Sunday, May 24, 1998

PM Netanyahu, Arafat adviser Mahmud Abbas meet secretly at Netanyahu's home for brief talks on the peace process before Netanyahu leaves for China. (MM 6/12)

To mark Jerusalem Day, Israel stages largest military parade (13,000 troops) through West Jerusalem since 1973, attended by U.S. congressional delegation. Groups of right-wing Israelis try to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, march on Orient House. IDF bans Palestinian entry into Jerusalem for the day, sparking clashes btwn. IDF, Palestinians in Bethlehem. (al-Dustur, RJ 5/24 in WNC 5/27; WT 5/25; PR 5/29; MEI 6/5)

In Amman, Israeli FMin. Dir. Gen. Eytan Bentzur, Jordanian FM Fayiz Tarawnah discuss Israeli proposal for conditional withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon. Jordan stresses need for Israel to unconditionally implement UN Res. 425. (JT, al-Quds, al-Ra'i 5/25 in WNC 5/27)

In Cairo, Pres. Mubarak briefs Arafat on his trip to France. Arafat then heads to Saudi Arabia to discuss possible Arab summit. (MENA 5/24, RE 5/26 in WNC 5/27)

Syria asks Iran's help in constructing steel mills. Both countries agree to expand cultural, art exchanges to pave way for closer bilateral relations. (IRNA 5/24, 5/25 in WNC 5/27)

In Damascus, Hamas's Shaykh Yasin meets with Pres. Hafiz al-Asad. (AFP, al-Majd 5/25 in WNC 5/27) (see 5/23)

1st Lebanese municipal elections since 1963 begin. Elections are held on 4 consecutive Sundays. (RL 5/25, 5/26 in WNC 5/27; MM 5/26; al-Safir 5/27 in WNC 6/1; WP 6/1; MEI 6/5)