Thursday, February 25, 1999

The PA rejects Israel's offer to partially implement the expired Wye agmt. by opening the open s. safe passage route, releasing more criminal prisoners; says that any proposal for partial implementation must include transfer of land. (NYT, WP 2/26)

In a 1-hr. trial, PA military court finds Palestinian Col. Ahmad Abu Mustafa guilty of kidnapping, raping a 6-yr.-old boy; sentences him to death for "inciting the public against the Palestinian Authority." 2,000 Palestinians stage demonstration in Gaza to demand Abu Mustafa's punishment. (NYT 2/26; NYT, WT, WP 2/27; PR 3/5; MEI 3/12)

Bashar al-Asad, son of Syrian pres. Hafiz al-Asad, goes to Amman to offer condolences to King Abdallah on the passing of King Hussein. (MM 2/26)

Israeli High Court rules (3-2) that American Samuel Sheinbein, charged committing murder in the U.S. in 9/97, is a citizen of Israel, cannot be extradited, will be tried in Israel. The decision reverses a lower court judgement that Sheinbein did not qualify for automatic citizenship through his father, who was born in Mandated Palestine. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/26; WJW 3/4; JP 3/5) (see 9/5/98)

Saudi businessman Salih Idris, whose pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was bombed by the U.S. in 8/98 for allegedly housing chemical weapons for Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, files suit against the U.S. Treasury Dept. for freezing his London assets without formally declaring him linked to a designated terrorist, as the law demands. The U.S. has never given proof of Idris's ties to Bin Laden. (WP 2/26; WT 2/27; see also WP, WT 2/4)

Turkish officials allow 2 lawyers for Ocalan to see the jailed PKK leader for the 1st time. The mtg. lasts 20 minutes; jailers confine the discussion to Ocalan's health, forbid discussion of his case. Afterward, 1 lawyer is arrested for maintaining ties to the PKK. The other, Ahmet Zeki Okcuoglu, quits, saying his life is in danger. (NYT, WT 2/27)

Rockets are fired fr. s. Lebanon into n. Israel, damaging a house but causing no injuries. Israel blames Hizballah, which denies responsibility. (AFP 2/28 in WNC 3/1; MM 3/1)