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  • March 2, 1998

    In Jerusalem, PM Netanyahu hosts mbrs. of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO); calls on them to fend off expected U.S. government initiative to...

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  • February 23, 1998

    Pres. Clinton accepts in principle the new terms of the agmt. reached btwn. the UN and Iraq, but reserves "the unilateral right to respond" if Iraq does not adhere to requirements. U....

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  • February 22, 1998

    UN Secy. Gen. Annan reaches agmt. (signed 2/23) with Iraq on resuming unrestricted inspections under which UN Special Committee (UNSCOM) teams of technical experts will be accompanied...

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  • February 21, 1998

    Jordanians in Ma'an continue to demonstrate against possible U.S.-British attack on Iraq, clash with troops; 20 are injured, 12 are arrested. Government imposes curfew, cuts phone...

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  • February 20, 1998

    UN approves request by Secy. Gen. Annan to raise the amount of oil Iraq is allowed to sell under the oil-for-food agreement fr. $2 b. to $5.2 b. every six mos. (NYT 2/21, 2/22) (see 2...

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  • February 19, 1998

    In last effort to achieve a "diplomatic solution" preventing a U.S. airstrike, UN Secy. Gen. Annan leaves for Baghdad for weekend of talks with Iraqi officials. U.S. warns that it...

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  • February 17, 1998

    Saying that "force can never be the first answer, but sometimes it's the only answer," U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton warns Iraq that he is prepared to order a campaign of airstrikes to "...

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  • February 16, 1998

    Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mahmud Abbas, adviser to PA head Yasir Arafat, and Palestinian Council (PC) Speaker Ahmad Qurai`. In separate mtg., Arafat meets with...

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  • February 13, 1998

    In Washington, Israeli Trade M Sharansky meets with U.S. VP Al Gore, asks Gore what can be done to commute Pollard's sentence for spying (see 12/28), raises concern over Russian aid to Iran. (IDF...

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  • February 12, 1998

    Coinciding with the opening of Israel's 50th anniversary celebrations, Arafat threatens to "cross out" the peace agreements, declare a Palestinian state next yr. if the deadlock in negotiations...

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  • February 11, 1998

    EU Pres. Santer arrives in Damascus for 2 days of talks on the peace process, meets with Syrian pres. Asad. (SANA 2/11 in WNC 2/12; SATN 2/11 in WNC 2/15)

    IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian homes...

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  • February 10, 1998

    In Washington, Israeli, PA teams hold separate follow-up talks on the peace process with State Dept. Dep. Special Coordinator for Arab-Israeli Negotiations Aaron Miller, special envoy Ross. No...

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  • February 9, 1998

    In Jinin, 1,000-2,000 Palestinians march in support of Iraq. 150 Palestinians do the same in Ramallah. (NYT, WP 2/10)

    Turkey moves 7,000 troops into n. Iraq. (MM 2/9)

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  • February 8, 1998

    EU Pres. Santer discusses peace process with PM Netanyahu. (ITV 2/8 in WNC 2/11)

    Almost 1-yr. after the 3/13/97 shooting of 14 Israeli school girls by a Jordanian solider, Jordan's King...

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  • February 7, 1998

    Lebanon, Syria agree to reduce customs by 25%/yr. beginning 1/1/99, abolishing all customs tariffs in 2002. (SATN, VOL 2/7 in WNC 2/11)

    In Bethlehem, 300 Palestinians march in support of...

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  • February 5, 1998

    In Cairo, Egyptian FM Musa, PA Planning M Shaath discuss peace process, Mubarak mtg. with Albright 2/3. (MENA 2/5 in WNC 2/6)

    Turkey's Gen. Kivrikoglu meets with DM Mordechai. (IGPO 2/5)...

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  • February 4, 1998

    EU special envoy Moratinos discusses peace process with PA Local Government M Erakat. (al-Ra'i 2/5 in WNC 2/11)

    Arafat arrives in Spain for 2-day visit, to be followed by trip to the...

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  • February 3, 1998

    Secy. of State Albright travels to Bahrain, Egypt to discuss Iraq issue. Bahrain agrees to allow U.S. forces to stage strikes fr. its air bases if necessary. Both Bahrain, Egypt call for...

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  • February 2, 1998

    In Cairo, Mubarak adviser Baz is briefed by Israeli Cabinet Secy. Nave, Netanyahu adviser Uzi Arad on Netanyahu's mtg. with Secy. of State Albright and, separately, by PA Local Government M Erakat...

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  • February 1, 1998

    Secy. of State Albright meets with Arafat to follow up on 1/22 mtg. with Clinton, urges him to consider the U.S. FRD proposal. After mtg., Albright announces that Arafat, Netanyahu have agreed to...

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  • January 31, 1998

    After mtg. with Secy. of State Albright, UK FM Robin Cook says Britain is urging the UNSC to find Iraq in violation of its obligations to the council, saying such a res. would provide legal,...

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  • January 30, 1998

    Palestinian prisoner, Nidal Abu Srour, dies fr. injuries received while in Israeli custody at the Russian Compound jail in Jerusalem. He was arrested without charge 1/16. Death sparks clash btwn....

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  • January 29, 1998

    Israeli ministerial team on FRD meets to prepare response to U.S. FRD proposal (see 1/26) for upcoming Netanyahu-Albright mtg. 1/31. (IDF Radio 1/29 in WNC 2/2; MM 1/30)

    Israel, U.S....

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  • January 28, 1998

    Secy. of State Albright leaves for tour of Europe and the Middle East to build support for U.S. military attack on Iraq if it does not comply with UN inspections. State Dept. says that U.S....

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  • January 22, 1998

    In Washington, Clinton meets with Arafat, encourages him to accept U.S. FRD proposal (see 1/20). Arafat refuses, saying that he expects Israel to hand over 91% of the est Bank before the final...

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  • January 19, 1998

    PM Netanyahu arrives in Washington, holds separate mtgs. with American Jewish groups, Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Moral Majority leader Jerry...

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  • January 18, 1998

    Israeli cabinet decides not to set a figure for the percentage of land to be included in the next FRD before PM Netanyahu's visit to Washington. (MM, NYT, WT 1/19)

    At the close of an...

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  • January 13, 1998

    In preparation for Netanyahu's mtg. with Clinton 1/20, the Israel cabinet agrees not to carry out any FRD until the PA meets 12-page list of conditions (see 1/4), including extraditing PA...

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  • January 11, 1998

    French FM Vedrine arrives in Lebanon to discuss the Lebanese-Israeli track of the peace process, Israeli statements regarding UN Res. 425 (see 1/2); calls for unconditional Israeli withdrawal fr....

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  • January 6, 1998

    Israeli ministerial team on FRD meets again, without Levy. (MM 1/6) (see 1/4)

    U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross arrives in the Middle East, meets separately with Arafat, Netanyahu to prepare...

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In Jerusalem, PM Netanyahu hosts mbrs. of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO); calls on them to fend off expected U.S. government initiative to press Israel for an FRD. (MM 3/3; WT 3/4; WJW 3/12; MM 3/18) (see 2/28)

UNSC unanimously approves 2/22 agmt., warning Iraq it will face "the severest consequences" if it breaks the agmt. China, France, Russia refuse to include explicit threat of force. Council settles for deliberately ambiguous language. U.S. officials stress that resolution does not prohibit an attack. (CSM, MM, NYT, WP 3/3; MM 3/4)

At close of 2-day mtg., Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan express support for construction of a "Eurasian Energy Corridor" pipeline linking Baku, Azerbaijan, with Ceyhan, Turkey. (ITAR-TASS 3/2 in WNC 3/5; Interfax 3/13 in WNC 3/17) (see 12/28/97)

Sheinbein's atty. accepts Israeli judge's 2/25 proposal, but Maryland state atty. says it would consider deal only if Sheinbein agrees to plead guilty. State Dept. says it might agree if it had some control over sentencing. (WP 3/2, 3/5)

Pres. Clinton accepts in principle the new terms of the agmt. reached btwn. the UN and Iraq, but reserves "the unilateral right to respond" if Iraq does not adhere to requirements. U.S. will maintain current level of forces in the region indefinitely. Although Joint Chiefs chmn. Gen. Henry Shelton says the military is pleased "to see the cup pass. . . . We had a tough time seeing where this thing was going to take us." Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), who has led the call in Congress for a military overthrow of Saddam Hussein, accuses Clinton of having "subcontracted" U.S. foreign policy to the UN. (MM 2/23; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 2/24; JT 2/24 in WNC 2/26; WT 2/25; NYT, WT 3/2)

PM Netanyahu proposes Israel, the PA hold Camp David-style summit under U.S. auspices to discuss "core issues" in the stalled peace process. (WT 2/24; La Libre [Brussels] 2/25 in WNC 3/3)

PISMC cochairs meet in Jericho. (IGPO 2/23; WJW 2/26; PR 3/6) (see 2/18)

Federal judge in Manhattan jails Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a Palestinian in the U.S. on a student visa, for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury investigating Hamas fundraising in the U.S. No further information is available as all documents in the case are sealed. (NYT 4/18)

1 SLA mbr. is injured in a clash with Hizballah in s. Lebanon. (IDF Radio 2/23 in WNC 2/26)

UN Secy. Gen. Annan reaches agmt. (signed 2/23) with Iraq on resuming unrestricted inspections under which UN Special Committee (UNSCOM) teams of technical experts will be accompanied by senior diplomats appointed by Annan to act as observers. The UNSC must approve the agmt. U.S. expresses cautious optimism. (RJ 2/22, ITV, MENA, RJ 2/23, al-Ahram, al-Ra'i, RL 2/24 in WNC 2/26; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/23; Le Soir [Brussels] 2/25 in WNC 3/3; MEI, PR 2/27)

Violent clashes continue in Ma'an, Jordan, for 3d straight day. (JTV, MBC, RJ 2/22, JT, JTV, RJ 2/23 in WNC 2/26; MM, WP, WT 2/23; WP 2/26; MEI 2/27) (see 2/21)

In Cairo, 15,000 students fr. `Ayn Shams, Cairo university demonstrate against U.S. policy toward Iraq. (MENA, RMC 2/22 in WNC 2/26)

3 Palestinians are injured when IDF breaks up "pro-Iraq" demonstration in Birzeit. Another protest is held at al-Najah University in Nablus. (ITV 2/22 in WNC 2/26; PR 2/27)

Jordan arrests 3 Jordanians for plotting attacks on Israeli targets, possession of explosives. (SA 2/23 in WNC 2/26)

Jordanians in Ma'an continue to demonstrate against possible U.S.-British attack on Iraq, clash with troops; 20 are injured, 12 are arrested. Government imposes curfew, cuts phone service to town. Soldiers go house-to-house searching for arms, patrol streets. (MBC 2/20 in WNC 2/24; al-Dustur, JTV, RMC 2/21 in WNC 2/26; MM, WP, WT 2/23; MEI 2/27) (see 2/20)

1,000 Palestinians in Dheisheh, Aida refugee camps take part in demonstration organized by Fatah to protest threats to attack Iraq. Over the weekend, smaller demonstrations are held in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Khan Yunis. (MEI, PR 2/27)

UN approves request by Secy. Gen. Annan to raise the amount of oil Iraq is allowed to sell under the oil-for-food agreement fr. $2 b. to $5.2 b. every six mos. (NYT 2/21, 2/22) (see 2/2)

State Dept. advises U.S. dependents, nonemergency personnel to leave Israel, Kuwait in anticipation of strike on Iraq. (WT 2/21)

In Ma'an, Jordan, march led by opposition leader Laith Shubailat to protest U.S. position on Iraq turns violent, with marchers setting fire to cars, breaking shop windows, firing guns at police. Police kill 1 protester, injure 3, arrest Shubailat for inciting a riot. (RJ, RMC, SANA 2/20 in WNC 2/24; WT 2/21; WP 2/23; MEI 2/27)

In last effort to achieve a "diplomatic solution" preventing a U.S. airstrike, UN Secy. Gen. Annan leaves for Baghdad for weekend of talks with Iraqi officials. U.S. warns that it will challenge any agmt. that does not allow unrestricted access to all Iraqi sites, including 8 "presidential palaces," which Iraqi pres. Saddam Hussein has deemed off-limits to inspectors as symbols of national sovereignty. (CSM, MM, WP, WT 2/19; MM 2/20)

Pres. Clinton calls on the UN to set a deadline for Iraqi compliance; orders VP Al Gore, Defense Secy. Cohen to cancel trip to South Africa set to begin 2/23 to keep them in Washington. (NYT, WT 2/20)

Secy. of State Albright travels to Tennessee State University to give 2d televised briefing on Iraq to some 200 hand-picked honors students, coached by the school's administration to "give the opposite impression that was given at Ohio State" 2/18. Before Albright arrives, campus security removes all demonstrators fr. camera view. The secy. then heads to University of South Carolina for 3d, similarly controlled briefing. (NYT, WP 2/20)

UN begins evacuating staff fr. Iraq. All personnel should be out of the country by 2/21. (WP 2/19)

U.S. sends 10s of Patriot missiles to Israel as part of an "emergency aid" package. (MM 2/19; YA 2/19 in WNC 2/21)

Opponents of military action against Iraq stage demonstrations outside the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Belarus, British PM Tony Blair's residence in London. Palestinians hold similar demonstrations in Dura, Bayt `Umar. (RE 2/19 in WNC 2/24; WT 2/20; PR 2/27)

Jordanian "popular delegation" heads to Baghdad to show solidarity with the Iraqi people. Reps. fr. all Jordanian political parties and professional organizations and fr. each governorate have agreed to make staggered trips to Baghdad over the next wk. (al-Dustur 2/19 in WNC 2/24)

Swiss police catch 5 Mossad agents in the process of installing a wiretap in a "foreigner's" house in Bern. For unknown reasons, 4 agents are released, only 1 is detained. No mention of the incident is made public. (ITV 2/25 in WNC 3/3; MM, NYT, WT 2/26; MM, NYT, WT 2/27; WT 3/16)

Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin arrives in Egypt to undergo surgery for bone infection. (MENA 2/19 in WNC 2/24; WP 2/20)

Saying that "force can never be the first answer, but sometimes it's the only answer," U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton warns Iraq that he is prepared to order a campaign of airstrikes to "seriously diminish" Iraqi military capability if it does not submit to unfettered UN arms inspections. (NYT, WP, WT 2/18)

Israeli Infrastructures M Ariel Sharon discusses further redeployment (FRD) proposals with Arafat advisers Ahmad Qurai`, Mahmud Abbas. (YA 2/18 in WNC 2/21; IGPO 2/19; MA 2/24 in WNC 2/26; PR 3/6) (see 2/16)

In Bethlehem, 100s of Palestinians hold pro-Iraq, anti-U.S. march. PA police prevent them fr. reaching an IDF roadblock. (WP 2/18)

Settlers at Kiryat Arba nr. Hebron stone Palestinian car passing by the settlement, injuring the driver. (PR 2/27)

Nr. Me'a Sherim settlement in the West Bank, a Palestinian youth is stabbed, lightly wounded by unidentified assailant. (PR 2/27)

Lebanese civilian is injured during IDF shelling of Hizballah positions. (RL 2/17 in WNC 2/21; al-Safir 2/20 in WNC 2/24)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mahmud Abbas, adviser to PA head Yasir Arafat, and Palestinian Council (PC) Speaker Ahmad Qurai`. In separate mtg., Arafat meets with Netanyahu adviser Yitzhak Molho. (QY, YA 2/17, YA 2/18 in WNC 2/21; IGPO 2/18)

Israel's Ciechanover Comm., charged with investigating Mossad's attempted assassination of Hamas mbr. Khalid Mishal in Amman 9/25/97, reports its findings to PM Netanyahu. (MM, WP, WT 2/16; ITV 2/16, JT 2/17 in WNC 2/21; CSM, MM, NYT, WP 2/17; IGPO 2/17 in WNC 2/24; NYT 2/18; WJW 2/19; JP 2/21)

Jordan announces arrest of 5 Hizballah mbrs. who infiltrated fr. Syria, allegedly to carry out attacks on Israeli, U.S. targets in Amman. (MM 2/17)

PA police in Bethlehem force closure of Shepherds Television station for airing report on pro-Iraqi demonstrations in West Bank. (LAW 2/19; NYT 2/20; IGPO 3/1) (see 2/14)

Israeli, Palestinian activists hold demonstration outside U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to protest U.S. threats to strike Iraq. (PR 2/20)

Following talks with UK and France 2/14, U.S. cabinet mbrs. draw up guidelines to limit any diplomatic compromise UN Secy. Gen. Kofi Annan might offer Iraqi pres. Saddam Hussein. U.S. Amb. to the UN Bill Richardson carries U.S. position to the UN, where Annan holds 3d mtg. with UN Security Council (UNSC) permanent mbrs., who fail to reach consensus on substance of the message that Annan should carry to Iraq. Meanwhile, U.S. envoy David Newton arrives in Cairo on 1st leg of regional tour to explain the U.S. position on Iraq; he will also visit Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. (MM 2/16; MENA 2/16 in WNC 2/21; MM, NYT 2/17; MM 2/19)

In Washington, Israeli Trade M Sharansky meets with U.S. VP Al Gore, asks Gore what can be done to commute Pollard's sentence for spying (see 12/28), raises concern over Russian aid to Iran. (IDF Radio 2/13 in WNC 2/17)

Ignoring 2/10 ban, 300 Palestinian youths in Hebron hold demonstration against attack on Iraq. (IDF Radio 2/12 in WNC 2/15)

IDF demolishes home of Lebanese civilian in s. Lebanon, damaging 2 houses nearby. (RL 2/13 in WNC 2/17)

Coinciding with the opening of Israel's 50th anniversary celebrations, Arafat threatens to "cross out" the peace agreements, declare a Palestinian state next yr. if the deadlock in negotiations continues. (ITV 2/12 in WNC 2/15; WP, WT 2/13)

In Cairo, Arafat adviser Abbas briefs Egyptian FM Musa on latest round of follow-up talks taking place in Washington. (MENA 2/12 in WNC 2/15)

EU Pres. Santer arrives in Lebanon for 2-day stay, meets with PM Hariri. (VOL 2/12 in WNC 2/15; RL 2/13 in WNC 2/17)

In Amman, PM Majali discusses status of peace process with Israeli FMin. Dir Gen. Eytan Bentzur, urges Israel to implement Oslo agmts. (RJ 2/12 in WNC 2/15)

In Gaza, PA police try to tear down fence erected by Jewish settlers on disputed land outside Neve Dalim settlement. IDF troops intervene, scuffle with PA police, leaving 1 soldier injured. PA police cmdrs. arrive, break up fight. (WT 2/13) (see 1/23)

Despite 2/10 ban, 300 Palestinians in Hebron, 1,500 in Nablus stage rallies against attack on Iraq. (WT 2/13)

In mtg. with Defense Secy. Cohen in Moscow, Russian DM Igor Sergeyev strongly criticizes U.S.'s "uncompromising" stand on Iraq; warns against hasty judgement, short lived military victories; expresses "deep concern" regarding U.S.-Russia relations if the U.S. strikes Iraq. (WP, WT 2/13)

EU Pres. Santer arrives in Damascus for 2 days of talks on the peace process, meets with Syrian pres. Asad. (SANA 2/11 in WNC 2/12; SATN 2/11 in WNC 2/15)

IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian homes nr. Hebron to make way for expansion of Israeli quarries. (LAW 2/17)

Ultraorthodox Jew is stabbed to death in East Jerusalem. Israel suspects Palestinian militants. (NYT, WP 2/12, PR 2/20)

In Amman, Jordanian police arrest youth attempting to throw molotov cocktail at British embassy to protest potential military strike on Iraq. (RJ 2/11 in WNC 2/12; MM 2/12; JT, SA 2/12 in WNC 2/15)

Iraq offers U.S. a Russia-brokered compromises for inspections at 8 presidential palaces over 2-mo. period. U.S. rejects plan, saying it is not up to Iraq to set conditions for inspections, Iraq must agree to inspections of all sites for indefinite period. (MM 2/11; WP 2/12; JTV 2/12 in WNC 2/17)

In Kuwait, GCC states hold emergency mtg. on Iraq crisis, say they prefer diplomatic to military solution. (U.S. Defense Secy. Cohen, who is in Bahrain today, says that all 6 states have agreed that Saddam Hussein should bear all responsibility for an attack if he does not fully comply with UN requirements.) (MM 2/11, 2/12)

In Washington, Israeli, PA teams hold separate follow-up talks on the peace process with State Dept. Dep. Special Coordinator for Arab-Israeli Negotiations Aaron Miller, special envoy Ross. No progress is made. Israeli team is led by Cabinet Secy. Nave, Netanyahu foreign policy adviser Uzi Arad. PA team is led by Local Government M Erakat; PLO Washington rep. Hassan `Abd al-Rahman also attends. (JT 2/10 in WNC 2/12; WP 2/10; MM, WJW 2/12; PR 2/13)

In Amman, EU Pres. Santer discusses peace process with Jordanian PM Majali. (RJ 2/10 in WNC 2/11)

In Amman, PA, Jordan open 3 days of talks on expanding cooperation in health-related fields. (JT 2/10 in WNC 2/11; JT 2/11 in WNC 2/12)

Russian special envoy Posuvalyuk delivers message to Israeli PM Netanyahu fr. Iraqi pres. Saddam Hussein, saying that Iraq has "neither the intention nor the ability" to attack Israel. (WT 2/11; CSM 2/18)

After PM Netanyahu demands halt to Palestinian pro-Iraq demonstrations, PA's Gaza police chief Brig. Gen. Ghazi Jabali issues order preventing all marches, protests, flag burnings in area A. Human rights groups say order undermines right to peaceful assembly. (LAW 2/10; IDF Radio, ITV 2/10 in WNC 2/11; NYT 2/11; PR 2/13)

Jordan bans all demonstrations "for any reason," citing preservation of national security given the "delicate" regional situation. (JTV 2/10 in WNC 2/11; JTV 2/11, JT 2/12 in WNC 2/15; JTV 2/12 in WNC 2/17)

Defense Secy. Cohen says that Oman has given the U.S. permission to station support planes in Oman for an attack on Iraq; combat units will be station in Bahrain, Kuwait, Germany, Spain, Diego Garcia. (MM 2/10; CSM , MM 2/11)

In Jinin, 1,000-2,000 Palestinians march in support of Iraq. 150 Palestinians do the same in Ramallah. (NYT, WP 2/10)

Turkey moves 7,000 troops into n. Iraq. (MM 2/9)

EU Pres. Santer discusses peace process with PM Netanyahu. (ITV 2/8 in WNC 2/11)

Almost 1-yr. after the 3/13/97 shooting of 14 Israeli school girls by a Jordanian solider, Jordan's King Hussein sends Israel's Pres. Weizman a personal check for $1 m. for compensation to the girls' families. (IGPO 2/8; IGPO, MM 2/9; SA 2/9 in WNC 2/11; al-Quds al-`Arabi 2/11 in WNC 2/12; IGPO 2/12)

Syrian pres. Asad issues decree firing his brother Rifat al-Asad as 1 of 3 VPs. No explanation is given. (RJ 2/8, al-Ba`th 2/9, SA 2/10 in WNC 2/11; MM, WP 2/9; WP 2/11; YA 2/12 in WNC 2/15; MM 2/13)

Israeli DM Mordechai travels to Munich on short notice to discuss Iraq crisis with U.S. Defense Secy. Cohen, who says U.S. will give Israel early warning before operating in Iraq. U.S. also agrees to airlift Patriot missiles, chemical detectors, vaccines, other medications to Israel next wk. as a precaution. (IGPO 2/8; ITV 2/8 in WNC 2/11; MM 2/9)

After Saudi Arabia says it opposes military action to force Iraq to comply with UN sanctions, U.S. Defence Secy. Cohen says the U.S. will not ask to use Saudi bases to stage an attack. (NYT, WT 2/9)

Israeli treasury closes unit responsible for coordinating among government agencies to facilitate joint economic projects with Arab states. Foreign Min. departments in charge of Arab states will take this role over; joint projects with Jordan will be handled by Infrastructures M Sharon. (MA 2/8 in WNC 2/11)

Lebanon, Syria agree to reduce customs by 25%/yr. beginning 1/1/99, abolishing all customs tariffs in 2002. (SATN, VOL 2/7 in WNC 2/11)

In Bethlehem, 300 Palestinians march in support of Iraq. IDF fires rubber bullets, tear gas at marchers, injuring 3 PA policemen, 3 reporters, 8 demonstrators. Fatah denounces the demonstration. (NYT 2/8; WP 2/10)

IDF soldier is killed, 7 others are wounded clash with Hizballah in s. Lebanon. In separate incident, Hizballah fires mortars at n. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. (ITV, RL 2/7 in WNC 2/11; NYT 2/11; JP 2/14)

In Cairo, Egyptian FM Musa, PA Planning M Shaath discuss peace process, Mubarak mtg. with Albright 2/3. (MENA 2/5 in WNC 2/6)

Turkey's Gen. Kivrikoglu meets with DM Mordechai. (IGPO 2/5)

Iranian Majles speaker Nateq-Nuri arrives in Lebanon for 2-day visit, talks on cultivating trade ties. (RL 2/5 in WNC 2/6; IRNA 2/5, RL 2/6 in WNC 2/10)

Saying that it "retains its right to self-defense and will operate according to its security interests," Israel rebuffs U.S. request to not retaliate against Iraq should it target Israel as a result of U.S. air strikes. (MM 2/5; MM, WP 2/6; WJW 2/12)

Iraqi pres. Saddam Hussein orders release of all 1,200-1,300 Arab prisoners in apparent move to win sympathy in his dispute with the U.S. (NYT, WP 2/6; al-Aswaq [Amman], MENA 2/12 in WNC 2/15)

13 mbrs. of the Israeli Islamic Movement hold quiet demonstration against potential U.S. attack on Iraq in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. (IDF Radio 2/5 in WNC 2/6)

SLA mbrs. block road in s. Lebanon in attempt to prevent French delegation fr. reaching ILMG mtg. UNIFIL intervenes, reopens road. (RL 2/5 in WNC 2/6; RL 2/6 in WNC 2/10)

EU special envoy Moratinos discusses peace process with PA Local Government M Erakat. (al-Ra'i 2/5 in WNC 2/11)

Arafat arrives in Spain for 2-day visit, to be followed by trip to the Netherlands. (PALDEV Digest [Internet] 2/4)

In Cairo, Egypt, PA sign custom exemption agmt. (MENA 2/4 in WNC 2/6) (see Peace Monitor)

Netanyahu spokesman Bar-Ilan says that government will override Interior Min.'s 1/22 approval of "Jewish sector" construction plans for Ras al-Amud. (MM, NYT, WP 2/5)

Palestinians living nr. Efrat settlement protest Israeli plans to confiscate their land to build road for local settlers. (PR 2/13)

Jordan's Interior Min. announces it has approved establishment of new Jordan Labor Party, which advocates building relations btwn. Jordanian, Israeli peoples but opposes polices of current Likud government. (JT 2/4 in WNC 2/6; JT 2/10 in WNC 2/11)

Congress debates resolution allowing Pres. Clinton to launch attack on Iraq. White House prefers diplomatic solution with resort to targeted attack on military facilities, sites of suspected violations if there is no progress. Mbrs. of Joint Chiefs of Staff say list of targets belies lack of strategy, White House is only interested in "putting on a show"; recommend concentrated attacks on Republican Guard, facilities housing security details, mbrs. Saddam Hussein's inner circle. Conservative lawmakers--including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Rep. Steven Solarz (D-NY)--say attack should aim to remove Saddam Hussein fr. power. (WT 2/4; NYT, WP, WT 2/5)

Secy. of State Albright travels to Bahrain, Egypt to discuss Iraq issue. Bahrain agrees to allow U.S. forces to stage strikes fr. its air bases if necessary. Both Bahrain, Egypt call for diplomatic solution but agree to U.S. phrasing that if the U.S. attacks Iraq it would be Saddam Hussein's fault. (MM 2/3; MENA 2/3 in WNC 2/4, 2/6; MM, WP, WT 2/4; MEI 2/13) (see 2/2)

Turkey's army chief Gen. Hussein Kizriko_lu begins 4-day visit to Israel to discuss military cooperation. (WT 2/4; see also MM 1/12)

Iran's Majles speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri arrives in Syria for 3-day visit; discussions on developing economic, commercial ties. (IRNA, SATN 2/3 in WNC 2/4; IRNA 2/3, IRNA, SATN 2/4, IRNA 2/5 in WNC 2/6; IRNA 2/5 in WNC 2/6)

To mark end of Ramadan, PA grants pardons or early releases to 31 Palestinian prisoners, including 2 convicted in connection with the 1/22/95 Beit Lid bombing that killed 21 Israelis. Israel similarly releases 23 Palestinian prisoners. (WP 2/4; JP 2/7)

In the West Bank, Palestinians protest Israel plans to confiscate land for expansion of Modi'in settlement. (PR 2/13)

In Cairo, Mubarak adviser Baz is briefed by Israeli Cabinet Secy. Nave, Netanyahu adviser Uzi Arad on Netanyahu's mtg. with Secy. of State Albright and, separately, by PA Local Government M Erakat on Arafat's mtg. with Albright. Erakat then heads to Amman to brief Jordanian FM Tarawnah. (JTV, MENA, RE 2/2 in WNC 2/4; IGPO 2/3)

In Damascus, EU special envoy Moratinos, Syrian FM Shara` discuss peace process. (SATN 2/2 in WNC 2/4)

Palestinian Nasir al-Hurub dies in PA custody just hours after his arrest. He is at least the 16th Palestinian to die in PA custody. (LAW 2/3; WT 2/4; MEI, PR 2/13)

Palestinian clashes with IDF continue at entrance to Bethlehem. (NYT 2/3)

After 7 hrs. of talks with Secy. of State Albright, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdallah agrees only to say that if the U.S. strikes Iraq, it would be Saddam Hussein's fault. (MM, NYT, WP 2/3; MEI 2/13)

UN Secy. Gen. Annan asks the UNSC to raise to $5.2 b. fr. $2 b. the amount of oil Iraq is allowed to sell in the next 6 mos. of the oil-for-food program. (NYT 2/8) (see 1/31)

UN extends mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for 6 mos. (RL 2/2 in WNC 2/4)

Secy. of State Albright meets with Arafat to follow up on 1/22 mtg. with Clinton, urges him to consider the U.S. FRD proposal. After mtg., Albright announces that Arafat, Netanyahu have agreed to send envoys to Washington in 1 wk. to try to break impasse. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/2; CSM, NYT 2/3; MEI 2/13)

Netanyahu asks Secy. of State Albright for 2+n3 days advance warning of a U.S. attack on Iraq, immediate defensive measures against an Iraqi biological attack. Albright probes Israel's intentions on the manner, scale of its reprisal should Iraq strike Israel. (WP 2/2; MM 2/3; WT 2/5)

After mtg. with Arafat, Netanyahu, Secy. of State Albright heads to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia to gauge support for strike on Iraq. Kuwait supports use of force as last resort. Saudi Arabia says that U.S. may not stage attack on Iraq fr. its territory but will consider allowing U.S. planes to use its airspace. Arab League, France, Jordan, PA, Russia, Turkey send envoys to Iraq to persuade Saddam Hussein to abandon opposition to UNSCOM inspection of palaces. Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Syria warn attack would increase regional tensions. (NYT, WT 2/2; MM, WT 2/3; WP 2/4)

PM Netanyahu orders halt to preliminary negotiations (initiated by Infrastructures M Sharon) with Iran regarding repayment of Israelis $1.2 b. debt to Iran. (Globes [Internet] 2/1 in WNC 2/4) (see 9/20/97)

At entrance to Bethlehem, Palestinians clash with IDF for 3d straight day, leaving 6 Palestinians injured. During clash, IDF troops, PA police train weapons on each other but do not fire. (WT 2/2) (see 1/30)

Lebanese army eases siege on Britel to allow 10,000 Lebanese to hold funeral for Shaykh Khudr Tlays, Tufayli's right hand man who was killed in clash 1/30. Tufayli is still on the run. (MM, WT 2/2; MM 2/9; MEI 2/13)

3 civilians are wounded during IDF bombardment of Mashghara village in s. Lebanon. (RL 2/2 in WNC 2/4)

After mtg. with Secy. of State Albright, UK FM Robin Cook says Britain is urging the UNSC to find Iraq in violation of its obligations to the council, saying such a res. would provide legal, international support for U.S. attack. At the same time, the UN should consider quadrupling the oil-for-food program to demonstrate that UN is not trying to punish ordinary Iraqis. (NYT 2/1) (see 1/30)

Secy. of State Albright arrives in Israel for dinner mtg. with PM Netanyahu to follow up on 1/20 Netanyahu-Clinton mtg.; say that she is frustrated both sides' failure to make tough decisions, that U.S. is likely to abandon mediation if Israel "continues to display a stubborn and uncompromising attitude toward the Palestinians." (NYT 2/1; NYT, WP 2/2; HA, YA 2/2 in WNC 2/4; CSM, MM, NYT 2/3; MEI 2/13)

PLO Exec. Comm. passes by voice vote the list of PLO charter clauses that have been rescinded as given to U.S. Pres. Clinton 1/22, UK PM Blair 1/26. Israel says voice vote is not "sufficient." (ITV 1/31, IDF Radio 2/1 in WNC 2/4; MM 2/2, 2/4)

Lebanese army operation against Tufayli (see 1/30) carries into the early morning hours. At dawn, Tufayli and his men flee the school, take refuge in the nearby village of Britel. The army seals the town to search for Tufayli, allowing residents to leave but no one to enter. The 2 days of clashes leave 4 Tufayli supporters, 3 soldiers, 1 civilian dead; at least 50 wounded. By the end of the day, Tufayli escapes, but 14 of his men are arrested. Government says Tufayli faces charges of endangering the country, killing soldiers and civilians, forming an armed group. (RL, RMC, VOL 1/31, RL 2/1 in WNC 2/4; NYT, WT 2/1; MM 2/2; MEI 2/13)

Palestinian prisoner, Nidal Abu Srour, dies fr. injuries received while in Israeli custody at the Russian Compound jail in Jerusalem. He was arrested without charge 1/16. Death sparks clash btwn. Palestinians, IDF at entrance to Bethlehem, Abu Srour's home town. (LAW 1/30)

In Baalbeck, fmr. Hizballah chief Shaykh Tufayli, 30 armed followers seize Hizballah-run school. Lebanese army storms school, sparking fierce clashes which last past midnight. (MBC, RL, VOL 1/30 in WNC 2/3; VOL 1/30 in WNC 2/4; NYT, WT 1/31; WT 2/1; MEI 2/13)

In Madrid, Secy. of State Albright, Russian FM Primakov discuss Iraq situation. Russia says diplomatic process has only just begun, it is still against military action. Separately, French pres. Chirac says all options shout remain open; Turkey says its bases may not be uses for staging an attack; Jordan says that no country may use its airspace or land to attack Iraq. (ITV 1/30 in WNC 2/3; WT 1/31; al-Ra'i 2/2 in WNC 2/4) (see 1/29)

Israeli ministerial team on FRD meets to prepare response to U.S. FRD proposal (see 1/26) for upcoming Netanyahu-Albright mtg. 1/31. (IDF Radio 1/29 in WNC 2/2; MM 1/30)

Israel, U.S. inaugurate 1st hot line linking Israeli DM, the U.S. secy. of defense by phone in case of security emergency. (ITV 1/29 in WNC 2/2)

Pres. Clinton sends televised greetings to Iranian people on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan; endorses Pres. Khatami's 1/7 call for cultural exchanges btwn. Iran, the U.S.; says U.S. regrets its estrangement fr. Iran. (MM 1/29; NYT, WP 1/30; MM 2/2)

Iraq's Dep. PM `Aziz departs on tour of Russia, France, Syria, Egypt as part of an Iraqi diplomatic campaign to counter U.S. mobilization of support for a strike on Iraq. (SA 1/29 in WNC 2/2) (see 1/28)

Secy. of State Albright leaves for tour of Europe and the Middle East to build support for U.S. military attack on Iraq if it does not comply with UN inspections. State Dept. says that U.S. Defense Secy. William Cohen, Amb. to the UN Bill Richardson also plan to travel abroad. (WT 1/28; MM 1/29) (see 1/13)

In Washington, Israeli Finance M Yaakov Neeman discusses with House Appropriations Comm. mbrs. Sonny Callahan (R-AL), Bob Livingston (R-LA) phasing out the $1.2 b. in U.S. economic aid to Israel. (NYT, WJW, WP 1/29; Globes [Internet] 1/29 in WNC 2/3; WJW 2/5; JP 2/7; MEI 2/13)

In Washington, Clinton meets with Arafat, encourages him to accept U.S. FRD proposal (see 1/20). Arafat refuses, saying that he expects Israel to hand over 91% of the est Bank before the final stages of the permanent status talks. Arafat agrees to renegotiate the 12/17 MOU on security, gives Clinton 2 letters: one, requested by the U.S., formalizing Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist, spelling out for the 1st time which of the 33 articles of the 1968 PLO charter were annulled in 1996; the other saying that a "time-out" on Israeli settlement construction should extend to every place on the West Bank that is not within 50 meters of an existing settlement structure. After mtg., Clinton says that he hopes that land for peace will prevail in the Middle East that "the Palestinians can realize their aspirations to live as a free people." (NYT, WP, WT 1/23; ITV, MENA 1/23, JT, RE 1/24 in WNC 1/27; MM, WT 1/26; MEI 1/30; MA 2/3 in WNC 2/4)

CIA Dir. George Tenet meets with Arafat at his hotel to discuss security issues, 12/17 MOU on security. (NYT, WP 1/23)

Israeli Interior Min. approves 2 building plans for the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in Jerusalem: "Arab sector" plan includes the construction of "additional public space," 1,020 housing units; "Jewish sector" plan includes 132 housing units. Construction permits are not issued automatically; Jewish, Arab landowners must apply to the local authority for permits. (IGPO 2/4; MM, NYT 2/5) (see 9/14/97)

U.S. orders deportation of Hani al-Sayigh, a Saudi Arabian suspected of involvement in the 6/96 bombing of the U.S. barracks at al-Khobar. Sayigh fled Saudi Arabia for Canada (3/97), which then extradited him to the U.S. (6/97) at Washington's request to provide testimony linking Iran with the bombing. Sayigh failed to provide such information, and the U.S. was forced to drop charges of collusion against him for lacked evidence. He faces possible execution if he is sent back to Saudi Arabia. (NYT, WP) (see 9/9)

IDF opens fire with rubber bullets, live ammunition, teargas, percussion grenades on Palestinians protesting bulldozing of land nr. Neve Dalim settlement, injuring 4. (PCHR 1/24) (see 1/21)

Israel launches Ofek-4 satellite to spy on Iran, Iraq, Syria, but it disintegrates before entering orbit. (ITV 1/23 in WNC 1/27; WT 1/24; MM 1/26; JP 2/7)

PM Netanyahu arrives in Washington, holds separate mtgs. with American Jewish groups, Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell; gives speech to Voice United for Israel, a coalition dominated by Christian fundamentalists. Falwell tells Netanyahu that he will mobilize evangelical churches to oppose any FRD. (MM, WP, WT 1/20; IDF Radio 1/20 in WNC 1/21; ITV 1/20 in WNC 1/23; NYT, WP, WT 1/21; MM, WT 1/26; MEI 1/30)

Israel receives fr. the U.S. 1st 2 of 25 F-15I aircraft, which have a 2,400-mi. range--enough to hit Iran, Iraq, Libya without refueling--and ability to carry 11 tons of weapons. (Der Standaard [Groot-Bijgaarden] 1/20 in WNC 1/21; MENA 1/21 in WNC 1/23; MEI 1/30; JP 1/31)

In advance of his mtg. with Clinton 1/22, Arafat arrives in Cairo for 2 days of talks on the peace process with Mubarak. (MENA 1/19, 1/20 in WNC 1/21; PR 1/23)

In under 3 hrs., PA security court tries, sentences to 15 yrs. 2 Hamas mbrs. on charges of masterminding the 7/30, 9/4 suicide bombings. Jassir Samara, Nasim Abu Rus were arrested in a raid in Nablus 1/12. (LAW 1/19; WP, WT 1/20)

At the start of 3 days of mtgs. in Bucharest, Syria, Romania sign 4 cooperation agmts. covering transportation, trade, health and the environment, youth and sports. (Rompres [Bucharest] 1/19, Radio Romania Network [Bucharest] 1/20 in WNC 1/21)

Israeli cabinet decides not to set a figure for the percentage of land to be included in the next FRD before PM Netanyahu's visit to Washington. (MM, NYT, WT 1/19)

At the close of an informal 3-day mtg. sponsored by the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), a group of MKs, PC mbrs. decided to create permanent comm. to build Israeli-Palestinian confidence, improve political and economic conditions. (IPCRI press release 1/18)

Iraq releases 92 of some 160 Jordanian prisoners. (INA, RMC 1/19 in WNC 1/21; MM 1/20; RJ 1/21 in WNC 1/23; Shihan [Amman] 1/24, JT 1/26 in WNC 1/27; MEI 1/30)

In preparation for Netanyahu's mtg. with Clinton 1/20, the Israel cabinet agrees not to carry out any FRD until the PA meets 12-page list of conditions (see 1/4), including extraditing PA prisoners; sets up interministeral comm. to monitor PA compliance with these demands. PA accuses Israel of stalling. (IDF Radio 1/13 in WNC 1/14; CSM, MM, NYT, WP 1/14; MA 1/14 in WNC 1/15; MM, WJW 1/15)

Arafat arrives in Amman for 2-day visit; discusses Ross visit, Arab positions on the peace process with King Hussein. (RJ 1/13 in WNC 1/14; JTV 1/13, RJ 1/14 in WNC 1/15; PR 1/16)

In Damascus, French FM Vedrine meets with Pres. Asad. (RFI 1/12 in WNC 1/14; SARR, SATN 1/13, RMC 1/14 in WNC 1/15)

Jordanian team led by FM Fayiz Tarawnah leaves for U.S. for talks on the 1999 economic, military aid package to the kingdom. (JT 1/14 in WNC 1/15; al-Aswaq 1/18 in WNC 1/21)

Iraq again blocks UNSCOM inspection team. (NYT, WP, WT 1/14) (see 1/11)

French FM Vedrine arrives in Lebanon to discuss the Lebanese-Israeli track of the peace process, Israeli statements regarding UN Res. 425 (see 1/2); calls for unconditional Israeli withdrawal fr. the south; brings no French initiatives. (RFI 1/11, VOL 1/12 in WNC 1/13; MM 1/13; RMC 1/15 in WNC 1/20; MM 1/16)

Iraq criticizes composition of new UNSCOM team, saying it is unbalanced in favor of the U.S., UK. New team is made up of 9 Americans, 5 British, 1 Russian, 1 Australian. (NYT, WP 1/12) (see 12/18)

Israeli ministerial team on FRD meets again, without Levy. (MM 1/6) (see 1/4)

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross arrives in the Middle East, meets separately with Arafat, Netanyahu to prepare for individual mtgs. each will have with Pres. Clinton in Washington later this mo. (MM 1/6; IDF Radio 1/6 in WNC 1/7; CSM, MM, WP, WT 1/7; ITV 1/8 in WNC 1/11; JP 1/17)

In Paris, Pres. Chirac, PM Lionel Jospin, FM Vedrine discuss the peace process with Syrian VP `Abd al-Halim Khaddam, FM Shara`. (SANA 1/6 in WNC 1/7; Iraq Television Network 1/8 in WNC 1/12; MM 1/16)

Smithsonian removes cosponsor of its upcoming lecture series on Israel's 50th anniversary under pressure fr. conservative American Jewish groups (such as the American Jewish Comm., the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Zionist Organization of America) and Congressman Michael Forbes (R-NY), who claim that the tentative schedule (including speeches by 2 Likud reps.) reflects only the "biased," anti-Likud views of the series cosponsor, the New Israel Fund, a liberal philanthropic organization that supports reconciliation btwn. Arabs, Jews. (NYT, WP, WT 1/7; WJW 1/8; MEI 1/16)