Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue. In a predawn strike, IDF bulldozers move into Brazil camp in PA-controlled Rafah under cover of tank, machine gun fire to demolish 20 Palestinian homes, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding at least 14, leaving 150 homeless. Israel claims the aim of the 4-hr. assault was to halt sniper fire fr. the area. (AP, BBC, NYT, REU 5/2; BDL, NYT, WP, WT 5/3; al-Quds 5/3 in WNC 5/4; LAW, MM 5/4; MEI 5/18)

In Washington, Israeli FM Peres discusses with Secy. of State Powell Israel's position on the Jordanian-Egyptian initiative, urges the U.S. to help arrange a cease-fire. Powell, echoing Israel's positions, says the U.S. it supports the Arab proposal as the "beginning of a dialogue. But, of course, that dialogue cannot get underway until violence is brought down" significantly; he does not mention the Israeli attack on Brazil hrs. earlier. The State Dept., however, denounces the Brazil attack as "undermin[ing] the efforts to defuse the situation." (MENA 5/2 in WNC 5/3; WP, WT 5/3; MM 5/4)

At a mtg. of his inner cabinet held in the Jewish settlement of Ofra, Sharon says that he cannot foresee Israel ever ceding sovereignty over the Jordan Valley "from the Jordanian border in the east to the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Allon Road in the west." (JP [Internet] 5/3; WJW 5/10)