations. I can therefore state that the hardest and most hotly contested negotiations are still infinitely preferable to the easiest of military victories. May I assure you that all Israelis fervently hope that this agreement will hasten the achievement of a full and lasting peace in our region.
As the agreement signed by the two sides has tremendous import for the continuation of the peace process, I therefore wish to take this opportunity to apprise you of some of the more salient points contained in the Wye River Memorandum.
Israel has undertaken, inter alia, the following concrete commitments as a result of the negotiations:
( a ) The transfer of land in Judea and Samaria, which will result in the Palestinian Authority's controlling some 40 per cent of the land in Judea and Samaria ( areas A and B ), and exercising its jurisdiction over 98 per cent of the Palestinian inhabitants;
( b ) The release of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel, before the expiration of their sentences;
( c ) Agreement on the arrangements that will permit the opening of the Gaza Industrial Estate ( at Karni );
( d ) The conclusion of a protocol on the opening of the international airport in Gaza;
( e ) Agreement to renew negotiations on the " safe passage " of goods and people between Gaza and Judea and Samaria with the intention to conclude an agreement within a week of the Wye River Memorandum's entering into force.
I must note that Israel has taken considerable risks in making the commitments, but we have not done so unilaterally. Rather, they are conditional upon the Palestinian side's in turn scrupulously abiding by its obligations, which are, inter alia:
( a ) Zero tolerance for terror and violence and the implementation of a work plan to ensure the systematic and effective combat of terrorist organizations and their infrastructures. A major component of this security plan is the apprehension of specific individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror, for the purpose of further investigation and prosecution;
( b ) The criminalization of unlicensed weapons, and their collection and appropriate handling;