Barak then focused on Syria. In January 2000, Israeli, Syrian and American delegations met in West Virginia for peace talks. These negotiations failed when Barak refused to repeat Rabin`s promise to retreat to the line of 4 June 1967, arguing that none of the concessions offered by the Syrian delegation in return could be considered final, as Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad was not present. An Israeli-Syrian agreement was not reached at a meeting that followed between Clinton and Asad in Geneva. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed and five Arab nations were attacked in support of the Palestinian Arabs. The Israelis fought against the Arab armies and conquered a considerable territory that had originally been attributed to the Arabs during the partition of Palestine by the United Nations in 1947. After two successive truces brokered by the United Nations, the State of Israel concluded formal ceasefire agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria in February 1949. These agreements left Israel permanent control over the area it had conquered during the conflict. Gradually, in the fall and winter of 1993/94, King Hussein and his brother Crown Prince Hassan bin Talal realized that the Israeli-Palestinian talks were in fact an excellent opportunity for Jordan. Hassan was to be the king`s closest adviser in conversations with Rabin and Halevy. Jordan had long abstained from a peace treaty with Israel because it did not want to stand before the Palestinians. It did not want a separate agreement with Israel, as President Anwar Sadat had done for Egypt. Yet Arafat spoke directly with the Israelis to conclude a peace agreement: Jordan would not be alone.
Even the Syrians have engaged with Israel through the Americans. Jordan was free to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel, after decades of secret contacts initiated by king Abdullah`s grandfather in Hussein, without fear of a reaction from other Arabs. The agreement between Gaza and Jericho, signed that day in history, covered four main themes: security measures, civil affairs, legal issues and economic relations. It included an Israeli military withdrawal of about 60 percent from the Gaza Strip (excluding Jewish settlements and their surroundings) and the West Bank city of Jericho, which was trapped by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Palestinians said they were ready to fight terrorism and prevent violence in the so-called “country for peace.” The document also included an agreement on the transfer of powers from the Israeli civil administration to the newly created Palestinian Authority, its jurisdiction and legislative powers, a Palestinian police force and relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.