Since then, the Syrians have been able to push their views on the 17 May agreement at the head of any discussion on the resolution of the Lebanese conflict and block progress on all points. Given that more and more Lebanese are convinced that the agreement is more difficult than it is worth it and that the Israelis are talking about a withdrawal from Lebanon, with or without it, the Syrians seem to earn a lot and lose little if they continue to play a patient waiting game. The agreement was signed on May 17, 1983 by William Drapper for the United States, David Kimche for Israel and Antoine Fattal for Lebanon. Lebanese President Amine Gemayel was recently elected by the Syrian Nationalist Social Party after the assassination of his brother, President-elect Bashir Gemayel, a long-time ally of Israel. Some Lebanese supported President Amin Gemayel and argued that his close relations with the United States could help establish peace and restore Lebanese sovereignty, which they saw threatened not only by the Israeli occupation, but also by the Syrian occupation. The agreement was signed in four languages – English, French, Hebrew and Arabic – by the men who represented their countries during the five months of negotiations: Antoine Fattal, a retired Lebanese diplomat who was former director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and David Kimche, director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Morris Draper, an American special envoy who participated in all the negotiations, signed as a witness. In the hope of consolidating these gains, Israel has conditioned its withdrawal of troops and the implementation of the rest of the agreement on the withdrawal of the P.L.O. and Syrian forces from northern and eastern Lebanon. The return of all Israelis held as prisoners of war and a representation of the missing Israelis are also preconditions for Israeli withdrawal. Last fall, much of the basis of the agreement was provided by Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, the chief architect of the war, who secretly met with an unidentified relative of Lebanese President Amin Gemayel and wrote a document describing an agreement. Sharon then made the document public, undermined Israeli-Lebanese trust and, according to Israeli and American officials, suspended negotiations.
The agreement called on the Lebanese army to adopt Israeli positions. On 6 February 1984, under the weight of a growing civil war in Beirut, the Lebanese denominational government collapsed by rival sectarian factions and Lebanon was unable to abide by the agreement. The agreement was revoked by the Lebanese parliament, headed by the newly elected spokesman, Hussein el-Husseini, who replaced spokesman Kamel Asaad, who had supported the agreement. A joint liaison committee, including the United States as participants, will be responsible for implementing the agreement. Within this body, a committee on security agreements will look at military issues. The agreement that the United States approved as a witness was one step short of a comprehensive peace treaty. But it was the second Israeli success in recent years in concluding a formal agreement on peaceful relations with an Arab neighbour, which gives it symbolic weight, much like the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David agreement of 1978. The agreement met with strong opposition from Lebanese Muslims and in the Arab world and was presented as an imposed capitulation. The conclusion of a separate peace with Israel was (and still is) a taboo subject in the Arab world, and Egypt`s peace agreement at Camp David had ostracized the country and temporarily excluded it from the Arab League.