Thursday, December 12, 1996

PA, EU sign a free trade agmt., called the "provisional association agmt.," which will go into effect in 1/97. The EU parliament will review the document for "final ratification" in 3/97. (PR 12/13)

EU special envoy Moratinos meets with Israeli FM Levy. Moratinos and Arab, Israeli leaders have agreed to set up a "red phone" to Moratinos to be used in case of any misunderstandings, emergencies among the parties. (ITV, QY 12/12 in WNC 12/16; MEI 1/24)

Arab League issues statement strongly condemning Israel's settlement activities, plans to build 132 units in East Jerusalem. (RE 12/12 in WNC 12/16) (see 12/11)

At the funeral for 2 settlers killed 12/11, Netanyahu vows to "deepen" Jewish settlements on the West Bank. PA says it has arrested 10 PFLP mbrs. in Ramallah. (MM 12/12; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/13; PR 12/20; JP 12/28; MEI 1/10)

In Kiryat Gat in s. Israel, an Israeli shoots, kills a Palestinian worker fr. Gaza, whom he claims was trying to break into his home. Palestinians say the man, Samir Abu Shaqfa, was killed to avenge the death of 2 settlers 12/11. IDF detains the settler for questioning. (MM 12/12; NYT, WP 12/13; MM, PR 12/20; JP 12/21)

The World Bank approves a $120-m. loan to Jordan to support economic reforms. The variable-rate loan is for 17 yrs., incl. a 4-yr. grace period. (World Bank press release 12/12)

ILMG says that the IDF is responsible for the 12/7 attack on 2 s. Lebanon villages that left 6 Lebanese civilians wounded,; for using internationally banned flechette shells, which spray steel darts. Israel rejects the decision. (RL 12/12 in WNC 12/13; IDF Radio 12/12 in WNC 12/16; MM, WP 12/13) (see 12/9)

Hot line btwn. U.S., Israeli defense chiefs begins operation. The new direct link is aimed at providing a "private and dedicated means for the defense chiefs of the two countries to discuss matters of mutual interest." (JP 12/28)

In Baghdad, unidentified assailants use machine guns, grenades to attack car carrying Saddam Hussein's eldest son and heir apparent, Uday. The extent of Uday's injuries is not known, though he is alive. (al-Quds al-Arabi 1/6 in WNC 1/8; WP 1/29)