Monday, July 31, 2000

U.S. Asst. Secy. of State Walker arrives in Egypt for a mtg. with Pres. Mubarak. This is Walker's 1st stop a 15-day trip to Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and the UAE to urge Arab leaders to put pressure on Arafat to accept compromises on Jerusalem. (MM 7/31; MENA 7/31 in WNC 8/1; MM 8/1; WT 8/2; WJW 8/3; DUS 8/6 in WNC 8/7)

PM Barak survives Knesset votes (50-50, with 8 abstentions, 12 MKs absent; 53-48) on 2 no-confidence motions. (MM 7/31; NYT, WT 8/1)

The Knesset elects (63-57) the relatively obscure Iranian-born Likud MK Moshe Katsav over One Israel MK Shimon Peres, a 3-time PM and Nobel laureate, to replace Weizman as pres. Israeli public opinion polls prior to the vote showed Peres as the popular choice over Katsav by 63% to 20%, with 17% undecided. Katsav captured the votes of Sephardic and Russian MKs (with Shas voting as a bloc for him) because of his Sephardic background and of ultra-Orthodox MKs, who voted for him as a protest to Barak, who openly favored Peres. (MM 7/31; ATL 7/31 in WNC 8/1; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/1; ATL 8/1, SA 8/2 in WNC 8/3; WJW 8/3; JP, WP 8/11)

Acting on a tip, Israeli police arrest a Jewish resident of Jerusalem found with 3 rifles and a great deal of ammunition in his car. Police suspect he was en route to the West Bank to sell the arms, ammunition to settlers planning an attack on Palestinian targets. (MA 8/1 in WNC 8/2)