Israeli officials say the army will hand over security control of the West Bank city of Jericho to the Palestinians on Wednesday.
News of the transfer date came late Monday, after the latest round of talks between Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs. Jericho is set to become the first of five West Bank towns to be turned over to Palestinian security control.
Earlier Monday, a top Israeli official, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved the final placement of a barrier around Jerusalem that will encompass a controversial Jewish settlement. Israel says the wall will keep out militants. Palestinians say Israel has used the barrier issue as an excuse to grab land.
The developments come as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is in the region for talks to advance the peace process.