Wednesday, October 30, 1991

Middle East peace conference opens in the royal palace in Madrid with delegations from Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and the joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation present. Conference begins with short speech by Spanish PM Felipe Gonzalez, followed by addresses by conference co-conveners Presidents Bush and Gorbachev, and Dutch FM Hans van den Broek, representating the European Community. Soviet FM Boris Pankin and Secy. of State Baker were also present at the negotiating table. Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan and 'Abdullah Bishara, secy. gen. of the Gulf Cooperation Council, also attend the conference, but are not seated at the table. Egyptian FM 'Amr Musa delivers the first address by one of the negotiating delegations. Secy. of State Baker confirms that it was not certain whether or not second phase bilateral talks between Israel and the Arab delegations would commence 11/2 as scheduled due to disagreement between Israel, Arab delegations over venue of such talks. Israel is pushing for holding the negotiations in the Middle East, while Arab delegations seek to continue to hold such talks in Madrid. (NYT 10/31)

Hamas calls for a general strike to protest the peace conference. But 2,000 Palestinian supporters of Fateh, some armed with clubs and knives and waving Palestinian flags, march in favor of the peace talks in Gaza as Israeli troops follow them but make no effort to disperse the gathering. The marchers clashed with supporters of Hamas, injuring four. Five thousand other PLO supporters march in Khan Yunis. Pro-peace conference activists in Qalqiliya, Jenin force shopkeepers to open their shops which had been closed following orders by Hamas to observe ageneral strike. Elsewhere, Israeli security forces kill one Palestinian in Hebron, wound at least 24 in Gaza and 11 in Nablus during clashes. (NYT, WP, MEM 10/31)

Iraqi National Assembly condemns peace conference, attacks Syria, Egypt for their participation. (MEM 10/31)

Some 10,000 Lebanese march in Beirut against peace conference. (WP 10/31)

Israeli, South Lebanon Army forces bombard villages near Nabatiyya, S. Lebanon, in retaliation for 10/29 attacks on Israeli troops. (NYT 10/31)