Chronology 16 November 1998-15 February 1999

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VOL. 28

1998/99

No. 3
P. 162
Chronology
Chronology 16 November 1998-15 February 1999
ABSTRACT

16 NOVEMBER
    As the Knesset begins debate on ratification of the 10/23 Wye River Memorandum, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu suspends the agmt.'s implementation, saying he will not carry out the 1st of 3 stages of further redeployment (FRD) required by Wye until PA head Yasir Arafat retracts his 11/15 threat to stage an uprising against Israel if Palestinian access to Jerusalem is blocked. (MM 11/16; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 11/17; WJW 11/19)
    U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross meets with Arafat in Jericho. (ITV 11/16 in WNC 11/18; WT 11/17)
    In Gaza, Israel, Jordan, the U.S. meet to discuss the Irbid industrial zone project. (Petra-JNA 11/17 in WNC 11/19; JT 11/23 in WNC 11/24; Petra-JNA 11/23 in WNC 11/30) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Cairo, Russia, Egypt hold high-level experts mtg. on defense cooperation. Russian DM hopes deepening military ties "will become an important factor of peace and stability in the Middle East." (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, MENA 11/16 in WNC 11/17; MENA 11/17 in WNC 11/18)
    Citing Israeli FM Ariel Sharon's 11/15 call for settlers to "grab" disputed West Bank land, 30 settlers fr. Keddumim set up "presettlement" on nearby hilltop. (MM 11/17; MA 11/17 in WNC 11/18; WT 11/19)
    Palestinians in al-Khader protest confiscation of land for bypass road. (CSM 11/17)
    Israel Defense Force (IDF) convoy triggers roadside bomb in s. Lebanon, killing 3 soldiers, wounding 4. Hizballah claims responsibility. (AFP, ITV, RL 11/16 in WNC 11/17; MM, WP 11/17; WT 11/18; MEI 11/27; JP 11/30)

17 NOVEMBER
    Knesset ratifies the Wye agmt. Israeli cabinet postpones mtg. on approval of 1st stage of FRD to 11/19, pending PA moves to collect illegal weapons, clamp down on incitement. To appease Netanyahu (see 11/16), Arafat reiterates PA adherence to the peace process. Israeli officials meet with settlers to go over FRD maps. (MM 11/17; MA 11/17 in WNC 11/18; ITV 11/17 in WNC 11/19; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/18; WJW 11/19; PR 11/20; MEI 11/27)
    UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq. (CSM 11/18) (see 11/15)
    With government permission, Jordanian women's groups, opposition parties stage small rally outside the Iraqi emb. in Amman to express solidarity with Baghdad in the face of U.S. threats of attack. Jordan's Interior Min. says it would ban pro-Iraq demonstrations if the U.S. actually strikes. (JT 11/18 in WNC 11/19) (see 11/15)

18 NOVEMBER
    Israeli FM Sharon, PA chief negotiator Mahmud Abbas meet at the Israeli FMin. in Jerusalem to discuss final status talks, progress of the PA-Israeli comms. on the economy, Gaza port, FRDs. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/19; ITV 11/20 in WNC 11/23)
    Israel, the PA finalize procedures for Gaza airport. (ITV 11/19 in WNC 11/20; MM 11/24)
    The PA runs text of the 5/98 Palestinian Weapons Control Law in Palestinian local newspapers. (MEI, PR 11/27)
    In Amman, Palestinian Council (PC) Speaker Ahmad Qurai' meets with Crown Prince Hassan to discuss final status negotiations. (Petra-JNA 11/18 in WNC 11/19, 11/20)
    Russia says that it is prepared to sell Syria hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military hardware; expects bilateral arms trade to be worth $5 b. over the next 5 yrs. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS 11/18 in WNC 11/19; al-Quds al-Arabi 12/2 in WNC 12/7; ITV 12/24 in WNC 12/28)
    Israeli PM Netanyahu admits that 2 Israelis arrested in Cyprus 11/7 are Mossad agents but says that Israel was not spying on Cyprus or on Turkey's behalf. (ITV 11/18 in WNC 11/20)
    IDF evicts settlers fr. hilltop nr. Keddumim, but takes no action against settlers who set up 6 mobile homes on hill nr. Halamish. (WT 11/19) (see 11/17)

19 NOVEMBER
    House of Representatives opens hearings on impeachment of Pres. Bill Clinton. (NYT, WP 11/20)
    Israeli cabinet approves 1st stage of FRD for 11/20. Maps are presented to the PA for the 1st time. (MM 11/19; IDF Radio, ITV 11/19 in WNC 11/20; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/20; YA 11/20 in WNC 11/23; JP 11/30) (see Peace Monitor)
   U.S. agrees to give Israel $1.2 b. to cover cost of FRD pending approval of Congress. The PA is also hoping for a $400m. U.S. economic aid package. (YA 11/19 in WNC 11/20; HA [Internet] 11/20; WP 11/24)
    PA rejects Israel's list, presented today, of 250 Palestinians to be freed in the 1st of 3 Israeli prisoner releases agreed to at Wye; says inclusion of 150 common criminals and only 100 political prisoners is a violation of the spirit of Wye. U.S. urges the parties to work the problem out btwn. themselves. (QY 11/19 in WNC 11/20; NYT, WP 11/20; WP 11/22; CSM, WT 11/23)
    PA broadcasts a decree against anti-Israeli incitement. (MM 11/19; NYT, WP 11/20; LAW 11/24; MEI 11/27)
    Israel tells the Christian community that a second entrance in the wall of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in East Jerusalem must be made to accommodate the many pilgrims expected to come to Jerusalem in 2000. Greek Orthodox Archbishop Christobulos says all Christian groups must approve before work can begin. (MA 11/20 in WNC 11/23)
    1 Hizballah mbr. is killed in clash with IDF in s. Lebanon. (VOL 11/23 in WNC 11/24)

20 NOVEMBER
    Israel carries out 1st stage of FRD. (MM 11/20; YA 11/20 in WNC 11/23; NYT, WT 11/21; RE 11/22 in WNC 11/24; MEI, PR 11/27) (see Peace Monitor)
    Israel releases the 1st 250 Palestinian prisoners. (MM 11/20; NYT, WP 11/21; AFP, RE, YA 11/22 in WNC 11/24; YA 11/26 in WNC 11/30; MEI 11/27) (see Peace Monitor)
    Israel, Britain sign a 10-yr. military cooperation pact aimed at facilitating joint research in defense technologies, especially naval high-tech, unmanned aerial vehicles. (JP 11/30)
    Italian court rejects Turkey's request for extradition of Kurdish separatist leader Abdallah Ocalan, citing law that bars extradition to country that has the death penalty. Ocalan, head of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), is freed fr. custody but ordered to stay in Rome. Turkey orders boycott of Italian goods in protest. (RAI Televideo Teletex 11/20 in WNC 11/23; NYT 11/21; ATL 11/21 in WNC 11/24; WP, WT 11/22; MM 11/23; NYT 11/24; CSM 11/30) (see 11/12)

21 NOVEMBER
    Body of a Palestinian woman is found nr. Neve Daniel settlement nr. Hebron. PA claims she was murdered by settlers. (ITV 11/23 in WNC 11/30)

22 NOVEMBER
    In Washington, Israeli Finance M Yaakov Neeman, DMin. Dir. Gen. Ilan Biran meet with senior U.S. officials to assure them that the $1.2-b. aid that the U.S. plans to give Israel will not be used directly for settlements. An Israeli-U.S. team is formed to complete details of the aid package within 1 mo. for submission to Congress in mid-1/99. (Globes [Internet] 11/22; MM 11/23; Globes [Internet] 11/23 in WNC 11/30) (see 11/19)
    Israel, Jordan discuss bilateral trade issues, Israeli obstacles to Jordanian trade with the occupied territories. (JT 11/23 in WNC 11/30) (see Peace Monitor)
    Jordan, Syria open 2-day mtg. on Yarmuk River water. (JT, Petra-JNA 11/23 in WNC 11/24; JT 11/24, 11/26 in WNC 11/30; WT 11/25) (see Peace Monitor)
    Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails begin hunger strike to protest Israel's release of criminals, rather than political prisoners. (CSM 11/23; MM 11/25; IDF Radio 11/26 in WNC 11/30; MEI 12/11) (see 11/20)
    Israel approves construction of high-tech industrial center, engineering school at the Kiryat Arba settlement. (AFP [Internet] 11/22; PR 11/27)
    Jewish settlers occupy abandoned rail station at Sebastia in the West Bank; demand government permission to open a religious seminary, museum there. Settlers also occupy hilltops nr. Bethlehem, nr. Nablus. (ITV 11/22 in WNC 11/24)
    IDF demolishes Palestinian home in Taybeh nr. Hebron. (PR 1/8)
    A wk. after avoiding U.S. airstrikes by resuming cooperation with the UN (see 11/15), Iraq rebuffs a UN request for documents. U.S. warns that withholding documents alone could trigger airstrikes. (NYT 11/23; WT 11/24)
    With government permission, Jordanian women's groups, opposition parties stage 2d pro-Iraq rally in Amman. (JT 11/23 in WNC 11/24) (see 11/17)

23 NOVEMBER
    In Amman, Israeli FM Sharon, Trade M Natan Sharansky meet with Crown Prince Hassan; sign agmt. forming bilateral mechanism for implementing several Jordan Valley projects. (ITV, JT, RJ 11/23 in WNC 11/24; JTV, Petra-JNA 11/23, JT 11/24 in WNC 11/30; MM 11/24) (see Peace Monitor)
    Israel, the PA hold talks on selecting the remaining 500 Palestinian prisoners to be released under the Wye agmt., but reach impasse. (ITV 11/23 in WNC 11/24)
    In Gaza, 1,500 Palestinians demonstrate against the PA for failing to secure Israel's release of political prisoners, attempt to break into PA negotiator Abbas's home but are pushed back by PA police. (JT [Internet] 11/24; MM 11/25; MEI 12/11)
    Jewish settlers seize West Bank hilltop nr. Elon Moreh. IDF declares 2d hill nr. Itamar occupied by settlers 11/22 a closed military zone, orders settlers to leave. (CSM, JP [Internet] 11/24)
    U.S. Amb. to Qatar Paul Theros says that the U.S. is building its largest military "warehouse" in Qatar, prepositioning equipment but not troops. (WT 11/24)
    In s. Lebanon, 3 civilians are injured, houses are damaged by IDF shelling. 1 IDF soldier is killed, 2 South Lebanon Army (SLA) soldiers are wounded in Hizballah attack. (RL 11/23 in WNC 11/24; MA 11/24 in WNC 11/30)

24 NOVEMBER
    Gaza's Yasir Arafat International Airport opens. (MM 11/24; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/25; MEI, PR 11/27; al-Aswaq 11/30 in WNC 12/4; JP 12/7) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Gaza, Jordan, the PA hold economic talks, sign several protocols to promote cooperation. (Petra-JNA 11/24 in WNC 11/30)
    On a visit to 3 West Bank settlements, Netanyahu promises settlement expansion but cautions that "this issue must be coordinated behind closed doors with the army and not in front of the media"; says, "The dry days are over. Our policy is to grow and expand." (MM 11/24)
    Mossad chief of operations resigns over the arrest of 2 agents in Cyprus. (NYT, WP 11/25; JP 11/30, 12/7) (see 11/18)
    New Lebanese pres. Emile Lahoud is sworn in. (VOL 11/24 in WNC 11/30; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/25)
    In London, U.S. Asst. Secy. of State Martin Indyk meets with 16 Iraqi opposition leaders; nominates new dissident leader Adnan al-Pachachi, a fmr. FM, to form a united Iraqi opposition movement. (WT 11/26) (see 10/31)
    OPEC producers hold emergency mtg. in Vienna to discuss sharp drop in oil prices. (WT 11/25, 12/17)

25 NOVEMBER
    In Paris, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, Arafat discuss Wye implementation. (MENA 11/25 in WNC 11/30)
    To cement his majority in the Knesset and cabinet, PM Netanyahu strikes tentative deal with Gesher party head David Levy, who resigned as FM in 1/98 after denouncing Netanyahu's government, to rejoin the cabinet. Both Netanyahu, FM Sharon cancel trips abroad to shore up coalition. (MM 11/25; NYT, WP, WT 11/26; WT 11/27; MA 11/29, 11/30 in WNC 12/1; MM 12/4; JP 12/7)
    Government of Turkish PM Mesut Yilmaz falls in a no-confidence vote over corruption allegations. (MM, NYT, WP 11/26; MEI 12/11)
    Iranian Majles delegation visits Lebanon. (IRNA 11/25 in WNC 11/30)

26 NOVEMBER
    In Paris, Egyptian FM Musa, French FM Hubert Vedrine review French-Egyptian initiative for Arab summit on the peace process (1st raised in 5/98), Wye implementation delays, Iraq-U.S. crisis. (MENA 11/26 in WNC 11/30)
    Labor Chmn. Ehud Barak rejects offer fr. Likud PM Netanyahu to join a unity government. (WT 11/27) (see 11/25)
    Israeli Agriculture Min. reveals that in 1998 it transferred NIS 17.1 m. fr. its budget to the Zionist Federation's Settlement Dept. to built pools, yeshivas, clubs, auditoriums in; set up paramilitary programs for; absorb immigrants into Jewish settlements. (MA 11/27 in WNC 11/30)
    In s. Lebanon, 2 IDF soldiers are killed, 4 are injured by Hizballah roadside bombs, bringing to 5 the number of soldiers killed there in the past 10 days. Netanyahu agrees to review Israeli security arrangements in s. Lebanon. (MM 11/26; LPA 11/26 IDF Radio 11/27 in WNC 11/30; MM, WP, WT 11/27)

27 NOVEMBER
    PM Netanyahu cuts short a trip to Britain to brief PM Tony Blair on the Wye agmt., cancels trip to Spain as a result of death of 2 IDF soldiers in s. Lebanon 11/26; says Lebanese government is "directly responsible" for Hizballah's war on Israel. (MM 11/27; YA 11/27 in WNC 11/30; NYT, WP, WT 11/28; MEI 12/11)
    Dir. of the PM's Bureau Uri Elitzur calls on the YESHA settlers council to take any steps that encourage settlement, including initiating new West Bank encampments, because "you don't know how long this government will last and what will be the depth of the further withdrawal." (MA 11/27 in WNC 11/30)
    Jordanian government bans large pro-Iraq rally planned for today by Jordan's opposition parties. Mu'ta University administration dissolves its Islamist-dominated student council and suspends 8 students for holding demonstrations against the Wye agmt. (JT 11/28, 11/30 in WNC 12/1) (see 11/22)

28 NOVEMBER
    Palestinians demonstrating for the release of Palestinian political prisoners clash with Israeli police in East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron. 19 Palestinians are arrested, 35 injured. Demonstrations in 4 other PA-controlled towns are peaceful. (WP, WT 11/29; PR 12/4; JP 12/7; MEI 12/11)

29 NOVEMBER
    In Jericho, the Palestinian-Israeli Steering and Monitoring Comm. (PISMC) discusses disputes over prisoner release, settlement expansion, confiscation of Palestinian land for bypass roads. (NYT 11/30; MEI 12/11)

    In Washington, Arafat meets with Pres. Clinton, Commerce Secy. William Daley, Arab American business leaders. (NYT, WT 11/30)

    On the eve of the Washington donor mtg., the
Sunday Times of London reports that $20 m. in EU aid earmarked for housing projects for needy Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza has been used to build luxury apartments for Arafat supporters. (WT 11/30; PR 12/4; MEI 12/11; JP 12/14)

    PM Netanyahu convenes special cabinet session to reassess Israel's occupation of s. Lebanon amid public outcry over increasing number of IDF casualties there. (20 soldiers have been killed in s. Lebanon this year, including 7 in the past 2 wks., compared to 39 last yr.) U.S. Amb. Edward Walker warns Netanyahu against harsh retaliation against Lebanon. Lebanese pres. Lahoud says Israel is only testing the new regime, he will not submit to Israeli blackmail. (WP, WT 11/29; ITV, RL 11/29 in WNC 12/1; MM 11/30; MM, WT 12/1; MM 12/2; JP 12/7; MEI 12/11)

    In Gaza, PA police block Israeli trucks carrying building supplies to Netzarim settlement. IDF counters by blocking VIP entrance to Gaza to PA officials, while settlers block road nr. Netzarim to Palestinian traffic. (NYT 11/30)

    IDF demolishes Palestinian home in East Jerusalem. (LAW 11/30; PR 1/8)

30 NOVEMBER
    International donors conference called for under Wye is held in Washington. Donors pledge $3.2 b. in aid to the PA for the next 5 yrs. (MM, NYT 11/30; MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/1; YA 12/1 in WNC 12/2; al-Ahram 12/3 in WNC 12/4; MM, PR 12/4; MM 12/9; MEI 12/11; JP 12/14) (see Peace Monitor)
    Israel's Housing Min. approves plans for 480 new housing units in Kochav Ya'acov settlement, more than tripling the size of the West Bank enclave. (NYT, WT 12/2)
    IDF demolishes 2d Palestinian home in East Jerusalem. (LAW 12/3; PR 1/8)
    PM Netanyahu, DM Yitzhak Mordechai rules out unilateral withdrawal of IDF troops fr. s. Lebanon. (WP 12/1) (see 11/29)
    Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri says he will not form new government under Pres. Lahoud. Economists worry that losing the billionaire real estate mogul as PM will hurt the economy. Hizballah says that it will not participate in the new government since it offers no significant political change fr. the old one. (MM 11/30; MBC, RL, al-Safir, VOL 11/30 in WNC 12/1; MM, WP, WT 12/1; MM 12/2; al-Ahd 12/4 in WNC 12/14; MEI 12/11)

CHRONOLOGY SOURCE ABBREVIATIONS
AFP     (Agence France Presse, Paris)
ATL     (Anatolia, Ankara)
CSM    (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)
GIU     (Global Intelligence Update, Austin)
HA      (Ha'Aretz, Tel Aviv)
HUR    (Hurriyet, Istanbul)
IGPO   (Israeli Government Press Office, Jerusalem)
INA     (Iraq News Agency, Baghdad)
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)
MIL     (Milliyet, Ankara)
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)
VOA    (Voice of the Arabs, Cairo)
VIRI    (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran)
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