Sunday, October 22, 2000

The Arab League closes its 2-day emergency session, issuing a nonbinding resolution calling for a $1 b. Palestinian aid fund, recommending Arab states postpone further normalization with Israel. Tunisia orders Israel to shut its representative offices it Tunis. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/23; MENA 10/23; HJ, IRNA 10/24 in WNC 10/25; HJ 10/24, 1025 HJ, SA 10/26 in WNC 10/30; WJW 10/26; MEI 10/27)

Barak formally suspends the peace process. In response, Arafat states that Palestinians have a right to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and "to accept it or not to accept--let [Barak] go to hell." Meanwhile, Israeli-Palestinian clashes escalate further, leaving 4 Palestinians dead, over 100 injured; 2 others die of injuries received earlier. The most violent exchange is nr. Bethlehem, where the IDF orders residents of Aida camp, Bayt Jala, Bayt Sahur to evacuate their homes before ordering machine guns, tanks, and helicopter gunships to fire into the area, targeting buildings fr. which snipers shot into nearby Gilo settlement and destroying 2 Palestinian factories, several houses, a power plant. The gunfire continues overnight. In Gaza, the IDF bulldozes Palestinian agricultural land along roads leading to Morag settlement. Israel also recloses the Gaza airport, reinstates the internal closure on PA areas, shuts crossings into Egypt and Jordan. (ADM 10/22; BDL, LAW, MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/23; MM 10/24; MA 10/24 in WNC 10/25; MEI 10/27; AYM 11/12 in WNC 11/13)

In Cairo, 1,000s of Egyptian students protest the failure of the Arab League summit to cut ties with or to call for military action against Israel. There are also reports of at least 1 Palestinian protest in Bethlehem denouncing Arab leaders, especially Mubarak, for the weak Arab League statement. Other rallies in support of the Palestinians are held in Bahrain, London, Ottawa. (WP 10/23; HJ 10/24, SA 10/26 in WNC 10/30; Bahrain Freedom Movement press release 10/25; MM 10/26)

Barak announces an inquiry will be held into the deaths of Israeli Arabs during the recent clashes and a 4-yr. development plan for Israeli Arab areas. Israeli Arabs complain that the inquiry's recommendations will be nonbinding. (NYT 10/23; WJW 10/26; MM 10/30)