Thursday, May 30, 1996

With all regular ballots in the Israeli elections counted, Netanyahu is ahead by 21,399 votes (0.7 percent); Likud, Labor are losing Knesset seats; religious parties are gaining seats. 150,000 absentee and military ballots, which in the past have gone overwhelmingly to Likud, have yet to be counted. The Israeli stock market drops 5 percent, value of the shekel falls. (MM, WP 5/30; IDF Radio, QY 5/30 in FBIS 5/30; MENA, QY, SARR 5/30, JP, QY 5/31 in FBIS 5/31; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 5/31; MEI, PR 6/7)

Netanyahu says that if he wins he will work to strengthen peace btwn. Israel, "Arab states with whom Israel already has peaceful relations." (QY 5/30 in FBIS 5/31; NYT 5/31)

Aides describe Pres. Clinton as "crestfallen" over Netanyahu's probable win, believing it to be a setback to his image as a peacemaker. Yet, Clinton says that, whatever the results, the U.S. will continue its support for Israel. (MM 5/30; NYT, WP, WT 5/31) (see 5/28)

PA says it will deal with any election outcome; if Likud wins, it must still continue the peace process. (JMCC, ITV 5/30 in FBIS 5/31)

Hamas says Netanyahu win would be a declaration of war against Palestinians, Arabs. (QY, RMC 5/30 in FBIS 5/31; AFP 6/2 in FBIS 6/3)

In Tel Aviv, Labor's M Ehud Barak, Finance M Avraham Shohat, Housing M Binyamin Ben-Eliezer meet to discuss party's future. Some see mtg. as an attempt to oust PM Peres from the party; others see it as an attempt to outflank Interior M Hayim Ramon's bid for party leadership, assuming Peres will resign. Peres is furious with Barak for holding the mtg. (IDF Radio, QY 5/30 in FBIS 5/30; IDF Radio, ITV 5/31, IDF Radio 6/1 in FBIS 6/3; NYT 6/4; IDF Radio 6/5 in FBIS 6/7)

Likud opens unofficial contacts with ultraorthodox parties regarding formation of a coalition government. PM Peres says he would not consider joining a Likud-led coalition; other Labor mbrs. say they would. (QY 5/30 in FBIS 5/31; WP 5/31)

Tsomet leader Rafael Eitan says Oslo agmts. must be reopened, because the winning camp's views differ from those of the previous government. PA denounces his statement. (IDF Radio 5/30 in FBIS 5/30) (see 3/12)

In s. Lebanon, Hizballah detonates 2 roadside bombs, killing 4 IDF soldiers, wounding 7 IDF soldiers, 2 journalists, 1 SLA mbr. (VOL 5/30 in FBIS 5/30; ITV, VOL 5/30 in FBIS 5/31; MM, NYT, WT 5/31; JP 6/8)