Thursday, May 31, 2001

Israeli-Palestinian clashes leave a total of 2 Palestinian, 1 Jewish settler dead. Israeli DM Ben-Eliezer approves deployment of special forces units to bolster the IDF in the West Bank; some units will operate undercover, lying in ambush for Palestinian attackers, while others will operate overtly in a show of force. Jewish settlers increase vigilante attacks in the West Bank, shooting at and stoning Palestinian cars, beating a group of Palestinians nr. Nablus. In Bethlehem, a Palestinian, previously questioned by the PSF for selling land to Israelis, is killed in a drive-by shooting outside his home, raising speculation that Palestinians targeted him as a collaborator. (HA, MM, NYT 6/1; HP 6/2)

In Washington, Israeli pres. Moshe Katsav meets separately with Bush, Powell; asks the U.S. to set a deadline for the Palestinians to halt attacks on Israel. Bush makes no commitment. Afterwards, Katsav says Bush did not ask Israel not to retaliate against Palestinian attacks; warns Arafat that he has a "few days, no more" to end the violence or face a sharply escalated IDF military response. Powell phones Arafat and asks him to "implement the Mitchell Comm.'s call for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire." (JP [Internet] 5/31; WP, WT 6/1; WJW 6/7)

Orient House head and PLO Jerusalem Affairs M Faisal Husseini dies unexpectedly of a heart attack in Kuwait. (BBC, CNN, HA, JP [Internet] 5/31; AFP 5/31 in WNC 6/1; MM, WP, WT 6/1; DUS 6/11 in WNC 6/12; al-Quds 6/20 in WNC 6/22)