Chronology 16 November 1999-15 February 2000

In Jerusalem, U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross meets with Israeli FM David Levy to discuss progress on final status talks. Although they discuss differences btwn. Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) delaying the 2d stage of the 2d further redeployment (FRD) outlined in Wye II, Ross says the problem should be worked out btwn. the 2 sides. Later in the day, Ross meets with PA head Yasir Arafat. (MM 11/16; WP 11/17; MEI 11/26)
    In Amman, the PA-Jordanian Joint Technical Comm. ends a 2-day mtg. on bilateral trade and economic ties. (al-Quds 11/16 in WNC 11/22)
    Algeria says it will agree to establish diplomatic relations with Israel as soon as it withdraws fr. the Golan Heights, s. Lebanon, the occupied territories. (ANSA [Rome] 11/16; MM 11/19)
    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) expels 300 Palestinians fr. the caves in which they reside nr. Yatta on the West Bank, after declaring the area a closed military zone. (Gush Shalom press release 1/25; NYT 2/22)
    IDF troops clash with Islamic Jihad mbrs. in s. Lebanon, killing 2 mbrs. On 11/15, Lebanese PM Salim al-Huss warned Palestinian groups that it is not in Lebanon's interest for them to stage attacks on Israeli targets in or fr. Lebanese territory. (AFP 11/16 in WNC 11/21; al-Quds, al-Safir 11/16 in WNC 11/22; RL 11/19 in WNC 11/23)
    In Cairo, Egypt, Saudi Arabia close 2 days of higher comm. mtgs., agree to reduce barriers to bilateral trade. (MENA 11/16 in WNC 11/21)
In Istanbul for the 11/18-19 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mtg., U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton, Israeli PM Ehud Barak meet to discuss resuming the Syrian-Israeli track, progress on the PA-Israeli track. (MM 11/17, 11/18; SA 11/18 in WNC 11/22; NYT 11/20)
    Mbrs. of the Palestinian Bar Assn. hold a sit-in to protest the Palestinian Council's (PC) approval of Bar Association Law no. 3 of 1999, which lawyers believe restricts their work. (LAW 11/18)
    Mauritania sends its 1st official delegation to Israel since establishing diplomatic ties on 10/28. (AFP 11/17 in WNC 11/22)
    In Tehran, Iran, Qatar discuss expanding bilateral economic, political, security relations. (IRNA 11/17 in WNC 11/22)
    Lebanese PM Huss meets with Islamic Jihad reps. to discuss their resistance activities in s. Lebanon. Jihad reps. agree not to take actions that "conflict with the Lebanese government's stance." (RL 11/17 in WNC 11/22; al-Safir 11/19 in WNC 11/23) (see 11/16)
In Jerusalem, the Israeli, PA final status teams hold their 4th round of talks, begin detailing their positions on issues that will be addressed in the framework agmt. on permanent status (FAPS). The PA demands that Israel compensate Palestinians for damages suffered due to yrs. of occupation, stresses that Oslo agmts. do not give Israel the right to unilaterally decide the FRDs. (AYM 11/19 in WNC 11/23; WJW 11/25)
    On the sidelines of OSCE talks, Egyptian FM `Amr Musa discusses with U.S. Secy. of State Madeleine Albright, Israeli PM Barak, Israeli FM Levy the possibility of resuming Syrian-Israeli talks; complains that implementation of Wye II is moving too slowly. (MENA 11/18 in WNC 11/22; MENA 11/19 in WNC 11/23)
    At the OSCE talks, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey sign several agmts. to build an oil pipeline fr. Baku to Ceyhan. The U.S. pressed hard for the agmt., which is economically inviable yet will not be financed by the U.S., because it provides a route to move Caspian oil to the West that bypasses Iran, Russia. (ATL, Interfax, ITAR-TASS 11/18 in WNC 11/22; NYT, WP 11/19; Turan [Baku] 11/19, Iran News, Rossiyskaya Gazeta [Moscow] 11/20, Interfax 11/22 in WNC 11/23; NYT 11/21; MM 11/24)
    In Cairo, Egyptian, Turkish officials discuss promoting bilateral trade, establishing free trade zone. Egypt agrees in principle to export gas to Turkey. (MENA 11/18 in WNC 11/22)
Some 30-50 Jewish settlers try to seize a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem by forcing owners to sign papers renouncing their ownership. Settlers injure 1 woman during the confrontation, before police intervene. (LAW 11/19)
    The Israeli daily Ma'ariv reports that Israel is suing Iraq for $1.71 b. in damages caused by its Scud attacks during the 1991 Gulf War. The UN, which appropriates a third of Iraq's oil sale profits to pay out reparations, is expected to hear the case within the yr. (MM 11/19)
    In s. Lebanon, 1 Lebanese army soldier, 1 civilian are injured by IDF shelling. (RL 11/19 in WNC 11/23)
IDF troops storm the home of the PA security chief for Hebron, Abu Mahir al-Halawani, and arrest him. The PA complains that any problems regarding mbrs. of PA security forces should be dealt with through the Palestinian-Israeli Steering and Monitoring Comm. (SA 11/21 in WNC 11/23)
    Palestinian refugees in `Ayn al-Hilwa camp in s. Lebanon stage a sit-in to protest the increase in Lebanese army security measures at the entrances to the camp since the murder of 3 judges in nearby Sidon on 6/8, routine discrimination against refugees by the Lebanese government. (RL 11/20, SA 11/21 in WNC 11/23)
In Cairo, Egyptian FM Musa, PA Planning M Nabil Shaath end 2 days of consultations on the peace process. Shaath also meets with Arab League secy. gen. Ismat `Abd al-Majid to request that the Arab League intervene with Lebanon to ease tensions regarding Palestinian refugees (see 11/20). (MENA, 11/21, MENA, al-Nahar 11/22 in WNC 11/23)
    Israeli Education M Yossi Katz, who handles Labor party relations with the PA, says Israel bears some responsibility for the Palestinian refugee problem, should allow 100,000 Palestinian refugees to return to areas inside the Green Line. Labor says it may remove Katz fr. his party posts because of his comments. PM Barak says no refugees will be allowed to return to Israel in a final settlement. (MM 11/23, 11/24; al-Quds 12/1 in WNC 12/3; MM 12/2; JP, MM 12/3)
    Jordan "suspends" cases against all Hamas mbrs. detained since 8/30, sends 4 senior Hamas leaders (Ibrahim Ghawshah, Musa Abu Marzuq, Khalid Mishal, and Muhammad Nazzal, who were arrested 9/22) to Qatar, and releases the remaining 20 Hamas activists. (SA 11/21, AFP, DUS 11/22 in WNC 11/23; MENA 11/21, JT, SA 11/23 in WNC 11/24; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/22; MM 11/25; MEI 11/26; AYM 11/27 in WNC 12/1; JP 12/3)
    The Israeli cabinet asks the Knesset to renew the state of emergency law for 6 mos. rather than 1 yr. as has been the case since the law was adopted in 1948. The 6-mo. extension would be the 1st legislative step toward abolishing the state of emergency, under which Israel may legally hold Arabs without charge or trial and confiscate civilian goods for military use. (MEI 11/22)
    Israelis living along the n. border with Lebanon hold a 1-day strike to show concern for their safety following a withdrawal of IDF troops fr. s. Lebanon. (MM 11/22)
    Turkish officials arrive in Israel for 4 days of talks on joint tourism programs. (ATL 11/21 in WNC 11/23)
PA, Israeli final status teams hold their 5th round of talks in Ramallah. (MEI 11/26)
    With Vatican support, Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches across Israel, the Israeli-controlled occupied territories close for 2 days to protest Israel's approval of plans for a mosque nr. Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. (al-Quds 11/22 in WNC 11/23; MM, NYT, WT 11/23; WP 11/24; MEI 12/10) (see 11/3)
    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian taxi drivers go on 3-day strike to protest increase in taxes imposed by the PA. Some Palestinians stage a sit-in outside the PC to protest increased fuel prices. Some Palestinians are also refusing to pay phone bills, since rates have been lowered in Israel but not in the territories. (al-Quds 11/24 in WNC 11/29)
    Iran rejects a U.S. request to send a consular team to Tehran to promote travel btwn. the 2 countries. State Dept. says it is "high time" Iran allowed such visits since Iranian officials are routinely allowed into the U.S. (NYT, WT 11/24; WJW 12/2; NYT 12/3)
    A Turkish trade delegation arrives in Jordan on a 5-day visit to examine the Israeli-Jordanian-U.S. qualified industrial zones (QIZs). (ATL 11/23 in WNC 11/24) (see Peace Monitor)
    Turkish tourism officials meet with their PA counterparts to discuss including the PA in Turkish-Israeli joint projects. Turkey, the PA sign a bilateral agmt. on tourist packages to Bethlehem. (ATL 11/22 in WNC 11/24)
    In Tehran, Iran, Turkey discuss security on their common border, expanding economic cooperation. (IRNA 11/22 in WNC 11/23)
    Iraq halts oil exports to protest the UN's decision to extend the Oil-for-Food program for 2 wks. instead of 6 mos., as it has done in the past; says sanctions should be removed immediately. (NYT, WT 11/23)
    In s. Lebanon. 1 civilian is wounded by IDF shelling. (RL 11/22 in WNC 11/23)
The PA issues a statement saying that it "distances itself from statements made by Suha Arafat" made during Hillary Clinton's visit to Ramallah on 11/11, saying the criticisms of Israel were her own and not the PA's. The announcement was made immediately after U.S. Consul General John Herbst met with Arafat in Gaza to demand an apology. (WT 11/25, 11/28) (see Peace Monitor in JPS 114)
    The Vatican criticizes Israel for its handling of the Nazareth dispute (see 11/22), saying Israel is laying the "groundwork for future contradictions and tensions" btwn. Christians, Muslims. Muslims hold a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for the new mosque. 100s of Israeli riot police deploy around Nazareth, but no demonstrations or clashes are reported. (ANSA 11/23, AYM 11/24 in WNC 11/26; NYT, WP, WT 11/24; WJW 12/2; JP 12/3; ANSA 12/3 in WNC 12/6; MEI 12/10) (see Doc. A1).
    Jordanian police shoot, wound, arrest a man who fired a toy gun at security guards outside the Israeli emb. in Amman. (AFP 11/23 in WNC 11/24; NYT, WP 11/24; JT 11/24 in WNC 11/26)
    IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. (LAW 11/23)
    Overnight, Jewish settlers set up 4 tents on a hill nr. Bethlehem. Israel says the IDF will dismantle the unauthorized enclave if the YESHA settlers council cannot persuade the settlers to leave voluntarily. (MM 11/23)
    In Amman, 2,000 Jordanians attend solidarity rally organized by Hamas and professional unions in support of Hamas mbrs. deported on 11/21, call on the Jordanian government to step down. (JT 11/24 in WNC 11/26)
Israel's Ministerial Comm. on Jerusalem announces plans to set aside an area within the city to serve as a future "embassy row," to begin work on a ring road around Jerusalem. (NYT 11/26; AYM 11/26 in WNC 11/30; JP 12/3) (see Peace Monitor)
    In Cairo, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, PM Atif Ubayd receive Israel's Regional Cooperation M Shimon Peres for talks on the peace process, economic issues. Peres urges Egypt to convene MENA economic conference. (MENA 11/25 in WNC 11/26)
    Outside the PM's office in Jerusalem, 2,000 Israeli Arabs demonstrate for more state funds, an end to discrimination against them by the Jewish population. Police clash with demonstrators injuring several, including MKs Azmi Bishara, Talab al-Sane', Ahmad Tibi. (MM, NYT 11/25; WJW 12/2)
    Israel's chief rabbi bans crucifixes, Christmas trees fr. Israeli hotel lobbies during the millennium holidays "because they are offensive to Jews." (WP 11/25; JP 12/3; WP 12/24)
    The Lebanese army arrests Fatah cmdrs. Brig. Taha Muhammad `Abd al-Qadir (also known as Khalid Arif), Col. Khalid Shayib nr. Tyre. The PA views the arrests of the men, who have been wanted for yrs., as an attempt to pressure Palestinian refugees in final status talks. (RL 11/24 in WNC 11/26; MM 11/25; AFP 11/25 in WNC 11/29; al-Safir 11/30 in WNC 12/1; AYM 12/1 in WNC 12/2; MM 12/3) (see 10/27)
    At the close of their 4th joint economic commission session in Tehran, Iran and Syria sign a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation, agree to form a joint council of trade officials to expand private sector ties. (IRNA 11/25 in WNC 11/26)
In Moscow, Russian dep. FM Vasily Sredin meets with ambs. of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the PA, Syria and the Arab League envoy to discuss the peace process. (ITAR-TASS 11/26 in WNC 11/29)
    Chmn. of China's National People's Congress, Li Peng, arrives in Israel on a 6-day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral ties, especially in military cooperation. (XIN 11/25 in WNC 11/26, 11/29; WP, WT 11/26; XIN 11/29 in WNC 12/1; AFP 11/30 in WNC 12/1; XIN 11/30, 12/1 in WNC 12/2; NYT, WT 12/2)
    In Tulkarm, 600 Palestinians fr. West Bank refugee camps hold mtg. to demand that the PA fight for the refugees' right of return during final status negotiations. (BADIL press release 11/29)
    Palestinians in Gaza City strike to protest price hikes on basic goods, such as flour and gas; they accuse PA monopolies of banning imports fr. Israel, then increasing prices. PA says it will investigate. (MENL 11/25)
    Turkey's court of appeals upholds the death sentence against Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdallah Ocalan. The European Union (EU) warns that the decision may affect Turkey's chances of joining the EU. (MM 11/25; ATL 11/25 in WNC 11/26; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 11/26) (see 6/29)
At the UN in New York, EU officials discuss but fail to reach consensus on U.S., Israeli requests that Israel be allowed to join the UN's Western Europe regional group. (NYT 12/3) (see Peace Monitor)
    Arafat orders prices reduced on essential goods, sets maximum prices on several items, orders investigation into phone rates. Strikes, protests begun on 11/25 end. (MM 11/29; AYM 11/30 in WNC 12/2; PR 12/1)
    Israel approves construction of 1,026 new housing units in Efrat settlement nr. Bethlehem. (WT 12/1)
    The Muslim Brotherhood holds a rally in Amman to urge the Jordanian government to allow the Hamas leaders deported 11/21 to return to the kingdom. (JT 11/27 in WNC 11/29) (see 11/23)
    In Rabat, Iran, Morocco discuss expanding bilateral political, economic, cultural relations. (IRIB [Tehran] Television, IRNA 11/27 in WNC 11/29; IRNA 11/30 in WNC 12/1)
    20 Palestinian lawmakers, academics, professionals
issue a statement (the "Petition of the 20") charging that Arafat has allowed PA corruption. (MM, NYT, WP 11/29; AFP 11/29 in WNC 11/30; AYM 11/30 in WNC 12/2; WJW 12/2; AYM 12/2 in WNC 12/6; MEI 12/10) (see Doc. B1)
PA intelligence officers detain without charge 7 Palestinians who signed the Petition of the 20. Of the 7, 2 are placed under house arrest, 5 are in PA custody. (LAW 11/28; CSM, MM, NYT, WP 11/29; CSM, MM 11/30; AYM 11/30 in WNC 12/2; MM 12/1; WJW 12/2; MEI 12/10)
    Israeli police question fmr. PM Benjamin Netanyahu for 10 hrs. regarding charges that he accepted illegal favors as PM, that he took valuables belonging to the Israeli government when he left office. (MM, WT 11/29; MM 12/7) (see 10/21)
    King Abdallah of Jordan meets with Muslim Brotherhood leader `Abd al-Majid Dhunaybat as a gesture of reconciliation in the wake of the deportation of Hamas leaders 11/21 and the end of the Hamas crisis. (SA 12/1 in WNC 12/2)
In Moscow for a 2-day visit, Arafat holds talks with Russian PM Vladimir Putin on the peace process; bilateral relations in education, culture, communications, transportation; developing a regular flight route btwn. Gaza, Moscow. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS 11/29 in WNC 11/30; Interfax, ITAR-TASS 11/30 in WNC 12/1)
    PM Barak says that he will insist that the FAPS, due to be completed by 2/00, contain a PA promise that the refugees' right of return will not be raised again at a later time; reiterates that no refugees will be allowed to return to inside the Green Line. (MM 11/30; MM, WT 12/1)
    In Jerusalem, Israeli, PA final status teams hold their 6th mtg. PA team hands Israelis a letter urging PM Barak to end Jewish settlement expansion. (AFP 11/30 in WNC 12/1; AYM 11/30 in WNC 12/2; MM, WT 12/1; MENA 12/4 in WNC 12/6) (see 10/26)
    As the final status mtg. is taking place, the IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian homes, a store in al-Khader, in the West Bank, apparently as part of the expansion of Efrat settlement. (LAW 11/30; WT 12/1; MM 12/2) (see 11/26)
    PA intelligence officers arrest another 3 Palestinians who signed the 11/27 statement criticizing PA corruption. (CSM, NYT, WP 11/30; SA 12/1 in WNC 12/2; MEI 12/10)
    In Gaza, 35 opposition leaders representing the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hold mtg. in support of the Petition of the 20, call on the PA to release the detainees and allow freedom of expression. (AFP 11/29 in WNC 11/30; SA 12/3 in WNC 12/6)
On his way home fr. Moscow, Arafat stops in Cairo for a 2-day visit to brief Pres. Mubarak on the peace process, discuss increasing bilateral trade exchange. (MENA 11/30 in WNC 12/1; MENA 11/30, 12/1 in WNC 12/2)
    King Abdallah of Jordan begins a 5-day visit to Japan for talks on boosting bilateral cooperation, economic assistance to the kingdom. (JT 12/2 in WNC 12/3)
    In New York, the UN Comm. on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People meets to observe the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. (WT 12/1)
    PA intelligence officers detain for questioning another signatory of the Petition of the 20, bringing to 11 the number who have been detained. The other 9 are PC mbrs. (all Fatah mbrs.), who are immune from prosecution. Arafat has reportedly asked the PC to lift their immunity so they may be arrested. PA police also arrest 2 Palestinians suspected of distributing the leaflet. (LAW 11/30; AFP, SA 11/30 in WNC 12/1; WP 12/1; AYM 12/2 in WNC 12/6)
Chronology Source Abbreviations
AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)
ATL (Anatolia, Ankara)
AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)
CSM (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)
DUS (al-Dustur, Amman)
GIU (Global Intelligence Update, Austin)
HA (Ha'Aretz, Tel Aviv)
IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran)
JP (Jerusalem Post International Edition, Jerusalem)
JT (Jordan Times, Amman)
LAW (Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem)
LPA (London Press Association, London)
MEI (Middle East International, London)
MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)
MENL (Middle East Newsline, Internet)
MM (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT (New York Times, New York)
PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PR (Palestine Report, Jerusalem)
RL (Radio Lebanon, Beirut)
SA (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)
VIRI (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran)
WJW (Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD)
WNC (World News Connection [Internet], Washington, DC)
WP (Washington Post, Washington, DC)
WT (Washington Times, Washington, DC)
XIN (Xinhua-New China News Agency, Beijing)

Chronology compiled by Michele L. Kjorlien