Wednesday, August 12, 1998

Knesset approves $543-m. increase to Israel's $8.85-b. defense budget for FY 1999. Netanyahu cited the increased threat fr. Iran following the 7/22 missile test in requesting the additional funds. (MM 8/12, 8/13; Tishrin 8/15 in WNC 8/19; CSM 8/18)

In Jerusalem, Trade M Sharansky, Jordan's Trade M Hani al-Mulqi discuss ways of expanding bilateral trade. Mulqi also meets with PM Netanyahu, hands him a letter on the peace process fr. Crown Prince Hassan. (JT 8/10 in WNC 8/11; IGPO 8/12; RJ 8/12, JT 8/13 in WNC 8/14)

In Riyadh, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has surgery to remove his gall bladder. (WP, WT 8/13)

Israel's Peace Now reports that 2,888 of 42,000 apartments in the settlements stand empty, compared with 3,200 last yr.; 5,892 apartments are under construction, compared to 5,200 last yr; annual growth in the settlements is 3.2% while construction is increasing housing supply by 15%/yr. YESHA claims data is false, says only a few hundred apartments are empty while the final touches are applied before they can be occupied; claims 7,200 apartments are under construction to meet natural growth. (YA 8/13 in WNC 8/14)