Wednesday, February 26, 1997

Israeli ministerial comm. unanimously approves Har Homa construction plan, says 3,015 housing units for Arabs may be built adjacent to the Har Homa settlement, but does not approve any funding for their construction. (Since 1990, Israel has allowed Arabs to build only 663 units in East Jerusalem, while allowing Israelis to build 13,835 units.) (MM 2/26; SANA 2/26 in WNC 2/27; MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/27; WP 3/2; JP 3/8) (see 2/19)

King Hussein sends an envoy to Israel to urge Netanyahu to reconsider the Har Homa decision. (WP 2/27) (see 2/25)

The Jordan-Israel Aqaba-Elat Comm. convenes in Aqaba. (al-Aswaq 2/27+n28 in WNC 3/3)

3 leftist Jordanian parties (Jordanian Arab Ba'th Socialist Party, the pan-Arab National Action Party, the Arab Land Party) announce they are merging to form the Jordanian Nationalist Democratic Front. Jordanian elections are 9 mos. away; Jordan's 26 official parties are trying to work out common platforms to field candidates on united lists. (JT 2/27 in WNC 3/3)

Turkey says it is considering recalling its envoys fr. Tehran amid a diplomatic crisis sparked by Iran's perceived support for Turkish Islamists who are politically opposed to the Turkish military, which advocates government secularism. (AFP 2/27 in WNC 3/4)

In Washington, the family of Alisa Flatow, killed in the 4/9/95 suicide bombing in the Gaza Strip, file a $150-m. lawsuit against Iran. The federal Antiterrorism Act of 1996 allows families of victims of terrorism to bring civil actions against countries designated by the State Dept. as sponsors of terrorism. Lawyers claim the bombing was carried out by Islamic Jihad, with Iran's financial backing. (WT 2/27; WJW 3/6; JP 3/8)