Chronology 16 May-15 August 1998

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VOL. 28

1998/99

No. 1
P. 159
Chronology
Chronology 16 May-15 August 1998
ABSTRACT

16 MAY
    In the 3d straight day of clashes sparked by Palestinian marches commemorating al-Nakba--the dispossession of the Palestinians as a result of Israel's creation in 1948--the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) wounds 10 Palestinians in Hebron, East Jerusalem. In Amman, 1,500 Jordanian students hold commemorative rally at University of Jordan campus. (NYT, WP, WT 5/17; JT 5/17 in WNC 5/19; PR 5/22)
    In Amman, Jordan's King Hussein, PA head Yasir Arafat discuss foundering peace process, latest outbreak of violence. (JTV, RJ 5/16 in WNC 5/19; WP, WT 5/17; al-Bilad 5/20 in WNC 5/21) (see 5/14, 5/15)
    In Cairo, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak discusses peace process with Jordanian FM Jawad al-Anani, who brings Mubarak a message fr. King Hussein. (JTV, MENA, RJ 5/16, al-Quds 5/17 in WNC 5/19)
    In Damascus, Jordan, Syria open 2-day talks on exploiting Yarmuk River waters, joint construction of al-Wahda Dam. (al-Ra'i, RJ 5/17 in WNC 5/19; al-Ra'i 5/19 in WNC 5/21)
    Labor Chmn. Ehud Barak visits settlements of Ofra, Beit El, where he promises that settlements will "remain forever." (MEI 6/5)
    In s. Lebanon, Amal, Hizballah discuss need to coordinate. (VOL 5/16 in WNC 5/19) (see 5/10)
17 MAY
    After attending a breakfast reception in his honor hosted by New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani (attended by 2,000 guests) and taking part in a Salute to Israel parade, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu returns to Washington to meet with U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross, where he reportedly says that Israel would accept 2-stage 13% further redeployment (FRD) if the 3d FRD were eliminated. Following mtg., Netanyahu addresses annual AIPAC meeting. Ross flies to London to meet with Secy. of State Madeleine Albright, who arranges mtg. with Arafat for 5/18 to brief him on Netanyahu's latest proposal. (MM 5/18; IDF Radio 5/18 in WNC 5/19; MEI 5/22)
    In Oslo, Labor Chmn. Barak discusses peace process with Arafat, who is attending mtg. of the Socialist International, holding talks on peace process with Norwegian officials. (AFP 5/17 in WNC 5/21; MM 5/18)
    The Israel Armaments Development Authority, Lockheed Martin sign agmt. for joint marketing of Israel's Python-4 air-to-air missile, opening the U.S. market to the missile for the 1st time, creating competition for the AIM-9X missile made by the U.S. company Hughes/Raytheon. (Globes [Internet] 5/17 in WNC 5/21)
    In s. Lebanon, 4 Amal mbrs. are wounded in clash with the IDF. (RL 5/18 in WNC 5/19)
18 MAY
    In London, Secy. Albright asks Arafat to consider Netanyahu's proposed "refinements" to the 13.1% FRD plan. Arafat rejects proposal for cancellation of 3d FRD (see 5/17). Speaking with reporters, Pres. Clinton refuses to characterize Netanyahu's position in talks with U.S. officials, saying that to do so "would almost certainly reduce the chances of our being able to get agreement which would move parties to final status." (MM 5/18; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 5/19; MM 5/20; PR 5/22)
    Citing Albright's London mtg. with Arafat, a senior British official says that the UK is "suspicious" that the U.S. is letting its brinkmanship with Israel on the FRD issue fade. In Paris, French pres. Jacques Chirac, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak call for a new international peace conference (opposed by the U.S.), creation of a Palestinian state. (MENA 5/18 in WNC 5/19; AFP, MENA 5/18, 5/19 in WNC 5/21; WP 5/19; WT 5/20; MENA, RE 5/21 in WNC 5/23; MM 5/22; RE 5/23 in WNC 5/27; MEI 7/31)
    At the G-8 mtg. in London, Pres. Clinton agrees to ask Congress for greater authority to waive sanctions required under 2 U.S. laws that threaten to affect firms fr. France, Israel, Malaysia, Russia: Helms-Burton Act, which requires sanctions against foreign firms that make use of confiscated U.S. property in Cuba (see Peace Monitor in JPS 107), and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which punishes Iran, Libya for sponsoring "terrorism" by threatening sanctions against 3d countries who enter large economic agmts. with them (see 9/28/97). (NYT, WP, WT 5/19; MEI 6/5)
    3 Amal mbrs. are wounded in clash with IDF in s. Lebanon. (RL 5/18 in WNC 5/21)
19 MAY
    PA Planning M Nabil Shaath arrives in Amman on 4-day visit, holds talks with Jordanian FM Anani on economic cooperation, creation of free trade zone (see Peace Monitor in JPS 108). (RJ 5/19 in WNC 5/23; RJ 5/22 in WNC 5/27)
    PA Elections Appeals Court cancels the Gaza by-election set for 5/29 to fill Haidar 'Abd al-Shafi's seat on the Palestinian Council (PC). (PCHR 5/21; PR 5/29) (see Peace Monitor)
    Israeli DM Yitzhak Mordechai discusses with Russian special envoy Viktor Posuvalyuk Israel's conditional withdrawal proposal for s. Lebanon, Russian military assistance to Iran. Posuvalyuk then heads to Amman for talks with Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan. (IDF Radio, QY, RJ 5/19 in WNC 5/21; JTV 5/19 in WNC 5/27)
    The American Israel Public Affairs Comm. (AIPAC) holds rally on Capitol Hill to commemorate Israel's 50th anniversary. Speakers addressing the rally include Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO). (MM 5/20; Near East Report 6/1)
    Kuwait releases last 3 of 13 Jordanian detainees pardoned 4/26. (JTV 5/19 in WNC 5/21) (see 5/13)
    Jordanian court pardons opposition leader Laith Shubailat, sentenced 5/12 to 9 mos. in prison for inciting anti-U.S. riots in Ma'an in 2/98, pending withdrawal of his appeal. Shubailat is already free on appeal. (RJ 5/19, JT 5/20 in WNC 5/21)
    Roadside bomb explodes in s. Lebanon, killing 2 civilians. SLA, Hizballah blame each other. (RL 5/19 in WNC 5/21)
20 MAY
    A day after PM Netanyahu leaves the U.S., Labor Chmn. Barak arrives in Washington for talks with U.S. officials on the peace process. (MM 5/22)
    EU reps. meet with Israeli Finance M Yaakov Neeman to discuss Israel's practice of exporting goods fr. the occupied territories with "Made in Israel" labels. (JP 5/30; see also AFP [Internet] 5/19) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Amman, the PA, Jordan open 2 days of talks on the peace process, coordination btwn. the PC and parliament. Separately, PA Planning M Shaath, Jordanian PM `Abd al-Salam al-Majali discuss peace process, U.S. mediation (see 5/19). (JTV 5/20, RJ 5/21 in WNC 5/23; JTV 5/21 in WNC 5/27)
    A panel of 9 Israeli High Court judges holds hearing on 6 petitions by Palestinian prisoners challenging the use of torture in interrogations by Israeli security services. Intelligence representatives testify that use of "moderate physical pressure" has prevented anti-Israeli attacks. (WP 5/21; NYT 5/22; LAW 5/23)
    Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin arrives in Syria fr. Yemen. (MENA 5/21 in WNC 5/23; MM 5/22; al-Quds al-Arabi 5/22 in WNC 5/27; PR 5/29) (see Peace Monitor in JPS 108)
21 MAY
    Syrian FM Faruq al-Shara` arrives in Washington for 2-day official visit. (YA 5/21 in WNC 5/23; MM 5/22) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Moscow, Israel's Trade M Natan Sharanksy gives Russian officials list of Russian firms that are allegedly providing military technology to Iran. Russia says it is doing its best to block illegal transfers, asks Israel to stop pressuring U.S. to impose sanctions on Russian firms trading with Iran. (Interfax [Moscow], MA, QY 5/21 in WNC 5/23; WT 5/22; HA, MA 5/22 in WNC 5/27) (see 5/18)
    Iran agrees to sell Turkey 3 b. cu. m. of natural gas beginning in 1999. (Anatolia, Milliyet 5/22 in WNC 5/27)
    Pres. Clinton gives order to reduce the number of military personnel in the Gulf by roughly half now that the crisis with Iraq, which flared in 2/98, seems to have passed. (NYT, WP 5/27; WP 6/7)
    In s. Lebanon, 3 civilians, 2 Hizballah mbrs. are killed during clash btwn. Hizballah, IDF. (RL 5/21 in WNC 5/23)
22 MAY
    In Washington, Syrian FM Shara` meets with Secy. Albright, State. Dept. peace team; discusses Israel's conditional s. Lebanon withdrawal proposal. (MM 5/22; MEI 6/5; al-Watan al-Arabi 6/5 in WNC 6/9; JP 6/6)
    At the request of the White House, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) cancels plans to lay a symbolic cornerstone at the site of the proposed site of the new U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem during his 4-day trip to Israel, which starts 5/23. (WT 5/23; al-Quds 5/23 in WNC 5/27; WT 5/26)
    Senate approves (90-4) the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act (IMPSA)--a bill that will place sanctions on foreign companies providing missile technology to Iran. White House has said it will veto the measure. (WP, WT 5/23) (see 5/21)
23 MAY 
    House Speaker Gingrich, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) lead a congressional delegation to Israel to celebrate Israel's 50th anniversary and Jerusalem Day, marking Israel's capture of the eastern half of the city in 1967. (WP 5/23; WT 5/25; MM 5/26; NYT 5/28; PR 5/29; MEI, MM 6/5; JP 6/6)
    In Damascus, Hamas's Shaykh Yasin meets with the leaders of the 10 Damascus-based Palestinian opposition groups. (al-Majd 5/25 in WNC 5/27) (see 5/20)
    In s. Lebanon, Hizballah detonates roadside bomb, killing 2 SLA mbrs. (VOL 5/23 in WNC 5/27)
24 MAY
    PM Netanyahu, Arafat adviser Mahmud Abbas meet secretly at Netanyahu's home for brief talks on the peace process before Netanyahu leaves for China. (MM 6/12)
    To mark Jerusalem Day, Israel stages largest military parade (13,000 troops) through West Jerusalem since 1973, attended by U.S. congressional delegation. Groups of right-wing Israelis try to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, march on Orient House. IDF bans Palestinian entry into Jerusalem for the day, sparking clashes btwn. IDF, Palestinians in Bethlehem. (al-Dustur, RJ 5/24 in WNC 5/27; WT 5/25; PR 5/29; MEI 6/5)
    In Amman, Israeli FMin. Dir. Gen. Eytan Bentzur, Jordanian FM Fayiz Tarawnah discuss Israeli proposal for conditional withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. Jordan stresses need for Israel to unconditionally implement UN Res. 425. (JT, al-Quds, al-Ra'i 5/25 in WNC 5/27)
    In Cairo, Pres. Mubarak briefs Arafat on his trip to France. Arafat then heads to Saudi Arabia to discuss possible Arab summit. (MENA 5/24, RE 5/26 in WNC 5/27)
    Syria asks Iran's help in constructing steel mills. Both countries agree to expand cultural, art exchanges to pave way for closer bilateral relations. (IRNA 5/24, 5/25 in WNC 5/27)
    In Damascus, Hamas's Shaykh Yasin meets with Pres. Hafiz al-Asad. (AFP, al-Majd 5/25 in WNC 5/27) (see 5/23)
    1st Lebanese municipal elections since 1963 begin. Elections are held on 4 consecutive Sundays. (RL 5/25, 5/26 in WNC 5/27; MM 5/26; al-Safir 5/27 in WNC 6/1; WP 6/1; MEI 6/5)
25 MAY
    30 Jewish settlers from the Ateret Cohanim group accompanied by Israeli police and guard dogs evict a Palestinian woman fr. her rented home in East Jerusalem, lay foundations for 9 new buildings on adjacent 2,000-sq.-m. plot (apparently without permits). (IDF Radio 5/25 in WNC 5/27; LAW, NYT 5/26; MM, NYT 5/27; PR 5/29; ITV 6/3 in WNC 6/4; MEI 6/5; PR 7/3)
    Arafat returns to Cairo to meet with Pres. Mubarak. (MENA 5/25 in WNC 5/27) (see 5/24)
    Iran, Syria sign mining cooperation agmt. for development of phosphorus, ferrous mines in Syria. (IRNA 5/25 in WNC 5/27)
    Jordan refuses to grant entry to Hamas's Shaykh Yasin, who planned to arrive 5/27. Meanwhile in Damascus, Yasin meets with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader George Habash on ways to strengthen relations btwn. their groups. (AFP, MENA 5/25, AFP, RJ 5/26 in WNC 5/27; WT 5/26; al-Sabil 6/2 in WNC 6/3; MEI 6/5; JP 6/6; Shihan 6/6 in WNC 6/8) (see 5/24)
    At the owner's request, PA security forces evict tenants of a Palestinian house in Ramallah and demolish the building, which has been the focus of a rent dispute. (Birzeit press release 5/25; JP 6/6)
    In s. Lebanon, 1 Hizballah mbr. is killed, 1 SLA mbr. and 4 civilians are injured in several clashes. (VOL 5/25, RL 5/26 in WNC 5/27)
26 MAY
    PM Netanyahu arrives in China for 3-day visit. (MM 5/26)
    In Cairo, Arafat attends Arab League mtg. called to commemorate the 50th anniversary of al-Nakba; calls for Arab summit on the peace process. (MENA, RE 5/26 in WNC 5/27)
    Egyptian FM `Amr Musa arrives in Amman for talks with King Hussein on Mubarak's trip to France, possible Arab summit; says Pres. Mubarak is discussing summit idea with other Arab leaders, including Morocco's King Hassan, who arrived in Cairo today for 3-day official visit, and Syria's Pres. Asad. (MENA, RE, RJ 5/26 in WNC 5/27; MM 5/27, 5/28)
    In Tel Aviv, Israel's DM Yitzhak Mordechai meets with Turkey's dep. chief of staff, Gen. Cevik Bir, for talks on the peace process, furthering military cooperation, possible joint arms projects. (WT 5/27)
    Saudi Arabia's FM Prince Saud al-Faisal arrives in Iran for 2-day talks on improving bilateral ties. (WT 5/27)
    Hamas's Shaykh Yasin visits Syria's Yarmuk refugee camp, where he receives warm welcome fr. Palestinian refuges. (WP 6/11) (see 5/25)
    In East Jerusalem, Israeli border policemen clash with Palestinians protesting illegal construction by Jewish settlers (see 5/25). To halt violence, Israel's Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert bans the construction in the name of Israel's Antiquities Dept., orders the demolition of the settlers' illegal dwellings. (ITV 5/26 in WNC 5/27; MM, NYT 5/27; WJW 5/28; MM 6/3; MEI 6/5; WT 6/9)
    Yemen reports that over the past 2 days, Saudi troops have seized the island of Harim in the Red Sea as part of an attempt to pressure Sana' to make territorial concessions in the 2 countries' border demarcation negotiations, which just resumed last wk. The island is 1 of 3 uninhabited but strategically significant Red Sea islands in dispute. (MM 5/26)
    3 SLA mbrs., 3 Hizballah mbrs. are killed in 2 clashes in s. Lebanon. 4 civilians are injured, over 100 flee their homes. (ITV, RL, VOL 5/26 in WNC 5/27)
27 MAY
    Egyptian FM Musa arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince `Abdullah on possible Arab summit. Trip was previously unplanned, prompted by Arafat's surprise visit to the kingdom, which ended 5/26. (MM 5/27, 6/1)
    House Speaker Gingrich, Arafat meet in Ramallah. U.S. congressional delegation then leaves for Jordan. (NYT, WP, WT 5/28; MM, PR 5/29; al-Thawra 5/31 in WNC 6/8; MEI, MM 6/5; JP 6/6)
    Syria's Pres. Asad receives congressional delegation led by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). (MM 5/28)
    Iran, Saudi Arabia sign wide-ranging cooperation agmt. (WP, WT 5/28) (see Peace Monitor)
    Knesset passes (50-45, with 1 abstention) 1st reading (of 3) of motion to change Israel's election system back to pre-5/96 process, eliminating direct election of PM. Motion is expected to be overturned. (MM 5/28; MEI 6/5)
    In s. Lebanon, 2 Golani Brigade mbrs. are killed, 2 wounded by Hizballah roadside bomb. Separately, 1 civilian is injured by IDF shelling. (MM 5/28; RL 6/3 in WNC 6/4; JP 6/6)
28 MAY
    In Amman, EU special envoy Miguel Moratinos discusses peace process with Crown Prince Hassan, PM Majali, FM Anani. (RJ 5/28 in WNC 6/1)
    In s. Lebanon, Hizballah ambushes IDF patrol, killing 2 soldiers, wounding 2. In response, SLA detains 10's of civilians fr. villages of Houle, Markaba for questioning on suspicion of "harboring" Hizballah mbrs. (WP, WT 5/29)
29 MAY
    Hamas's Shaykh Yasin arrives in Sudan, meets with Pres. `Umar Hassan al-Bashir. (al-Rayah 5/31 in WNC 6/3; SUNA [Khartoum] 6/2 in WNC 6/8; WT 6/3; al-Rayah 6/10 in WNC 6/11; SA 6/11 in WNC 6/12) (see 5/26)
30 MAY
    In Beirut, French pres. Jacques Chirac calls on Israel to leave s. Lebanon, Golan Heights, saying Israel must realize that it cannot have security without peace. (WP, WT 5/31; MM 6/1)
    Hizballah, IDF clash n. of Israel's self-declared security zone in Lebanon, leaving 1 Hizballah mbr. dead, 2 wounded. In separate incidents IDF shoots, kills 2 Lebanese, possibly affiliated with Hizballah; Hizballah wounds 1 SLA mbr. (ITV 5/31 in WNC 6/30)
31 MAY
    Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah arrives in Damascus for talks with FM Shara` on possible Arab summit. (MM 6/1; MBC 6/1 in WNC 6/3; al-Watan al-Arabi 6/12 in WNC 6/15)
    During 2d round of Lebanese municipal elections, fighting breaks out in 2 locations in n. Lebanon, leaving 6 persons wounded, 30 under arrest. (WP 6/1; MM 6/2)
CHRONOLOGY SOURCE ABBREVIATIONS
AFP        (Agence France Presse, Paris)
CSM        (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)
GIU          (Global Intelligence Update, Austin)
HA           (Ha'Aretz, Tel Aviv)
IGPO        (Israeli Government Press Office, Jerusalem)
IRNA        (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran)
ITV           (Israel Television Network, Jerusalem)
JP            (Jerusalem Post International Edition, Jerusalem)
JT             (Jordan Times, Amman)
JTV           (Jordan Television Network, Amman)
LAW         (Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem)
MA           (Ma'ariv, Tel Aviv)
MBC         (Middle East Broadcasting Centre, London)
MEI          (Middle East International, London)
MENA      (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)                                                                           
MKR         (Morcoccan Kingdom Radio Network, Rabat)
MM          (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT         (New York Times, New York)
PCHR      (Palestine Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PR           (Palestine Report, Jerusalem)
QY           (Qol Yisra'el Radio, Tel Aviv)
RE           (Republic of Egypt Radio, Cairo)
RJ            (Radio Jordan, Amman)
RL            (Radio Lebanon, Beirut)
RMC         (Radio Monte Carlo, Paris)
SA            (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)
SANA       (Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus)
SATN        (Syrian Arab Television Network, Damascus)
VIRI          (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran)                                                            VOA         (Voice of the Arabs, Cairo)
VOL         (Voice of Lebanon, Beirut)
WJW       (Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD)
WNC        (World News Connection [Internet], Washington, DC)
WP          (Washington Post, Washington, DC)
WT          (Washington Times, Washington, DC)
YA           (Yedi'ot Aharonot, Tel Aviv)

Chronology compiled by Michele L. Kjorlien