Monday, December 30, 1996

U.S. special envoy Ross arrives in the Middle East. Ross gives Netanyahu a letter fr. Pres. Clinton, expressing respect Netanyahu's decision to move forward on an agmt. despite his hard-line views, inviting him to visit Washington soon. Israel's Shahak, PA's Abbas hold intense negotiations in Jerusalem. (NYT, WT 12/31; NYT, WP 1/1; MM 1/2)

Under pressure from FM Levy, Netanyahu agrees to submit any Hebron deal for cabinet approval. 7 of 18 cabinet mbrs. have said that they would veto an agmt. or abstain; 2 are uncertain of how they would vote. (WP 1/1; NYT 1/2)

In the largest protest against the PM since he was elected in 5/96, 100,000s of Israeli workers across the country, led by Histadrut labor federation, walk off their jobs to protest Netanyahu's plans to raise taxes, slash services, sell state companies. (YA 12/30 in WNC 12/31; WP, WT 12/31; MEI 1/10)