Chronology 16 August-15 November 1999

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VOL. 29


No. 2
P. 170
Chronology 16 August-15 November 1999

After a 5-hr. mtg., Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) agree to draw up a list of prisoners for negotiation in the next stage of prisoner releases required under the Wye agmt. (al-Jumhuriyya 8/17 in WNC 8/19; WT 8/18, 8/24) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Sidon, Lebanon, 2 roadside bombs explode, killing Hizballah cmdr. Ali Hassan Deeb. Hizballah blames Israel, which previously tried to assassinate Deeb in a helicopter attack on 3/30/96. (VOL 8/16 in WNC 8/17; NYT, WP 8/17; CSM, WT 8/18; MEI 8/20)

Massive earthquake strikes northwestern Turkey, leaving at least 14,000 and as many as 40,000 dead, over 33,000 injured. Greece, Israel, the U.S. are among the countries who send teams to aid in the rescue effort. (ATL 8/17 in WNC 8/18; MM 8/18; NYT, WP, WT 8/18-23; Athens News Agency 8/18 in WNC 8/19; MEI 8/20; NYT 8/28; MEI 9/3, 9/17)
    In retaliation for the assassination of a Hizballah cmdr. on 8/16, Hizballah clashes with the IDF in s. Lebanon, killing 2 IDF soldiers, wounding 7. (MM 8/17; RL, VOL 8/17 in WNC 8/18; CSM, MM, NYT, WP 8/18; MEI 8/20)

Israeli-PA talks on prisoner release collapse after 2 days of talks on how to decide which prisoners would go free. (MM 8/18; MM, NYT, WT 8/19; WT 8/24; JP 8/27)
    Israeli PM Ehud Barak's chief of staff Danny Yatom heads a delegation to Amman to discuss ways to promote peace with Jordan; delivers letter to King Abdallah, apologizing for the Mishal affair. (MA 8/19 in WNC 8/20)

IDF reopens part of Shuhada Street, the main thoroughfare in Hebron, which has been closed since Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers at al-Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994. (MM 8/19; NYT 8/20; JP 8/27)

The Paris-based al-Watan al-Arabi reports 2 sources as saying that neither Syrian pres. Hafiz al-Asad nor his son and heir-apparent, Bashar, attended the funeral of King Hassan of Morocco on 7/25 because the U.S. warned that it had evidence a coup might be staged while they were abroad. (al-Watan al-Arabi 8/20 in WNC 8/23)

In Damascus, Iran, Syria hold talks on expanding economic relations. (IRNA 8/21 in WNC 8/23)

Following a mtg. on the peace process with Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak in Alexandria, PA head Yasir Arafat calls on the U.S. to step in and help break the PA's impasse with Israel over the Wye implementation timetable. The PA is now asking Israel to complete Wye implementation by 11/30, but Israel says it cannot be completed until 2/00. (MENA 8/22 in WNC 8/23; NYT, WT 8/23; AYM 9/23 in WNC 8/26) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Cairo, Arafat opens talks with Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) leader Nayif Hawatimah on uniting Palestinian factions ahead of Israeli-PA final status talks. This is the 1st time the pair has met since Oslo was signed in 9/93. (MENA 8/22 in WNC 8/23; MM, NYT, WP 8/23; MM 8/24; al-Ahram 8/25 in WNC 8/30; Jerusalem Times 8/27 in WNC 8/31) (see Peace Monitor)
    Hizballah, the IDF clash in s. Lebanon, leaving 2 IDF soldiers wounded. (RL, VOL 8/22 in WNC 8/23; NYT, WP 8/23)

    PA chief negotiator, Local Government M Saeb Erakat, says that Israel, the PA have agreed to begin construction on Gaza port on 10/1, open a 2d safe-passage route on 1/1/00. (MM, WT 8/24; JP 9/3)
    Jordan, Israel inaugurate the new Japanese-financed Shaykh Husayn Bridge crossing in n. Jordan. (RJ 8/23 in WNC 8/24)
    In Cairo, Arafat, Hawatimah agree to set aside their differences over the Oslo process, work for a united Palestinian position in talks with Israel. (MENA 8/23 in WNC 8/24; NYT, WP, WT 8/24; MEI 9/3; al-Quds 10/14 in WNC 10/18) (see 8/22)
    Israeli military delegation leaves for Ankara to discuss Turkey's aid needs in light of the recent earthquake, its ability to pay for defense deals with Israel, which are valued at 100s of millions of dollars. (MA 8/23 in WNC 8/24)

After another round of Israeli-PA talks on the Wye timetable, PA chief negotiator Erakat says that an agmt. on implementation is near, that there is "suddenly an atmosphere of trust between the two sides." (WP 8/25; YA 8/27 in WNC 9/1)
    The PA suspends talks with Israel on the Wye prisoner release, citing lack of progress. Hisham ‘Abd al-Raziq, head of the PA team, calls the mtgs. "a waste of time." (NYT 8/25; AYM 8/25 in WNC 8/27)
    Israel says that PM Barak has phoned European leaders to urge them to aid Turkey's earthquake victims out of concern that militant Islamists might seek to gain political advantage fr. the Turkish government's inept response to the crisis. Islamic groups have worked intensively to help victims fr. the 1st day of the disaster, whereas the Turkish military did not join rescue efforts until several days after the quake, and the government has also prevented Islamic humanitarian groups from providing relief. Israel also announces plans to assemble 1000 prefabricated housing units for Turkish quake victims. (ATL 8/24 in WNC 8/25; WT 8/25; NYT, WP, WT 8/27; WP 8/29; ATL 8/31 in WNC 9/1)
    Jordanian Artists Association expels one of its senior mbrs., Nadir Omran, for "normalizing" relations with Israel by inviting Israeli artists to participate in a theater festival earlier this yr. (JT 8/26 in WNC 8/27)
    In s. Lebanon, 5 South Lebanon Army (SLA) mbrs. are wounded in a clash with Hizballah. (VOL 8/24 in WNC 8/25)

PA chief negotiator Erakat delays his trip to Washington to meet with U.S. Secy. of State Madeleine Albright, originally set for 8/26, until 8/27, saying that the PA, Israel appear close to a compromise on the Wye implementation timetable. (MM, NYT 8/26)
    In Amman, Jordan, Israel hold technical comm. mtg. to discuss ways of providing Jordan with water directly fr. the Yarmuk River to ease drought effects. (JT 8/25 in WNC 8/27)
    Setting aside objections of religious parties, Israeli High Court orders giant turbine components to be moved on the Sabbath to avoid traffic problems. United Torah Judaism threatens to withdraw fr. Barak's ruling coalition in protest. (MM, NYT, WP 8/26; NYT 8/27) (see 8/15)
    A group of 13 American scholars working in Iran is ordered to pull out of Tehran 10 days ahead of schedule. Under orders fr. "the highest authorities in Washington," they are ordered to leave on the 1st plane available and are instructed not to discuss their travel plans with Iranian friends, contact anyone to cancel appointments, send e-mail, or call home. U.S. officials refuse to comment, saying the situation is "very sensitive." (WP 9/3, 9/4)
    American Arab organizations issue a report documenting a pattern of cases in which the State Dept. did the bare minimum for Arab Americans detained by Israel, but rushed to the aid of non-Arab Americans detained by other foreign governments. (WP 8/26; MM 8/27; al-Riyad 8/28 in WNC 9/1)
    The separatist group Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) begins to pull out of Turkey a wk. ahead of schedule. Over the past yr., the PKK has suffered major military defeats at the hands of the Turkish military, lost Syria as its patron, suffered the arrest of its leader, Abdallah Ocalan. On 8/5, the party agreed to heed the call of Ocalan, who has been sentenced to death by Turkey, to end its 14-yr. insurgency for self-rule, take its cause to the political arena. (WP 8/26)

Hamas, PA officials say that PA police have detained 40 Hamas activists in Gaza, 50 in the West Bank in the last few days on charges of plotting attacks on Israelis. (HJ, SA 8/26 in WNC 8/30; NYT, WP 8/27)
    PA military court sentences to death Palestinian Ayman Abu Saada for fatally injuring PA police lt. Hani Abu Zayna during a confrontation btwn. 2 families on 8/23; Abu Zayna died on 8/25. Human rights groups denounce the summary trial, capital sentence. (PCHR 8/27; AYM 8/27 in WNC 8/30; LAW 8/28; JP, MEI 9/3)
    Lebanese military court sentences 29 fmr. SLA mbrs. to prison terms of 6 mos. to 2 yrs. for collaboration with Israel. 83 of the 200 SLA mbrs. who surrendered when the SLA withdrew fr. Jazzin in 5-6/99 have been convicted. (NYT 8/27)
    Amal attacks an SLA patrol in s. Lebanon, wounding 2 SLA mbrs. (RL, VOL 8/26 in WNC 8/27)

PA chief negotiators Erakat, Mahmud Abbas make 1-day trip to Washington to hold talks with Secy. of State Albright on the Wye timetable impasse with Israel, Albright's upcoming trip to the region. Erakat asks the U.S. to intervene with Israel regarding the Wye prisoner release, the last point of disagreement blocking an agmt. on a renegotiated Wye implementation schedule. (WT 8/29)
    United Torah Judaism agrees not to resign from Barak's coalition over transportation of turbine components on the Sabbath after the government arranges for a non-Jew to drive the truck. (MM 8/27; NYT 8/28) (see 8/25)

PA chief negotiator Erakat returns fr. Washington, resumes talks with Israeli chief negotiator Gilead Sher on the prisoner release issue. (WT 8/29; JP 9/3)

    A Barak aide meets with Arafat in an "urgent" attempt to reach a Wye implementation agmt. before U.S. Secy. of State Albright arrives on 9/1. Barak warns that if Israeli, PA teams fail to close a deal "within hours," he could carry out the Wye agmt. unilaterally, as he sees fit. Barak's office also issues a statement, saying that the PA is not providing "satisfactory answers" on the further redeployment (FRD) issue, prisoner release. (WP 8/30; CSM, NYT 8/31; MEI 9/3)
    In Amman, Jordan, PA discuss transportation of goods btwn. Jordan, the West Bank. (RJ 8/29 in WNC 8/30)
    2 bombs explode nr. Fatah offices in ‘Ayn al-Hilwa refugee camp in s. Lebanon, wounding 3 Palestinians. A 3d bomb is discovered, disarmed. No one takes responsibility. (RL 8/29 in WNC 8/30)
    In s. Lebanon, 4 Lebanese civilians are wounded, several homes are damaged by IDF shelling. (VOL 8/29 in WNC 8/30)

In Jerusalem, Erakat, Sher meet again on Wye implementation. (NYT 8/31; QA 8/31 in WNC 9/3; NYT, WT 9/1)
    Jordanian security forces arrest 12 Hamas activists, close Hamas's Amman offices. (MBC 8/30 in WNC 8/31; MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/31; MM, WP, WT 9/1; al-Ra'i 9/2 in WNC 9/3; JP 9/3; MEI 10/1)
    2 Israelis are murdered by unknown assailants nr. Megiddo forrest, a nature reserve that straddles Israel, the West Bank. (MM, WP 8/31; MM, NYT 9/1; MA 9/1 in WNC 9/2)
    The U.S. gives Jordan $50 m. in additional economic aid to help the kingdom reduce its debt burden, support its balance of payments. (NYT, WT 8/31)
    Israeli military court finds fmr. PA policeman Ammar al-Zibben guilty of helping to carry out 2 Hamas suicide bombings that killed 26 people. Sentencing is deferred. (NYT 8/31)

Erakat, Sher continue talks on Wye implementations. (MM 8/31; WT 9/1)
    Arafat goes to Cairo to discuss with Pres. Mubarak the outstanding issues blocking an agmt. with Israel on Wye implementation. (NYT 8/31; MENA 8/31 in WNC 9/1)
    Jordan issues arrest warrants for 4 senior Hamas officials (Ibrahim Ghawshah, Musa Abu Marzuq, Khalid Mishal, Muhammad Nazzal). Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin condemns Jordan's crackdown on Hamas as appeasement of Israel, the U.S. in advance of Secy. of State Albright's visit to the region. (AFP 8/31 in WNC 9/1; WP, WT 9/1; JT, SA 9/1 in WNC 9/2; Tehran Times 9/1, AFP, QA 9/2 in WNC 9/3; AYM 9/1, 9/2, 9/4, al-Sabil 9/7 in WNC 9/8; MM 9/2; MEI 9/3; QA, SA 9/3 in WNC 9/7; MM 9/6; QA 9/8 in WNC 9/9; WJW 9/9; SA 9/10 in WNC 9/13)
    PLO Exec. Comm. convenes national unity mtg. in Ramallah, attended by reps. of the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), DFLP, Fatah, FIDA, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Hamas, Islamic Jihad do not attend. PFLP urges PA to halt negotiations with Israel. DFLP recommends that all groups agree on "red lines" that the PA would not cross in final status negotiations. (AYM 9/1 in WNC 9/8; al-Istiqlal 9/2 in WNC 9/9; al-Ra'i 9/5 in WNC 9/7)
    In s. Lebanon, Amal shells an SLA post, wounding 1 SLA mbr. (RL 8/31 in WNC 9/1)

AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)
ATL (Anatolia, Ankara)
AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)
CSM (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)
DUS (al-Dustur, Amman)
GIU (Global Intelligence Update, Austin)
HA (Ha'Aretz, Tel Aviv)
HJ (al-Hayat al-Jadida, Gaza)
HUR (Hurriyet, Istanbul)
IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran) JP (Jerusalem Post International Edition, Jerusalem)
JT (Jordan Times, Amman)
JTV (Jordan Television Network, Amman)
JUM (al-Jumhuriyya, Cairo)
LAW (Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem)
LPA (London Press Association, London)
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)
MKR (Moroccan Kingdom Radio Network, Rabat)
MM (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT (New York Times, New York)
PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
QA (al-Quds al-Arabi, London)
QY (Qol Yisra'el Radio, Tel Aviv)
RE (Republic of Egypt Radio, Cairo)
RFI (Radio France Internationale, Paris)
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)
TT (Tehran Times, Tehran)
VIRI (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran)
VOA (Voice of the Arabs, Cairo)
VOL (Voice of Lebanon, Beirut)
WA (al-Watan al-Arabi, Paris)
WJW (Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD)
WNC (World News Connection [Internet], Washington, DC)
WP (Washington Post, Washington, DC)
WT (Washington Times, Washington, DC)
XIN (Xinhua-New China News Agency, Beijing)
YA (Yedi'ot Aharonot, Tel Aviv)

Chronology compiled by Michele L. Kjorlien