Tuesday, April 27, 1999

In Gaza, the PLO Central Council (PCC) opens debate on statehood declaration, with 96 of 124 mbrs. attending. Arafat opens the mtg. by affirming Palestinians' right to independence, but recommending against declaring a state on 5/4. Hamas sends a 4 mbr. observer group led by Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, marking 1st time it has participated in a PLO mtg.; the move is criticized by Hamas political leaders in Jordan. Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine boycott. (MM 4/27; AFP, IDF Radio, JT 4/27 in WNC 4/28; MM, NYT, WP, WT 4/28; IDF Radio, MBC 4/28 in WNC 4/29; al-Ayyam 4/28, 4/29 in WNC 5/3; PR 4/30; MEI 5/7; al-Istiqlal 5/7 in WNC 5/17; CSM 5/17)

In Nablus, 1,000 Fatah mbrs. march in support of a statehood declaration on 5/4. (WT 4/28)

A Palestinian arrested by Israeli police on burglary charges on 4/27 is admitted to a Tel Aviv hospital having been beaten so severely that one of his kidneys stopped functioning. (Reuters [Internet] 5/6)

Without explanation, the GIS orders the Hamas weekly newspaper al-Risala closed "until further notice." Under pressure fr. unnamed PA officials, the paper is allowed to reopen several hrs. later. (AFP 4/27 in WNC 4/28; al-Hayat al-Jadida 4/29 in WNC 5/3; PR 4/30)

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Commission passes (52-1) a resolution reaffirming the Palestinians' right to self-determination, right to return. The U.S. votes against. (ADC press release 4/28; Xinhua 4/28 in WNC 4/29; Prime Minister's Report 4/30) (see 4/23)

Israel claims that the PA has released 3 Hamas prisoners involved in attacks in which Israelis were killed. PA, Hamas deny the story. (IDF Radio 4/27 in WNC 4/28; NYT, WP 4/28; al-Ayyam 4/28 in WNC 4/29; PR 4/30; JP 5/7)

In Washington, Israeli DM Moshe Arens meets with Secy. of State Albright, NSA Berger, Secy. of Defense Cohen for talks on Arrow missile program, Israeli receipt of 60 new F-16D fighters, regional issues. Albright, Berger criticize Israeli settlement policy. (USIS Washington File 4/27; MM 4/28; IDF Radio, MA 5/3 in WNC 5/4; WJW 5/6; JP, MEI 5/7)

Lebanese security personnel arrest an Israeli woman, Mary Vizeman, on suspicion of spying after she is found in Tyre without a passport. Vizeman, who speaks Arabic well, claims that she came fr. Nazareth to visit a friend in Beirut. (VOL 4/28 in WNC 4/29; JP 5/7)

Hizballah attempts to capture 2 IDF/SLA posts in s. Lebanon, wounding 8 IDF soldiers, 3 SLA mbrs. IDF shells Hizballah targets in response, wounding 2 civilians. (VOL 4/27 in WNC 4/28; MM 4/28)