Sunday, October 17, 1999

At the weekly cabinet mtg., PM Barak says that although he still has not found a suitable person to lead the final status team, comprehensive staff work has been done to formulate Israel's position in the political-security sphere and on the subject of economic separation. (MM 10/18; al-Quds 10/19 in WNC 10/20; AYM 10/21 in WNC 10/25; WT 10/23)

Opening of s. safe-passage route, scheduled for today, is delayed for 2d time, because Israeli, PA officials cannot agree on the location of a joint office in Gaza that would hand out travel permits to Palestinians. (WP 10/17; AYM 10/21 in WNC 10/25) (see 10/4)

In Damascus, Syrian pres. Asad receives Jordanian FM Khatib for talks on the peace process, briefing on King Abdallah's mtg. with Pres. Clinton. (GIU 10/18; CSM 10/19; SA 10/20 in WNC 10/21)

Arab Human Rights Organization calls on Jordan to immediately release the 20 Hamas political leaders, activists it has detained since 8/31. King Abdallah says he believes that a "formula" can be reached to resolve the issue. The Muslim Brotherhood is still mediating. (AFP 10/19, JT 10/20 in WNC 10/21; WT 10/20; JT 10/21 in WNC 10/22; MEI 10/29) (see 9/22)

Jordan's Interior Min. says that it has detained 3 Israeli Arabs on charges of selling Palestinian land in Jerusalem to Israelis using forged land-sale affidavits. 3 other men are wanted. (al-Quds 10/19 in WNC 10/21; JT 10/31 in WNC 11/2)

Israeli Interior M Sharansky rescinds the regulation allowing the residency rights of East Jerusalem Palestinians to be revoked on the grounds that their tax, water, electricity, rental, school or enrollment records suggest they may have lived outside the city for some time during the past 7 yrs.; does not say whether Palestinians who had their residency revoked under this law will have their rights restored. (MM, NYT 10/18; al-Quds 10/18, AYM 10/19 in WNC 10/21; al-Quds 10/21 in WNC 10/25; JP 10/29) (see 7/20)

Some 5,000 Jewish settlers, angered by Barak's plans to fully or partially dismantle 12 settlements, protest outside the PM's home. (MM, WP, WT 10/18; AYM 10/19 in WNC 10/21; MEI 10/29)

In Nazareth, a group Muslim Palestinians angry over the city's plans to construct a large plaza next to the Church of the Annunciation on a site that was slated for construction of a mosque attack, slightly injure the town's Christian mayor, Ramiz Jaraisi. Israeli police arrest 2 suspects. (WT 10/18, 10/20) (see 4/20)

A new press and publication law goes into effect in Jordan, replacing the controversial 1998 press law. While the new version lifts the ban on nearly 1,000 books, reduces the amounts that journalists can be fined for violations, and lowers the minimum capital a newspaper must hold to be licensed, the Jordan Press Association cautions that it does not ban the arrest of journalists for political reasons. (JT 10/18 in WNC 10/19; JT 10/30 in WNC 11/2)