856 / 14704 Results
  • May 23, 2000

    Israel withdraws its last troops fr. s. Lebanon, marking the end of 18 yrs. of occupation. The IDF blows up each of its remaining posts and destroys major roads leading north as it pulls out. Just...

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  • May 16, 2000

    Across the West Bank and Gaza, clashes subside btwn. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian demonstrators as the IDF, Palestinian Authority (PA) police cooperate to disperse the protesters,...

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  • May 15, 2000

    In a scathing 4-page letter, `Abid Rabbuh publicly announces his resignation as PA chief negotiator for the final status, revealing the secret Stockholm talks. (MENL 5/15; MENA 5/15...

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  • May 9, 2000

    Arafat arrives in Cairo on a 2-day visit to brief Mubarak on the status of negotiations with Israel. Mubarak updates Arafat on his mtg. with Asad 5/8. (MENL 5/9; MENA 5/9 in WNC 5/10...

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  • May 8, 2000

    PA-Israeli teams hold a final round of FAPS talks before recessing 5/9+n10 while Israel marks its memorial and "independence" days. U.S. special envoy Ross returns to Washington to...

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  • May 6, 2000

    U.S. special envoy Ross, U.S. Amb. Indyk meet with senior PA, Israeli negotiators (including the PA's Abbas and Qurai`, Israel's Levy) to discuss the impasse in the FAPS talks. Later...

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  • May 3, 2000

    U.S. special envoy Ross convinces Israel, PA to resume FAPS talks in Elat. Negotiators complain that reporters are getting in their way. (MM 5/3; NYT 5/4; al-Quds 5/4 in WNC 5/...

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  • April 25, 2000

    Syrian FM Shara` flies to Paris to hand Pres. Chirac a letter fr. Pres. Asad and to discuss Israel's planned withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. (JP [Internet], MM 4/25; MM 4/27, 4/28; Le...

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  • April 22, 2000

    Arafat arrives in Cairo on his way home fr. Washington to brief Pres. Mubarak on his talks with Pres. Clinton. (MENA 4/22, 4/23 in WNC 4/24)

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  • April 19, 2000

    En route to Washington, Arafat holds talks on the peace process with Pres. Mubarak in Cairo. (MENA 4/19 in WNC 4/20)

    The UNSC adopts a statement fr. Secy. Gen....

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  • April 10, 2000

    At Bolling, the Israeli, PA teams exchange papers on the components of a FAPS agmt., discuss the 3d FRD. U.S. special envoy Ross sits in. (AYM 4/11 in WNC 4/12; AYM 4/12 in WNC 4/14;...

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  • April 7, 2000

    In Damascus, UN special envoy Larsen discuss with Syrian FM Shara` Israel's plans for a unilateral withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon, the possible role of UN forces. (NYT 4/7; MENA 4/8 in WNC 4/11)

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  • March 31, 2000

    Egyptian pres. Mubarak phones Syrian pres. Asad to brief him on his meeting with Pres. Clinton in Washington on 3/28. (MENA 3/31 in WNC 4/5)

    Iraq gives Palestinians who have...

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  • March 28, 2000

    The 1st round of PA-Israeli FAPS talks at Bolling ends. The State Dept. says the teams spent this round "attempting to achieve a better understanding of each other's needs and...

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  • March 23, 2000

    Before leaving Cairo, Arafat discuss the peace process with Arab League secy.-gen. Ismat `Abd al-Majid. (MENA 3/23 in WNC 3/27)

    Syrian FM Shara`, Russian FM Ivanov...

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  • March 22, 2000

    Barak phones UN Secy.-Gen. Kofi Annan, French pres. Chirac, U.S. Amb. Indyk to discuss scenarios for a unilateral s. Lebanon pullout if Asad does not agree to resume Syrian-Israeli...

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  • March 20, 2000

    Pres. Clinton announces that he will meet Syrian pres. Asad in Geneva on 3/26 in hopes of restarting Syrian-Israeli talks. (MM 3/20; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/21; MENA 3/21 in WNC 3/22;...

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  • March 14, 2000

    After criticism fr. right-wing MKs, Barak removes the West Bank village of Anata, in jointly controlled area B nr. Jerusalem, from the list of possible areas to be transferred to PA-...

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  • March 13, 2000

    Barak narrowly wins a no-confidence vote (47-42, with 3 abstentions) in the Knesset, which was called after heated public debate over Education M Yossi Sarid's decision to include 5...

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  • March 9, 2000

    Arafat, Barak go to Sharm al-Shaykh to meet with Pres. Mubarak in advance of PA-Israeli talks in Washington later this mo. Afterward, they publicly announce the understandings they have reached in...

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  • March 6, 2000

    In Sharm al-Shaykh, Arafat, Mubarak discuss the peace process. Mubarak also discusses the peace process by phone with Barak. (MENA 3/6 in WNC 3/7)

    Lebanon welcomes...

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  • March 4, 2000

    In Cairo, Russian FM Igor Ivanov, Egyptian FM Musa discuss the peace process, bilateral and regional issues. Ivanov also meets with Pres. Mubarak in Sharm al-Shaykh, Arab League secy...

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  • March 1, 2000

    The Knesset, including much of Barak's governing coalition, approves (60-53) a draft bill designed to block a Golan withdrawal by requiring a referendum on a peace agmt. with Syria...

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  • February 29, 2000

    In Israel, Egyptian presidential adviser Osama Baz holds discussions with PM Barak, other senior Israeli officials on the peace process. (MENA 2/29, 3/1 in WNC 3/2; al-quds 3/1...

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  • February 26, 2000

    French PM Jospin, in Ramallah to meet with Arafat, is chased into his limousine by a rock-throwing crowd of Birzeit University students, angered by Jospin's characterization (2/24) of...

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  • February 24, 2000

    U.S. special envoy Ross makes 1-day trip to Cairo to consult with Egyptian FM `Amr Musa. (MENA 2/24 in WNC 2/28)

    PM Barak defends FM Levy's speech to the Knesset...

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  • February 23, 2000

    In a speech to the Knesset, Israeli FM Levy, using particularly violent language, threatens Lebanon that if n. Israel is attacked, the IDF will retaliate "blood for blood, soul for...

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  • February 22, 2000

    U.S. special envoy Ross meets with Arafat in Ramallah. Before the mtg. Arafat receives a written message fr. Barak that says Israel will adjust its map for the 3d stage of the 2d FRD...

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  • February 21, 2000

    U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross returns to the Middle East to try to revive the stalled Israeli-PA negotiations, meets with PM Barak upon his arrival. Barak proposes 5/00 as a new...

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  • February 19, 2000

    PA head Arafat calls for resumption of negotiations with Israel, on hold since 2/6; says teams should forgo a framework agmt. on permanent status (FAPS) and focus on completing the...

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Israel withdraws its last troops fr. s. Lebanon, marking the end of 18 yrs. of occupation. The IDF blows up each of its remaining posts and destroys major roads leading north as it pulls out. Just before the pullout is complete, 4 Hizbaliah mbrs. are killed in an IDF air raid. (MM 5/23; DUS, IRNA, MENA 5/23 in WNC 5/24; IRNA 5/23, CTK [Prague], IRNA, ITAR-TASS, MENA, XIN 5/24 in WNC 5/25; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/24; AYM, DUS 5/24 in WNC 5/26; CSM, WJW, WP 5/25; AYM, DUS 5/25, CNA, IRNA, MENA 5/26, ATh 4/27 in WNC 5/30; AYM 5/25 in WNC 5/31; NYT 5/26; CSM 5/30; AYM, DUS 5/30 in WNC 6/1; DUS 5/30 in WNC 6/2; JP, MEI 6/2)

The UN Security Council (UNSC) "strongly endorses" Secy.-Gen. Annan's 5/22 recommendations. (USIS Washington File 5/23; NYT 5/24; Interfax 5/24 in WNC 5/25)

Across the West Bank and Gaza, clashes subside btwn. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian demonstrators as the IDF, Palestinian Authority (PA) police cooperate to disperse the protesters, who are marking the 52d anniversary of the Nakba and demanding the release of Palestinians held by Israel. Around 50 Palestinians suffer light injuries. (CSM, WP 5/17; MENA 5/16 in WNC 5/17; WJW 5/18) (see 5/15)

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross meets with PA head Yasir Arafat in Ramallah, Israeli PM Ehud Barak in Jerusalem. (CSM, NYT, WP, WT 5/17; al-Quds 5/17 in WNC 5/18)

In preparation for a withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon, the IDF turns over its naval radar station at Ras Bayada on the Mediterranean to its proxy militia, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), and begins moving heavy equipment out of Surayqi post nr. Marja'uyun. (WT 5/17; NYT 5/18) (see 5/15)

Also in s. Lebanon, an elementary school in Arab Salim is hit by 3 IDF shells. Fortunately, the strike occurs during recess, when children are outside the building, so there is some material damage but no injuries. A similar incident at the same school on 12/16/99 injured 20 students. (MM, WT 5/17)

In a scathing 4-page letter, `Abid Rabbuh publicly announces his resignation as PA chief negotiator for the final status, revealing the secret Stockholm talks. (MENL 5/15; MENA 5/15 in WNC 5/16; MM, NYT, WT 5/16; AYM 5/16 in WNC 5/18)

U.S. special envoy Ross arrives in Israel fr. Stockholm, along with the new PA, Israeli final status teams. All parties refuse to comment on the success or failure of the Stockholm talks. The State Dept. does not even confirm or deny that Ross was in Sweden, says only that the PA and Israel "are talking to each other in different ways at different levels." (State Dept. daily press briefing 5/15; MM, NYT, WT 5/16; State Dept. daily press briefing, WT 5/17; al-Quds 5/17 in WNC 5/18)

Across the West Bank and Gaza, 1,000s of Palestinians commemorating the Nakba and protesting the stalled peace process and Israel continued detention of Palestinian prisoners clash with IDF troops and border police in the worst fighting since 9/96. 2 PA policemen and 1 Palestinian civilian are killed and 100s are injured by rubber bullets, live ammunition, and tear gas; 14 Israeli soldiers and police officers are also injured. Some exchanges of gunfire are btwn. PA police, Israeli security forces. Arafat, Barak are in contact via their advisers throughout the day, speak by phone in the evening. (LAW, MM 5/15; BDL, LAW, NYT, WP, WT 5/16; ITAR-TASS 5/15, MENA 5/16 in WNC 5/17; AYM, al-Quds 5/16 in WNC 5/18; WJW 5/18; MEI 5/19)

Despite clashes, the Israeli cabinet votes (15-6) to transfer 3 Palestinian villages outside Jerusalem (Abu Dis, Azariyya, Sawahara al-Sharqiyya) fr. area B to area A. Later in the day, the Knesset approves (56-48, with 1 abstention) the cabinet decision. Barak, however, says he will not turn over the villages until he receives an explanation fr. the PA for today's clashes in the territories. (MM 5/15; MENA 5/15 in WNC 5/16; MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/16; MM 5/17; WJW 5/18; MEI 5/19)

10,000s of Jewish settlers rally in Jerusalem's Zion Square to protest further territorial concessions to the Palestinians. The rally was planned by Shas last wk., before today's Knesset vote was announced. (MM 5/15; MM, NYT, WP 5/16; WJW 5/18)

In s. Lebanon, the IDF turns over its Taybiyya post to the SLA, marking the 1st step in a withdrawal fr. Lebanon. (MM, WT 5/17; NYT 5/18)

Arafat arrives in Cairo on a 2-day visit to brief Mubarak on the status of negotiations with Israel. Mubarak updates Arafat on his mtg. with Asad 5/8. (MENL 5/9; MENA 5/9 in WNC 5/10; MENA 5/10 in WNC 5/11)

Dir. of the Russian FMin. Dept. for the Middle East and North Africa, Alexander Saltanov, arrives in Syria for a 2-day visit on the 1st leg of a regional tour to assess the peace process. He holds talks with FM Shara` on the status of negotiations with Israel. (ITAR-TASS 5/9 in WNC 5/10; ITAR-TASS 5/10 in WNC 5/11; RAI [Moscow] 5/11 in WNC 5/15)

In Cairo, UN special envoy Larsen briefs the Arab League on his contacts with Israel, Lebanon, Syria regarding Israel's planned withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. (MENA 5/9 in WNC 5/10)

The State Dept. issues Jordanian parliamentarian Farhan a new multiple entry diplomatic visa. The U.S. emb. in Amman reiterates its "regret over the incident," but the State Dept. says only that it erred by not informing Farhan that his original visa had been revoked. (MM, NYT 5/10) (see 5/2)

The Acting Council of the Palestinian Bar Association revokes the accreditation of 37 Palestinian lawyers working for groups critical of the PA. (PHRC 5/10; LAW 5/11; PCHR 5/14)

PA-Israeli teams hold a final round of FAPS talks before recessing 5/9+n10 while Israel marks its memorial and "independence" days. U.S. special envoy Ross returns to Washington to brief Pres. Clinton and the U.S. peace team on the Elat round talks. He reportedly sees a lot of hard work ahead but also a "potential for progress." (MM, NYT 5/9)

In the wake of recent crossborder clashes with Hizballah, Israel says it may make its unilateral withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon before 7/00. (NYT 5/9)

Syrian pres. Asad flies to Cairo to meet with Pres. Mubarak to coordinate positions on Lebanese, PA, Syrian negotiations with Israel and on Israel's planned withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. (MENA 5/8, IRNA 5/9 in WNC 5/10; MENL, MM 5/9)

Israeli PM Barak phones Egyptian pres. Mubarak to discuss the various tracks of the peace process, briefs him on his mtg. with Arafat on 5/7. (MM 5/8; MENA 5/8 in WNC 5/10)

Palestinian students clash with IDF troops in Bethlehem during PA-organized demonstrations for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. 6 Palestinians are injured by rubber bullets fired by the IDF. (MENL 5/8; NYT 5/9)

U.S. special envoy Ross, U.S. Amb. Indyk meet with senior PA, Israeli negotiators (including the PA's Abbas and Qurai`, Israel's Levy) to discuss the impasse in the FAPS talks. Later, Ross meets with PM Barak. (WT 5/7)

Following Israel's latest round of attacks on Lebanon, the Arab League convenes an emergency session in Cairo; calls for a freeze in normalization, a halt to all Arab participation in the multilateral negotiations until there is substantial progress on all tracks of the peace process. (MENA 5/6 in WNC 5/8; JT [Internet] 5/7; MENA 5/9 in WNC 5/10)

All Palestinian teachers resumes their general strike after a PA Executive Authority mtg. 5/5 fails to move them closer to their goal of higher wages, better working conditions. (MENL 5/7; LAW 5/8) (see 5/2)

Iran's Guardian Council says it has found evidence of voter fraud in the 5/5 elections, raising speculation that it may nullify victories of reform candidates. The council has already annulled 12 reformist victories fr. the 2/18 round of elections. (NYT, WP, WT 5/8)

U.S. special envoy Ross convinces Israel, PA to resume FAPS talks in Elat. Negotiators complain that reporters are getting in their way. (MM 5/3; NYT 5/4; al-Quds 5/4 in WNC 5/8; MEI 5/5) (see 5/2)

The FMs of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria open a 2-day mtg. in Palmayra, Syria, to coordinate their stands on the peace process, explore the possibility of holding an Arab summit. (MM, NYT 5/3; MENA 5/3 in WNC 5/4; MM 5/4; MENA 5/4 in WNC 5/5; MENA 5/6 in WNC 5/8; MM 5/8)

The Israeli DMin. says that around 10/00, Israel will deploy a $250-m. laser-based air defense system, developed jointly with the U.S., to protect against missiles fired into Israel following a withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. (MM 5/3; WP 5/4)

PA Dep. Education M Naim Abu al-Humus resigns in protest of the failure of the PA to respond to teachers' demands for pay increases. Teachers fr. Hebron hold a large sit-in strike outside the PA Education Min. offices to protest the PA's inaction regarding their salary increases. (MENL, PCHR 5/3; MENL 5/4; PR 5/10) (see 5/2)

The PA High Court suspends the 2/28 decree requiring all demonstrations, public mtgs. to receive prior authorization fr. the PA police. (PCHR 5/3)

In Iqlim al-Tuffah, outside Israel's self-declared security zone, an Israeli plane drops a 660-lb. bomb on the home of Amal regional cmdr. Abbas Hallal, injuring his mother, 14 civilians (including 6 children). Israel claims the shelling was a mistake. In 2 other IDF and SLA attacks in s. Lebanon, 3 Hizballah mbrs. and 2 civilians are killed. (NYT 5/4; MM, NYT, WP 5/5)

In the Netherlands, the trial of 2 Libyans charged in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 opens. The Libyans plead not guilty, blame the crime on the PFLP-GC and the Palestinian Poplar Struggle Front. Both groups deny the charge. (MM, NYT, WP 5/4; MEI 5/5; CSM 5/9)

Syrian FM Shara` flies to Paris to hand Pres. Chirac a letter fr. Pres. Asad and to discuss Israel's planned withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. (JP [Internet], MM 4/25; MM 4/27, 4/28; Le Monde 5/6 in WNC 5/10) (see 4/16)

King Abdallah of Jordan flies to Ramallah to meet with Arafat for talks on the PA-Israeli track of the peace process, bilateral relations. (MM 4/25; JT [Internet] 4/26; DUS 4/26 in WNC 4/27; NYT 4/27)

Israeli PM Barak phones Egyptian pres. Mubarak to discuss recent developments in the peace process. (MENA 4/25 in WNC 4/26)

UN special envoy Larsen arrives in Israel to meet with senior officials regarding Israel's withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. (MM 4/25, 4/27)

In Tehran, 100s of university students at Khajeh Naseer Technical University cut classes to demonstrate against the Tehran court's crackdown on pro-Khatami newspapers. (NYT, WP, WT 4/26) (see 4/23)

Arafat arrives in Cairo on his way home fr. Washington to brief Pres. Mubarak on his talks with Pres. Clinton. (MENA 4/22, 4/23 in WNC 4/24)

En route to Washington, Arafat holds talks on the peace process with Pres. Mubarak in Cairo. (MENA 4/19 in WNC 4/20)

The UNSC adopts a statement fr. Secy. Gen. Annan informing the council of Israel's intentions to withdraw fr. s. Lebanon in keeping with UN Res. 425 and 426 and initiating preparations to enable the UN to carry out its responsibilities under those resolutions in order to avoid a deterioration of the situation in Lebanon. (XIN 4/20 in WNC 4/24) (see 4/17)

Israel releases 13 Lebanese detainees, returns them to Lebanon. 2,000 friends, relatives, supporters greet them at the border. The remaining 2, Obeid and Mustafa Dirani, will be held at least until a hearing on 5/8 to determine whether they pose a security threat to Israel. (MM, NYT, WP 4/19; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 4/20; WJW 4/27; JP 4/28)

At Bolling, the Israeli, PA teams exchange papers on the components of a FAPS agmt., discuss the 3d FRD. U.S. special envoy Ross sits in. (AYM 4/11 in WNC 4/12; AYM 4/12 in WNC 4/14; AYM 4/15 in WNC 4/17, 4/18)

On his way to Washington, Barak stops in Cairo to meet with Pres. Mubarak on the peace process. (MENA 4/10 in WNC 4/11; HA [Internet], MM 4/11; al-Musawwar 4/14 in WNC 4/17)

Israel says it has been briefed on Syria's response to Clinton's 3/26 proposals and that the "detailed answers" fr. Damascus are "very negative." (MM 4/10) (see 4/8)

Israel lifts the construction freeze in the Golan Heights, allowing work to begin on 200 new housing units in Qatzrin; also announces resumption of work on 12 West Bank bypass roads, which has been suspended for the past few mos. The U.S. does not comment. (LAW, MM 4/11; NYT 4/12; AYM, MENA 4/12 in WNC 4/13; MM, WJW 4/13; WP 4/14; JT 4/14 in WNC 4/17; MM 4/27; JP, MEI 4/21)

In Amman, Jordanian riot polices, plain-clothes police surround the headquarters of the Islamic Action Front, where a rally is taking place in support of the University of Jordan students who clashed with police on 4/4. (MM 4/12; MEI 4/21)

In Damascus, UN special envoy Larsen discuss with Syrian FM Shara` Israel's plans for a unilateral withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon, the possible role of UN forces. (NYT 4/7; MENA 4/8 in WNC 4/11)

Egyptian pres. Mubarak phones Syrian pres. Asad to brief him on his meeting with Pres. Clinton in Washington on 3/28. (MENA 3/31 in WNC 4/5)

Iraq gives Palestinians who have lived in Baghdad since 1948 (totalling some 30,000 individuals) the right to own property, but stresses that rights cannot be passed on. (JT [Internet] 3/31)

The 1st round of PA-Israeli FAPS talks at Bolling ends. The State Dept. says the teams spent this round "attempting to achieve a better understanding of each other's needs and requirements." No progress was made on narrowing the gaps in their positions. Teams agree to open a 2d round of talks at Bolling on 4/6. (NYT, WP, WT 3/29; AYM, al-Quds 3/29 in WNC 3/30; AYM 4/1 in WNC 4/6)

Barak phones Egypt's Mubarak in Washington to brief him on Israel's views on the 3/26 Clinton-Asad mtg. in Geneva. Egyptian FM Musa phones Syrian FM Shara` to discuss Syria's view of the 3/26 mtg. (MENA 3/28 in WNC 3/29; MEI 4/7)

In Washington for talks on bilateral relations, Pres. Mubarak meets with Pres. Clinton to discuss the peace process. Clinton calls for "intensifying" PA-Israeli negotiations, says that "the ball is in [Asad's] court" regarding movement on the Syrian-Israeli track. (MENA 3/28 in WNC 3/29; MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/29; MENA 3/29 in WNC 3/30; MM 3/30; DUS, MENA 3/30 in WNC 3/31; MM 4/3; MEI 4/7)

Jordan indicts 28 Arabs allegedly linked to Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden on terrorism charges for conspiring to attack U.S., Israeli targets during New Year's celebrations. 15 suspects are in custody; 13 others are at large. Most of the suspects are Jordanian, others are Algerian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Yemeni. (DUS 3/28 in WNC 3/29; NYT, WP 3/29; DUS 3/29 in WNC 3/30; NYT 4/11)

After a 7-mo. investigation, Israeli police recommend that fmr. PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara be indicted on criminal charges of fraud, bribery, theft of 700 state gifts worth $100,000, obstruction of justice. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/29)

Bowing to Washington, OPEC agrees to boost oil output. (Iran refuses to sign the agmt. in protest to the U.S. but agrees to comply in effect.) Clinton calls the move "good news . . . for the American consumer," but many OPEC officials complain that the heavy-handed U.S. pressure (especially fr. Energy Secy. Bill Richardson, who hopes to be chosen as VP Al Gore's running mate for the 11/00 U.S. elections) makes their own political and economic situations more awkward. (CSM, NYT, WP 3/29; WP 3/30; MEI 4/7) (see 3/24)

Before leaving Cairo, Arafat discuss the peace process with Arab League secy.-gen. Ismat `Abd al-Majid. (MENA 3/23 in WNC 3/27)

Syrian FM Shara`, Russian FM Ivanov discuss the Syrian-Israeli negotiations by phone. (Interfax 3/23 in WNC 3/27)

The pope spends the day in Israel, visiting Yad Vashem, meeting with Pres. Ezer Weizman and Israel's chief rabbis, leading mass in Jerusalem. The pope also hosts a "healing and reconciliation" mtg. to which he invites Chief Rabbi Martin Lau, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Ikram Sabri. Sabri refuses to sit on the same podium as Lau and so refuses to attend. The PA sends Shaykh Taysir Tamimi in his place. Their speeches Lau, Tamimi both stress their peoples' rights over Jerusalem. (MM 3/23; CSM, MM, NYT, WP 3/24; NYT 3/26; JP 3/31; MEI 4/7)

Barak phones UN Secy.-Gen. Kofi Annan, French pres. Chirac, U.S. Amb. Indyk to discuss scenarios for a unilateral s. Lebanon pullout if Asad does not agree to resume Syrian-Israeli negotiations in his mtg. with Clinton on 3/26. (MM 3/24) (see 3/12)

The pope visits Bethlehem, where he meets with Arafat, conducts mass, visits Dahaysha refugee camp, and tours religious sites. The pope pauses his mass for 2 minutes of silence during the Muslim afternoon call to prayer to demonstrate the accommodation, respect necessary among religious groups. (MM 3/22; CSM, JP, MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/23; MEI 3/24; PR [Internet] 3/29; MEI 4/7)

After the pope leaves Dahaysha refugee camp (where almost 10,000 refugees live on less than 1 mi.2 of land), Palestinians angry over the highhandedness of PA police enforcing security for the pope's visit clash with the police in an exchange of rock throwing, beatings, weapons fire. Some 60 injuries are reported, mostly caused by rocks. (NYT, WP, WT 3/23; LAW 3/27; MEI, MM 4/7)

After overseeing the pope's visit, Arafat heads to Cairo to hold talks with Mubarak on the peace process in advance of Mubarak's trip to Washington beginning 3/25. (MENA 3/22 in WNC 3/23; MENA 3/23 in WNC 3/27)

Given the skyrocketing gas prices in the U.S., Washington agrees to allow Iraq to double its spending on maintaining, expanding the oil industry to $1.2 b. a yr. (WP 3/23, 3/25; MEI 4/7) (see 3/14)

Pres. Clinton announces that he will meet Syrian pres. Asad in Geneva on 3/26 in hopes of restarting Syrian-Israeli talks. (MM 3/20; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/21; MENA 3/21 in WNC 3/22; MM 3/22; MENA 3/21, Le Monde 3/22 in WNC 3/23; MM, WJW 3/23; MEI 3/24; JP 3/31) (see 3/1)

Pope John Paul II arrives in Jordan on the 1st leg of a 1-wk. Middle East tour, meets with King Abdallah. The pope's theme for the trip is that regional leaders should do more to reach a lasting peace, to promote Christian-Jewish-Muslim understanding. (MM 3/20; al-Quds 3/20 in WNC 3/22; CSM, NYT, WT 3/21; al-Quds 3/21 in WNC 3/23; MEI 3/24)

IDF soldiers open fire on a Palestinian car at a West Bank checkpoint, killing a woman, wounding her husband. The IDF shooting, which was apparently unprovoked, followed a drive-by shooting at nearby Tsurif settlement that wounded 4 Jewish settlers. (WP 3/21; WJW 3/23; MEI 3/24; NYT 4/21)

After criticism fr. right-wing MKs, Barak removes the West Bank village of Anata, in jointly controlled area B nr. Jerusalem, from the list of possible areas to be transferred to PA-controlled area A under the 3d stage of the 2d FRD. (MM 3/14; MENA 3/14 in WNC 3/15; CSM, MM, NYT, WT 3/15; CSM, MM, WJW 3/16; CSM 3/21)

Israel formally deploys the Arrow 2 missile system, culminating a 14-yr., $13-b. joint development project with the U.S. (NYT 3/15)

Israeli air strikes on s. Lebanon continue. The Lebanese army says there have been 20 raids in the past 24 hrs. (MENA 3/14 in WNC 3/15; NYT 3/15)

Kuwait announces that it has started accepting job applications fr. Jordanians, Palestinians, Yemenis for the 1st time since accusing their leaders of supporting Iraq during the 1990-91 Gulf conflict. (WT 3/15) (see 2/21)

U.S. congressional staffers who traveled to Iraq in 8/99 release a report denouncing the U.S., British sanctions regime, delineating the negative effects of sanctions, and calling for support in Congress for pending legislation to lift sanctions. (MM 3/16)

Barak narrowly wins a no-confidence vote (47-42, with 3 abstentions) in the Knesset, which was called after heated public debate over Education M Yossi Sarid's decision to include 5 poems by Palestinian nationalist poet Mahmud Darwish in school curricula. (MM 3/13; MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/14; AYM 3/14 in WNC 3/15; NYT 3/15; MENL, WJW 3/16; MEI 3/24)

In apparent response to the Arab League's 3/12 statement), Israel steps up bombing campaigns against Amal, Fatah-Uprising, Hizballah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), Lebanese army targets in s. Lebanon and nr. the Lebanese-Syrian border, killing 1 Lebanese soldier, 1 civilian, wounding several others. The attacks on Fatah-Uprising and PFLP-GC are the first since 1986. (MM 3/13, 3/14; MENA 3/14 in WNC 3/15; MM, NYT 3/15)

Prince Hassan of Jordan says that he will not be able to make a previously arranged trip to Israel to day to receive an honorary doctorate. (DUS 3/14 in WNC 3/15)

PA Social Affairs M Intisar al-Wazir resigns to protest cuts to her budget for stipends to families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces or jailed in Israel, the PA's failure to fund pay raises for civil servants. Arafat refuses her resignation, appoints a panel to investigate ways of meeting these budget needs. (MENL 3/21; MEI 3/24; PR [Internet] 3/29; MENL 4/3)

As a goodwill gesture before Id, Arafat orders the PA Preventive Security Force (PSF) to release 18 Hamas activists being held as administrative detainees. (al-Quds 3/13 in WNC 3/16)

Syrian PM Miru presents his new government. FM Faruq al-Shara`, DM Mustafa Tlas, Interior M Muhammad Harba, Finance M Muhammad Khalid al-Mahaini, Economics M Muhammad Imadi, 8 other Ms retain their posts; 22 new mbrs. are all technocrats. (MM, WT 3/15; MM 3/20; MEI 3/24)

Lebanese Shi`i leader Mustafa al-Dirani, jailed in Israel since being abducted fr. Lebanon by the IDF in 5/94, files a $1.5-m. law suit against the Israeli government, alleging that he was raped and tortured during interrogations. (WP 3/14; WT 3/15; IRNA 3/15 in WNC 3/16; WJW 3/16)

Arafat, Barak go to Sharm al-Shaykh to meet with Pres. Mubarak in advance of PA-Israeli talks in Washington later this mo. Afterward, they publicly announce the understandings they have reached in order to resume talks. (MM 3/9; ITAR-TASS 3/9 in WNC 3/14; NYT, WT 3/10; MENA 3/10, DUS 3/11 in WNC 3/13; WJW 3/16; JP 3/17; MEI 3/24)

In Sharm al-Shaykh, Arafat, Mubarak discuss the peace process. Mubarak also discusses the peace process by phone with Barak. (MENA 3/6 in WNC 3/7)

Lebanon welcomes Israel's 3/5 decision to withdraw its troops but says it will not give any guarantees for peace until Israel comes to an agmt. with Syria over the Golan Heights. (MM 3/6; WT 3/7; MEI 3/10)

Israel paroles a Jewish settler sentenced to life in jail for the execution-style slaying of a Palestinian in the West Bank 7 yrs. ago. (NYT 3/7; WT 3/8)

In Cairo, Russian FM Igor Ivanov, Egyptian FM Musa discuss the peace process, bilateral and regional issues. Ivanov also meets with Pres. Mubarak in Sharm al-Shaykh, Arab League secy.-gen. Ismat `Abd al-Majid. (Interfax, MENA 3/4, ITAR-TASS, MENA 3/5 in WNC 3/6)

Some 100 prominent Palestinian diaspora figures issue a statement emphasizing the importance to the PA-Israeli negotiations of the refugee issue, the concerns of diaspora Palestinians. (MM 3/15, 3/22)

Hizballah shells an IDF outpost in s. Lebanon, wounding 1 IDF soldier. (WT 3/5)

The Knesset, including much of Barak's governing coalition, approves (60-53) a draft bill designed to block a Golan withdrawal by requiring a referendum on a peace agmt. with Syria win support of 61 of the 120 MKs and 62.5% of all eligible voters, whether or not they actually vote. Justice M Yossi Beilin denounces the bill as racist, because it would neutralize the votes of Israeli Arabs, who make up just over 10% of the electorate. The draft is sent to comm., is unlikely to become law soon. (MM 3/1; MM, NYT, WP 3/2; al-Quds 3/2 in WNC 3/6; JP, MEI 3/10)

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdallah arrives in Damascus for a 2-day visit to discuss with Syrian pres. Hafiz al-Asad the peace process, convening an Arab summit. Rumors hint that Abdallah may deliver a message conveying guarantees from Washington, proposing a Clinton-Asad mtg. in Geneva. (MM 3/1, 3/3; NYT 3/4; MENA 3/4 in WNC 3/6)

In s. Lebanon, Hizballah attacks an SLA patrol, killing 5 SLA mbrs. 3 SLA mbrs. are injured in a separate Hizballah mortar attack. An exchange of shelling btwn. the 2 groups afterward kills a Druze cleric, injures 2 civilians. (MM 3/1; ANSA [Rome] 3/1 in WNC 3/2; NYT 3/2; JP, MEI 3/10)

In Israel, Egyptian presidential adviser Osama Baz holds discussions with PM Barak, other senior Israeli officials on the peace process. (MENA 2/29, 3/1 in WNC 3/2; al-quds 3/1 in WNC 3/3)

Crown Prince Abdallah of Saudi Arabia arrives in Cairo on 2-day visit to discuss the peace process, inter-Arab coordination with Pres. Mubarak. (MM 2/29; MENA 2/29 in WNC 3/1; MM 3/1; MENA 3/1 in WNC 3/2)

French PM Jospin, in Ramallah to meet with Arafat, is chased into his limousine by a rock-throwing crowd of Birzeit University students, angered by Jospin's characterization (2/24) of Hizballah attacks on the IDF in s. Lebanon as "terrorist attacks." PA police arrest 12 students, shut Birzeit until 2/29. (MENA 2/26, Le Monde 2/28 in WNC 2/29; NYT, WP, WT 2/27; CSM, LAW, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/28; al-Quds 2/29 in WNC 3/3; JP 3/3; MEI 3/10)

U.S. special envoy Ross makes 1-day trip to Cairo to consult with Egyptian FM `Amr Musa. (MENA 2/24 in WNC 2/28)

PM Barak defends FM Levy's speech to the Knesset on 2/23, saying he is a voice of moderation, "his words illustrate the weighty responsibility we feel for Israel's security in the face of dangers that lie in wait for us when we enter the decisive stage of the peace process." (MM, NYT 2/25; WP 2/26; AYM 2/26 in WNC 2/29; MEI 3/10)

The Arab League announces that its next regular FMs mtg. will be held 3/11+n12 in Beirut, instead of Cairo, as a gesture of solidarity in support for Lebanon's "steadfastness in the face of ongoing Israeli aggression." (MM 2/24; al-Musawwar 3/3, MENA 3/5 in WNC 3/6; MM 3/8)

Pope John Paul II arrives in Egypt for 3-day visit, meets with Pres. Mubarak, calls for unity and tolerance among all religious groups. Meanwhile in Israel, a group of senior rabbis asks the pope to cancel plans to hold a daytime Saturday mass when he visits Nazareth in 3/25, saying it would cause "massive desecration "of the Jewish sabbath. Far-right Jewish groups put up posters in Jerusalem calling the pope "the wicked one," saying prayer service would be an act of "mass idolatry in the heart of Jerusalem." (ANSA [Rome], MENA 2/24, MENA 2/25 in WNC 2/28; MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/25; MENA 2/26 in WNC 2/29; WT 2/27, 2/29; JP 3/3)

After a mtg. with Barak in Jerusalem, French PM Lionel Jospin says that "France condemns Hizballah's [recent attacks on the IDF in s. Lebanon], and all types of terrorist attacks which may be carried out against soldiers or possibly Israel's civilian population." French pres. Jacques Chirac reprimands Jospin. (MM 2/25; WT 2/27; WP 2/28; Le Monde 2/28 in WNC 2/29; AYM 2/28 in WNC 3/1; al-Quds 2/29 in WNC 3/3; WJW 3/9; JP, MEI 3/10)

In a speech to the Knesset, Israeli FM Levy, using particularly violent language, threatens Lebanon that if n. Israel is attacked, the IDF will retaliate "blood for blood, soul for soul, child for child." Israeli Arab and leftist MKs, Arab leaders denounce his statements. (MM, NYT 2/24; MENA 2/24 in WNC 2/28; WP 2/26; AYM 2/26 in WNC 2/29; JP, MM 3/3; JP, MEI 3/10) (see 2/16)

Israeli security officials say that in recent wks., Israel and the PA have arrested several Hamas mbrs. on charges of plotting to blow up a building in Jerusalem. Some of those arrested are also charged with planning the failed attacks in Natanya (11/7), Hadera (1/17). (MM 2/23; NYT 2/24)

U.S. special envoy Ross meets with Arafat in Ramallah. Before the mtg. Arafat receives a written message fr. Barak that says Israel will adjust its map for the 3d stage of the 2d FRD but will not give the PA control of any of the villages it wants in the greater Jerusalem area. (MM 2/22; CSM, MM 2/23; MM 2/25)

Kuwaiti FM Shaykh Sabah travels to Beirut, to show Kuwait's solidarity with Lebanon in light of Israel's recent air strikes. (MENA 2/22 in WNC 2/24; NYT 3/4; MEI 3/10) (see 2/19)

Israel cuts its budget for security for Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza fr. $34.5 m. to $6.2 m., in keeping with overall reductions in the defense budget. (NYT 2/23)

Arafat chairs the 1st mtg. of the PA Higher Council for Development (HCD). Participants begin work on consolidating PA departments for improved financial accounting, form a group to explore ways of attracting foreign investment, agree to draft a working paper on a privatization strategy by 4/25. (al-Quds 2/22 in WNC 2/29)

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross returns to the Middle East to try to revive the stalled Israeli-PA negotiations, meets with PM Barak upon his arrival. Barak proposes 5/00 as a new target date for completing a FAPS; says Israel is willing to offer the PA a confidence-building package, including a release of prisoners, payment of some of taxes, minor changes to maps of the 3d stage of the 2d further redeployment (FRD). (MM, WT 2/21; AYM 2/22 in WNC 2/28; WT 2/22) (see 2/19)

In Cairo, Pres. Mubarak receives Kuwaiti FM Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah for talks on Israel attacks on Lebanon. Kuwait says it would attend a pan-Arab summit, even if Iraq were to participate; also says it does not oppose Arab states opening a dialogue with Iraq, though it would not do so until Baghdad apologizes for the 1990 invasion. (MENA 2/21 in WNC 2/23)

PA head Arafat calls for resumption of negotiations with Israel, on hold since 2/6; says teams should forgo a framework agmt. on permanent status (FAPS) and focus on completing the final status agmt. by the 9/13 target date. Israeli chief negotiator Oded Eran says a FAPS is important, can be reached by end of 3/00. (WP, WT 2/21)

Pres. Mubarak makes the 1st trip to Beirut by an Egyptian leader since 1952 to meet with Lebanese pres. Emile Lahoud to show solidarity with Lebanon in the wake of Israeli attacks. Both presidents reiterate Hizballah's right to resist Israel's occupation. (MENA, RL 2/19 in WNC 2/22; NYT, WP, WT 2/20; AFP, MENA 2/20 in WNC 2/23; MM, WT 2/21; MM 2/22; GIU 2/23; AYM 2/24, MENA 2/26, Der Spiegel 2/28 in WNC 2/29; JP, MEI 2/25)

The PA shuts down Nawras TV in Hebron for 1 wk. on charges of incitement for covering the ongoing teachers strike (see 2/17). (MENL 2/20) (see 2/16)

In s. Lebanon, 1 civilian is injured by IDF shelling. (RL 2/19 in WNC 2/22)