Sunday, August 8, 1999

The Israeli cabinet releases a statement saying that "in the absence of agreed-upon changes, the countdown for implementation of the [Wye] agreement will begin on September 1." Arafat welcomes Israel's plan to resume implementation in 9/99, but still does not approve of Barak's plan to draw out the Wye schedule. (CSM, MM, WT 8/9; CSM 8/10)

At the request of Israeli PM Barak and after consulting with Arafat and Asad, Secy. of State Albright postpones her trip to the Middle East, which was to start next wk. (IDF Radio 8/8 in WNC 8/9; MM, WP, WT 8/9; MM, NYT, WP 8/10; WJW 8/12; JP 8/13) (see 8/6)

Shaykh Hamad Bin-Khalifa al-Thani, emir of Qatar, meets with Arafat in Gaza, making him the 1st Gulf leader to visit the occupied territories since the PA was established. The emir is on a regional tour, which will also take him to Lebanon (8/8-9), Algeria (8/9-10), Morocco (8/11). (RL 8/8 in WNC 8/9; al-Quds 8/9, MAP [Rabat], TT 8/11 in WNC 8/13)

In Damascus, the PFLP briefs 8 Syrian-based opposition groups on its reconciliation talks with Arafat in Cairo 8/1-2; some groups recommend halting contacts with the PFLP if it holds further mtgs. Fatah, the PA. DFLP is not invited to the briefing; it has been banned fr. opposition mtgs. since Nayif Hawatimah shook hands with Israeli pres. Weizman at King Hussein's funeral in 2/99. (AFP, MBC, 8/9 in WNC 8/10) (see 8/6)

IDF lifts curfew on Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled sector of Hebron. (LAW 8/8) (see 8/4)

PA announces that it has arrested 3 Hamas leaders in Gaza. Israel has pressured the PA to crack down on Hamas since the Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for shooting 2 Jewish settlers in Hebron on 8/3. (WP 8/9) (see 8/7)