Thursday, January 22, 1998

In Washington, Clinton meets with Arafat, encourages him to accept U.S. FRD proposal (see 1/20). Arafat refuses, saying that he expects Israel to hand over 91% of the est Bank before the final stages of the permanent status talks. Arafat agrees to renegotiate the 12/17 MOU on security, gives Clinton 2 letters: one, requested by the U.S., formalizing Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist, spelling out for the 1st time which of the 33 articles of the 1968 PLO charter were annulled in 1996; the other saying that a "time-out" on Israeli settlement construction should extend to every place on the West Bank that is not within 50 meters of an existing settlement structure. After mtg., Clinton says that he hopes that land for peace will prevail in the Middle East that "the Palestinians can realize their aspirations to live as a free people." (NYT, WP, WT 1/23; ITV, MENA 1/23, JT, RE 1/24 in WNC 1/27; MM, WT 1/26; MEI 1/30; MA 2/3 in WNC 2/4)

CIA Dir. George Tenet meets with Arafat at his hotel to discuss security issues, 12/17 MOU on security. (NYT, WP 1/23)

Israeli Interior Min. approves 2 building plans for the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in Jerusalem: "Arab sector" plan includes the construction of "additional public space," 1,020 housing units; "Jewish sector" plan includes 132 housing units. Construction permits are not issued automatically; Jewish, Arab landowners must apply to the local authority for permits. (IGPO 2/4; MM, NYT 2/5) (see 9/14/97)

U.S. orders deportation of Hani al-Sayigh, a Saudi Arabian suspected of involvement in the 6/96 bombing of the U.S. barracks at al-Khobar. Sayigh fled Saudi Arabia for Canada (3/97), which then extradited him to the U.S. (6/97) at Washington's request to provide testimony linking Iran with the bombing. Sayigh failed to provide such information, and the U.S. was forced to drop charges of collusion against him for lacked evidence. He faces possible execution if he is sent back to Saudi Arabia. (NYT, WP) (see 9/9)

IDF opens fire with rubber bullets, live ammunition, teargas, percussion grenades on Palestinians protesting bulldozing of land nr. Neve Dalim settlement, injuring 4. (PCHR 1/24) (see 1/21)

Israel launches Ofek-4 satellite to spy on Iran, Iraq, Syria, but it disintegrates before entering orbit. (ITV 1/23 in WNC 1/27; WT 1/24; MM 1/26; JP 2/7)