The Israeli cabinet has given the go-ahead for the first withdrawal of troops from the West Bank in two years.
The cabinet narrowly approved the first stage of troop withdrawal called for by the Wye peace accord signed last month.
Approval came after a series of delays and disputes with the Palestinians and stage one of the pullback, expected to be completed by Friday, is five days behind schedule.
The shape of things to come.
Just hours after the Israeli cabinet voted to give the green light to a first pullback from the West Bank, Israeli trucks unloaded roadblocks to mark the new borders.
In the first stage of the pullback - expected to be completed by Friday - two percent of the West Bank will be transferred from sole Israeli control to joint jurisdiction.
In addition, seven-point-one percent of the land will be moved from joint jurisdiction
to sole Palestinian control.
"The cabinet has taken a decision to implement Israel's obligation under the Wye agreement. This means that Israel will withdraw from two percent of the West Bank. It will sign a protocol on the opening of first international airport of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza district, and it will release 250 prisoners."
SUPER CAPTION: David Bar-Illan, Senior Adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu
The Wye accord has polarised ministers since it was hammered out last month.
The Israeli prime minister, arriving for a special cabinet meeting to discuss it, knew its was going to be a bumpy ride.
In the end the vote was a close one - just two votes difference at seven to five.
The decision to pull the troops out is the surest sign yet that Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are back on the road to peace.
Despite recent controversial comments on a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem - Arafat has pressed hard for a continuation of negotiations.
A number of his council members remain optimistic - but wary.
"This is the first portion of the land that Israel has to evacuate according to the Wye Plantation memorandum. I hope that the Israeli government will continue in implementing this memorandum, and evacuate and redeploy in the rest of the Palestinian territory and not try to make the whole issue this small area which they have been redeployed in, or that they are willing to redeploy in."
SUPER CAPTION: Ziad Abu Ziad Palestinian council member
Palestinian residents of the areas soon to be vacated by the Israelis are looking forward to the new control.
"We are very happy to see the Israelis go out and the Palestinians come in."
SUPER CAPTION: Palestinian Resident of Jenin
But another aspect of the agreement -- concerning the release of Palestinian prisoners -- appears to be more controversial.
In addition to the first troop pullback, Israel was to release 250 Palestinian prisoners.
The parents of one prisoner are eagerly looking forward to their son's return.
"I wish to see my son and spend the rest of life with him, I call on god to release my son and all the rest of the prisoners."
SUPER CAPTION: Mother of Palestinian prisoner
But many Palestinians say Israel has breached its promises by offering to free mostly
criminals rather than security prisoners.
One Palestinian spokesman has already complained that their negotiators didn't go all the way to Washington for talks just to see the release of criminals and car thieves.
There is also fear among some Israeli settlers.
"There are some people who are afraid and want to leave - it causes a lot of stress and fear. There are others who don't want to leave - I don't want to leave at all."
SUPER CAPTION: Sara Shienmen, Israeli settler
No army bases or Jewish settlements will be dismantled.
Instead, Israeli troops will move large black-and-yellow road markers to show the new lines of division.