Wednesday, May 22, 1996

In Gaza, PC opens weekly 2-day session. Palestinian journalists strike for 2 hrs., refusing to cover PC mtg., to protest PA intimidation, mistreatment, bureaucratic stonewalling of their attempts to gather news. (VOP 5/23 in FBIS 2/24; VOP 5/23 in FBIS 5/28; PR 5/31; JP 6/1)

Israeli FM Dir. Gen. Uri Savir says Israel is ready to resume negotiations with Lebanon, Syria; says if Lebanon comes to the table, Israel could withdraw fr. the s. in 2+n3 mos. (QY 5/22 in FBIS 5/22)

PM Peres approves construction of 450 houses in Tsamarot settlement in the West Bank; approves money for plan without convening the special ministerial comm. on settlements, as required; gives oral promise to Oranit settlers' council mbrs. that Oranit will be annexed to the Jerusalem municipality. (MA 5/28 in FBIS 5/29)

In Amman, Jordan, PLO discuss activating the special follow-up comm. on Jerusalem, which was formed during the extraordinary Arab parliamentary session held in Amman 12/95. (JTV 5/22 in FBIS 5/23)

PLO Exec. Comm. holds 1st mtg. in Gaza, appoints Mahmud Abbas to replace Jamil Surani as secy., meaning Abbas would succeed Arafat as PLO head were Arafat to be incapacitated. (VOP 5/22 in FBIS 5/22)

Hamas officials Sayyid Abu Musamih, Muhammad Shamaa meet with jailed spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin in an Israeli prison hospital, obtain his support for their moderate political stand, ask him to call for a halt to Hamas military operations. (MM 5/23; PR 5/31; JP 6/1)