Sunday, January 24, 1999

Israel declines U.S. invitation to hold trilateral mtg. with the PA in Washington in 2/99 to discuss Wye implementation. Israeli FM Sharon says time is not right. (YA 1/25 in WNC 1/26) (see 1/17)

Ousted DM Mordechai joins the new Shahak-Meridor party. Netanyahu terms Mordechai "immoral" for consorting with centrists. (NYT, WP, WT 1/25; MA 1/25 in WNC 1/26) (see 1/23)

Israelis of Rumanian origin establish new political party, the Progressive Center Party. 14 requests to form new parties have been submitted since the last Knesset elections. Only 3 have been approved. (MA 1/25 in WNC 1/26)

Arab League mtg. on Iraq convenes in Cairo. Iraq attends but walks out in protest of what it calls a biased final statement that could give the U.S. a pretext to launch more airstrikes. The statement expresses "deep concern" over, but does not denounce, 12/98 U.S.-led attack; insists Iraq recognize Kuwait, comply with UN resolutions as a prelude to sanctions relief. Participants agree to set up ministerial comm. to work toward lifting economic sanctions on Iraq in accordance with a specific UN compliance time table. (WP 1/24; AFP, MENA, RE 1/24, al-Ayyam, al-Dustur, MENA, SANA 1/25 in WNC 1/26; MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/25; MENA, al-Quds al-Arabi 1/25, al-Safir 1/26 in WNC 1/27; MM, WT 1/26; MENA 1/28 in WNC 1/29; MEI 1/29)

48 Hamas, Islamic Jihad prisoners in the PA's Nablus, Jericho, Jneid jails begin hunger strike to protest the PA's failure to adhere to the PC's 1/13 call to free political prisoners held without charge at the end of Ramadan. (LAW, MEI, PR 1/29) (see 1/17)

Jewish settlers bulldoze Palestinian land nr. Bethlehem, including property of a historic monastery, to expand Efrat settlement. (INFOPAL 1/25)

U.S. planes attack 2 more Iraqi missile sites in the n. no-fly zone. (NYT, WP 1/25)