Sunday, May 14, 2000

At a PC mtg., PA chief negotiator `Abid Rabbuh resigns in protests after learning that secret PA-Israeli final status talks recently started in Stockholm. The Stockholm talks are being held btwn. Israel's Internal Security M Ben Ami, lawyer Gilead Sher and PC speaker Qurai`, PC mbr. Hassan Asfour, PSF chief Muhammad Dahlan. (MENL 5/15; MENA 5/15 in WNC 5/16; NYT, WT 5/16)

U.S. Consul General John Herbst delivers Arafat a letter fr. Pres. Clinton regarding the peace process. No details are released. (MENL 5/15)

PA, Israeli interim issue team meet. PA interim affairs negotiator Saeb Erakat says Arafat instructed him to discuss only the immediate demand that 230 Palestinian prisoners be released. Israeli negotiator Eran, however, asks that the Palestinian demonstrations in support of the prisoners be halted so the talks can be held in a positive atmosphere. (NYT, WT 5/15)

Across the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians marking the 52d anniversary of the Nakba hold demonstrations to protest the continued detention of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and to demand that the PA push the refugee issue in negotiations with Israel. In several locations, the IDF clashes with protesters, opening fire with live ammunition and rubber bullets, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding at least 30. 2 IDF soldiers are also injured. The worst clashes are in nr. Netzarim junction in Gaza and in Nablus, Qalqilya, and Ramallah in the West Bank. (AYM 5/14 in WNC 5/17; NYT, WP, WT 5/15; MEI 5/19)

Some 150 Palestinians fr. Dahaysha, Aida, Azza refugee camps nr. Bethlehem make a symbolic visit to the sites of their villages of origin, which were destroyed by Zionist forces in 1948: Bayt Nattif, Zakriyya, and Bayt Jibrin. (BDL 5/15) (see 5/10)

The PA and Israel announce that the PA has captured Muhammad Dayif, a leader of Hamas's Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades who is Israel's most wanted for allegedly organizing a series of suicide bombings in 2+n3/96. Israel also releases Salah Shihada, a Hamas leader who has been jailed for 12 yrs. It is uncertain whether the Shihada release and Dayif capture are part of a reciprocal agmt. related to the negotiations. (MM, NYT, WP 5/15; NYT 5/17; WJW 5/18)