Thursday, May 16, 1996

In Bethlehem, 2-day Palestinian Council (PC) mtg. closes. (PBC, VOP 5/16 in FBIS 5/17; PR 5/24)

Israeli television reports that the PA's Yasir Arafat suffered a minor stroke earlier in the wk., while in Cairo. PA says he collapsed fr. a severe case of the flu, exhaustion. (ITV 5/16 in FBIS 5/17; AFP 5/19 in FBIS 5/20; Rose al-Yusuf 5/20 in FBIS 5/30)

Israel asks the PA to extradite 4 Palestinians serving sentences in PA jails for attacks inside Israel. PA says that since the men have been tried, convicted, and are serving time for the crimes under PA custody, the PA has no legal obligation to turn them over to Israel. (QY 5/16)

IDF tightens closure on West Bank, Gaza. Only Palestinians working in the Erez industrial zone may go to their jobs. Goods, produce may go through Qarni, Sufa crossing points. 50 Palestinian reporters will be allowed in to cover the run-up to the 5/29 Israeli elections. (QY 5/16 in FBIS 5/16; MEI 5/24) (see 5/13)

IDF declares Ramallah a closed military zone for Arafat's visit, meaning no Israeli traffic may enter the city. An identical closed military zone order for Nablus is lifted (see 5/15). (IDF Radio 5/16 in FBIS 5/17)

In Washington, France, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, the U.S. end a wk. of talks on the Israeli-Lebanese cease-fire monitoring group; agree on draft for monitoring procedures, send it to their respective capitals for approval. (MM 5/16; RL, RMC, SARR 5/16, QY 5/17 in FBIS 5/17; MM 5/17; WP 5/18; VOL 5/17, RL 5/19 in FBIS 5/20; MEI 5/24) (see 5/15)

In Ankara, Jordanian King Hussein, Turkish Pres. Suleyman Demirel hold 1-day mtg. on bilateral issues, incl. water, Iraq. Demirel assures king that Turkey's military cooperation agmt. with Israel does not harm Jordan's security. King Hussein says talks are positive, sides agree on all issues. (al-Dustur, RJ 5/16 in FBIS 5/16; MM 5/17)

Israeli authorities release information on man involved in the 4/12 East Jerusalem hotel explosion. They say the man, Husayn Maqdad, is a Lebanese Hizballah operative who was plotting a plane hijacking; claim he spent time at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Hizballah denies having contact with him. (MM 5/16; AFP, QY 5/16 in FBIS 5/16; IDF Radio 5/16, QY 5/17 in FBIS 5/17; MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/17; PR 5/24; JP 5/25) (see 4/14)

In Nazareth, Israeli PM Shimon Peres meets with Israeli Arab voters to build their support, weakened by the closure of the territories and Israel's 4/96 assault on Lebanon. (NYT 5/18)

Israel launches its 1st commercial satellite, AMOS-I. (MM 5/16; JP 5/25)