Tuesday, May 21, 1996

Calling it the hardest decision of his life, Israeli Arab political leader Ahmad Tibi withdraws his candidacy for a Knesset seat, endorses Peres for PM--despite the closure on the self-rule areas, the 4/96 assault on Lebanon--in hopes of uniting Israeli Arab voters behind propeace candidates, against Netanyahu. United Arab List head `Abd al-Wahhab Darawshah also endorses Peres. (MM, NYT 5/21; QY 5/21 in FBIS 5/21; VOP 5/28 in FBIS 5/29)

In Washington, France, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, the U.S. continue talks on cease-fire monitoring comm. Lebanese FM Faris Buwayz says parties have agreed the comm. will be security/military, not political. Issue of chairmanship, structure, decision making, cooling-off period following incidents still not resolved. (RL 5/21, 5/22 in FBIS 5/22; MM 5/22) (see 5/20)

U.S. Secy. of State Warren Christopher charges Iran with planing attacks in Israel before the Israeli election 5/29. (MM 5/22)

Based on information obtained fr. Hamas's Salameh, Israel arrests 19 suspected Hamas mbrs. in the West Bank. (CSM 5/22; PR 5/31) (see 5/17)

Lebanese army reports that Israel's 4/96 offensive targeted 147 Lebanese towns, villages; 11,000 civilians suffered material loss; direct damage to personal property (i.e., not incl. damage to infrastructure, public utilities) totalled $24 m. (MM 5/21)

Israel says its unofficial trade with Iraq is expected to increase significantly (to as high as $100 m./yr.) thanks to the 5/20 UN-Iraq deal. Israel currently sells $2 m. of food, medicine to Iraq. (JP 5/22 in FBIS 5/22; JP 6/1)

PA military court orders Sarraj, arrested 5/18, to be held for 15 days. (NYT 5/22; PR 5/24; NYT 5/28; JP 6/1)