Monday, December 13, 1999

PM Barak tells his cabinet that although he had made no new commitments to Syria in order to resume talks, he "would not erase" any promises made in previous negotiations under PMs Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, or Benjamin Netanyahu. (CSM, NYT, WP 12/14)

At the Knesset, PM Barak gives a speech, telling Israelis to prepare to pay "a heavy territorial price" for peace with Syria. After 7 hrs. of debate, MKs pass (47-31, with 24 abstentions, 18 absent) a vote of confidence giving Barak a mandate to negotiate with Syria. 1,000s of Golan settlers demonstrate outside. (CSM, MM, NYT, WP 12/14; CSM 12/15; WJW 12/16)

Russian dep. FM Sredin arrives in Amman for a 2-day visit. He discusses the peace process with the Russian rep. to the PA and Russian ambs. to Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria. (ITAR-TASS 12/14 in WNC 12/15)

In Bayt Awa, nr. Hebron, IDF commandos searching for 2 wanted Hamas mbrs. storm a house, killing 2 Palestinians, arresting 3. DM Efraim Sneh admits that there was a "contract" out for 1 of the men for killing an undercover Israeli border policeman in 1/99. (WT 12/14; NYT, WP 12/15; VIRI 12/15 in WNC 12/16; LAW 12/16; JP, MEI 12/24)

The U.S. reports the arrest in the Middle East of 13 mbrs. of a suspected terrorist group with links to Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden that was believed to be planning New Year's attacks around the world. (NYT, WP 12/14; WT 12/15)