Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Israeli-Palestinian clashes escalate to their highest point in recent wks. after the IDF assassinates Force 17 cmdr. Massud Ayyad, firing 4 air-to-surface rockets at his car as he drove through Jabaliyya. Israel claims Ayyad led a Gaza-based cell of Hizballah, which it asserts has been ordered by Iran to take up operations in the West Bank, Gaza. Barak, who personally ordered the assassination, publicly congratulates the IDF. A 2d Palestinian, 14 yrs. old, is fatally shot in a separate incident. Hot spots are in Bethlehem, Gaza, Hebron, Ramallah. The IDF orders 4 schools in al-Khadir shut for 2 wks.; bulldozes 5,000 dunams of Palestinian agricultural land in Halhul; directs shells, heavy machine gun fire on residential areas of Bayt Sahur (damaging the YMCA), al-Bireh, Khan Yunis, Tulkarm. Jewish settlers place caravans on Palestinian land nr. Surayf. (AP, LAW, REU 2/13; NYT, WP, WT 2/14; MENA 2/14 in WNC 2/15; NYT 2/15)

The U.S. criticizes Israel's "targeted killing" of Ayyad, saying it causes a serious deterioration in the security situation. (NYT 2/15)

Sharon's top foreign policy advisers Moshe Arens (fmr. DM), Dore Gold (fmr. amb. to the UN), Zalman Shoval (fmr. amb. to the U.S.) arrive in Washington to meet with officials fr. the White House, State Dept., Congress. (SA 2/13 in WNC 2/14; NYT 2/14, 2/15)