Wednesday, August 20, 1997

In Gaza, Arafat opens 2-day national dialogue mtg., meets with Hamas leader `Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, warns that Israeli actions in response to the 7/30 bombings could lead to another uprising. Islamic Jihad mbrs. also attend. (CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/21; RMC 8/21 in WNC 8/22; MM, NYT, PR, WT 8/22; RE 8/22 in WNC 8/25; PR 8/29; CSM 8/30, 9/8) (see 8/16)

In Amman, a 2-day "popular conference for the defense of Jerusalem" opens. (al-Dustur, JT 8/21 in WNC 8/22; JT 8/23 in WNC 8/26)

In Bethlehem, PA police beat Palestinian Salih Musa during a traffic dispute, take him to Bethlehem hospital. 6 policmen are later arrested in connection with the incident. Bethlehem is still under the internal closure imposed by Israel following the 7/30 bombings. (LAW 8/21)

In retaliation for Hizballah's 8/19 shelling, Israeli air force (IAF) strikes far n. of the self-declared security zone, hitting a Hizballah base, an area nr. the Lebanese army unit that took part in the 8/18 shelling, a power station, injuring 2 Lebanese civilians. ILMG holds an emergency mtg. to discuss the deteriorating situation. Israel says that strike on power station was meant to show the Lebanese government that "a situation in which Israeli citizens cannot live peacefully while the Lebanese continue to live their lives normally will not be tolerated." (MM 8/20; AFP, RL, VOL 8/20 in WNC 8/21; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/21; WT 8/25)