Thursday, October 21, 1993

PLO and Israeli negotiators in Taba, Egypt, reach agreement on initial release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Release of several hundred prisoners-including women, the ill, and those under 18 or over 50- is first step toward release of the estimated 11-13,000 Palestinians in Israeli custody. Israeli statisticshow 12,500 Palestinians held by IDF and prisons authority. (NYT, WP 10/22)

Fateh official As'ad Saftawi, 58, headmaster of UNRWA school in Burayj refugee camp, shot to death by 2 masked gunmen. Saftawi is 3d Fateh figure killed in Gaza since 9/13 signature of PLO-Israel DoP. "Arab Palestine Organization" claims responsibility for assassination fr. Damascus. Group is apparently made up of former mbrs. of PFLP-GC. (NYT, WP, WT 10/22)

Arab League boycott officials postpone 10/24 meeting to discuss maintaining or widening Arab boycott of Israel after U.S. protests, PLO lobbying against extension of ban on trade with Israel. (WT 10/22)

U.S. envoy Ross travels to Damascus for meetings with Syrian Pres. al-Asad, FM al-Shara' on advancing Israeli-Syrian track of peace negotiations. Egyptian Pres. Mubarak meets in Jeddah with Saudi King Fahd on same issue. (MM 10/21)

PLO Chmn. Arafat arrives in Paris for 2- day visit to meet French Pres. Mitterand, other officials, opposition figures to discuss EC support for DoP. (MM 10/21)