Thursday, December 19, 1996

PM Netanyahu hold discussions with the FM, DM, national infrastructure M, defense officials regarding a document submitted several days ago by U.S. Amb. Indyk. The document constitutes a compromise document on Hebron, incorporating understandings reached so far btwn. the Israel, the PA; including clauses relating to continued implementation of Oslo, incl. Israeli commitment to a timetable for redeployment. Netanyahu says he has no intention of adhering to a timetable. (YA 12/19 in WNC 12/20)

Secy. of State Christopher says that special envoy Ross will soon return to the Middle East to "reenergize" the PA-Israeli talks; claims that the Israelis have made some concessions (unspecified) and it is time for the PA to reciprocate. PA denies Israel has made concessions. (NYT 12/20)

Israel expresses concern that the PA will expand the Gaza port beyond the agreed upon plans to create a commercial, rather than a fishing, port, in which case Israel would have no control over entering and departing craft. (MA 12/20 in WNC 12/23)

Arafat has private audience with the Pope at the Vatican. (WT 12/20)

Israeli FM Levy meets with King Hussein, PM Kabariti in Jordan. Levy, who is the 1st Israeli official to visit since the 9/24 tunnel opening, inaugurates the new Israeli embassy in the Rabiyya neighborhood of Amman. On arrival, He is met at the airport by a subcabinet-level official. (RJ 12/19 in WNC 12/20; JTV, RJ 12/19 in WNC 12/23; JP 12/28)

YESHA settlers' council ends 2-day convention; announces 3 "red lines" which, if crossed, will put an end to their support for Netanyahu. Action will be taken if Netanyahu does not go ahead with construction of housing units in East Jerusalem, Hebron; implements further redeployment fr. area C; does not allow "extensive and comprehensive" settlement. (IDF Radio 12/19 in WNC 12/23)

In Tripoli, Lebanon, an explosive device detonates nr. the regional Syrian intelligence headquarters, injuring 2 Syrian officers. Syria says that a civil-war era bomb detonator was accidentally burned with other trash, exploded. (MM 12/19; RL 12/19 in WNC 12/20; al-Sharq al-Awsat 12/19 in WNC 12/23; MA 12/22 in WNC 12/24) (see 12/18)

Iran's Pres. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, his 240-mbr. delegation begin 3-day visit to Turkey. Iran and Turkey will discuss economic, defense cooperation. (MM 12/19; Milliyet [Istanbul], VIRI 12/19, IRNA, VIRI 12/20 in WNC 12/23; MM 12/20; IRNA 12/20, VIRI 12/21, 12/22 in WNC 12/24)