Friday, December 24, 1999

Barak approves construction of 70 new housing units in 2 Golan Heights settlements, saying that as long as Israel has no agmt. with Syria, settlement expansion will continue. (NYT 12/25)

Israel announces that PM Barak will lead a 5 mbr. steering comm. on talks with Lebanon, which Israel hopes will open within wks. (NYT, WT 12/25)

Artillery exchanges in s. Lebanon resume after an undeclared 3-day cease-fire, requested by the Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group (ILMG) to allow the UN and Red Cross to collect the bodies of 5 Hizballah mbrs. killed in recent fighting. The cease-fire is the longest in s. Lebanon in 20 yrs. (NYT, WT 12/25; JP 12/31)

A briefcase containing a pipe bomb explodes in Natanya bus station in Israel. No one is injured, no suspects are detained. (NYT 12/25)

PA police surround the Qatari diplomatic mission in Gaza, where Issam Abu Issa, a Qatari citizen and the fmr. head of privately run Palestine International Bank (PIB), has sought refuge. The PA seeks his arrest on embezzlement charges. (AFP 12/24 in WNC 12/27; SA 12/26 in WNC 12/28; MEI 1/28)