May 4Peace Now reveals that even though there are 3,714 vacant apartments in the settlements, 6,608 new apartments are being built.
May 11Following a decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a closure order is issued to the Orient House in East Jerusalem, where the PLA headquarters in the city are located. The High Court of Justice delays the order until after the elections.
June 18The newly elected prime minister, Ehud Barak, plans to build a forty-seven-kilometer-long elevated bridge to connect the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
June 20The Palestinian cabinet calls upon Palestinian workers to stop working in the settlements.
June 21The World Bank reports that Palestinians consume the least amount of water in the Middle East. Consumption reaches less than half of the UN standard.
August 4IDF officials tell settlers that most of the thirty-one settler outposts established after the Wye Agreements will not be evacuated.
August 15The IDF decides to change its policy and try stone throwers starting from the age of twelve.
August 30The IDF declares that it will confiscate cars from Palestinians who do not pay traffic tickets.
September 5The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum is signed. It states that the withdrawal agreed upon in the Wye Agreement will be implemented in three phases until January 2000, that accelerated negotiations will be held on the final arrangement, that Israel will release 350 Palestinian prisoners, and that the construction of a seaport in Gaza will begin.
September 6The High Court of Justice rules that torture is not to be used as a means of interrogation. The justices disallow the use of interrogation methods such as “shaking” of the interrogatee, holding him in painful positions for a prolonged period of time, sleep deprivation, placing an opaque sack on the interrogatee’s head, and playing loud music for many hours. In practice, the Shabak will continue to use some forms of torture, especially following the outbreak of the second intifada.
OctoberAfter a few years’ delay, the “safe passage” route—running between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—is opened for the first time in the southerly direction. Israel had promised to open the route in the framework of the Oslo Accords. Residents of the Occupied Territories have to obtain a permit from Israel to use the passageway and have to undergo stringent security check before starting their journeys. Many Palestinians are allowed to use the roadway only on special buses escorted by the army. Thousands of other Palestinians are absolutely forbidden to use the passageway, even on army-escorted buses. The safe passage remains open for less than one year and is closed by Israel upon the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000.
October 31A-Shuhada Street in Hebron is opened to Palestinian movement for the first time since the massacre in the Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque (February 1994). The street will be closed again when the second intifada erupts.
The settlement of Negohot is founded. It is the last settlement whose establishment is officially approved by the government of Israel. During the “Oslo years,” until the outbreak of the second intifada, the number of settlers living in the Occupied Territories almost doubles, from one hundred and ten thousand, nine hundred in 1993 to one hundred and ninety-one thousand, six hundred in 2000.