Chronology 16 May-15 August 2000

16 MAY
Across the West Bank and Gaza, clashes subside btwn. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian demonstrators as the IDF, Palestinian Authority (PA) police cooperate to disperse the protesters, who are marking the 52d anniversary of the Nakba and demanding the release of Palestinians held by Israel. Around 50 Palestinians suffer light injuries. (CSM, WP 5/17; MENA 5/16 in WNC 5/17; WJW 5/18) (see 5/15)
    U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross meets with PA head Yasir Arafat in Ramallah, Israeli PM Ehud Barak in Jerusalem. (CSM, NYT, WP, WT 5/17; al-Quds 5/17 in WNC 5/18)
    In preparation for a withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon, the IDF turns over its naval radar station at Ras Bayada on the Mediterranean to its proxy militia, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), and begins moving heavy equipment out of Surayqi post nr. Marjauyun. (WT 5/17; NYT 5/18) (see 5/15)
    Also in s. Lebanon, an elementary school in Arab Salim is hit by 3 IDF shells. Fortunately, the strike occurs during recess, when children are outside the building, so there is some material damage but no injuries. A similar incident at the same school on 12/16/99 injured 20 students. (MM, WT 5/17)
17 MAY
In the West Bank and Gaza, sporadic clashes btwn. Palestinians, IDF continue for the 4th day. No injuries are reported. (NYT 5/18)
    U.S. special envoy Ross returns to Washington. (State Dept. press briefing 5/17)
    In the Knesset, 2 opposition bills that would limit PM Barak's margin of maneuver in the peace talks with the PA pass initial readings. MKs approve, however, the cabinet's 5/15 decision to transfer 3 Palestinian villages nr. Jerusalem (Abu Dis, Azariyya, Sawahara al-Sharqiyya) to full PA control, which is expected to take place before PM Barak leaves for the U.S. (MENL, MM 5/17; Hatzofe 5/17 in WNC 5/22; MM, NYT 5/18; al-Quds 5/23 in WNC 5/24; al-Quds 5/26 in WNC 5/31)
    The Acting Council of the Palestinian Bar Association revokes the accreditation of a 38th Palestinian lawyer working for a human rights organization in Jerusalem. (LAW 5/18) (see 5/9)
    Palestinian teachers cancel their strike and return to classrooms to express solidarity with Palestinians injured in recent clashes with the IDF. They have still not reached a settlement with the PA regarding their salaries. (MENL 5/17) (see Peace Monitor in JPS 116)
18 MAY
PA, Israel resume their Stockholm channel of final status talks. (IsRN MM 5/18; NYT 5/20)
    In the heaviest fighting in 2 wks., 2 IDF soldiers, 2 SLA mbrs., 1 Hizballah mbr., 1 soldier with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and 4 Lebanese civilians are injured in s. Lebanon. Recently, Hizballah has stepped up attacks on the IDF and SLA, wanting Israel's withdrawal fr. s. Lebanon to occur under pressure. Hizballah has also increased video taping its attacks, so they can be aired on Lebanese television. (MM, NYT, WP 5/19)
    The PA High Court voids the Acting Council of the Palestinian Bar Association's revocation of the certification of 38 Palestinian lawyers, allowing them to practice legally again. (MENL 5/18) (see 5/17)
19 MAY
In Gaza, Palestinians holding a demonstration for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel clash with IDF troops nr. a large Jewish settlement. 1 soldier, 1 PA policeman, 4 Palestinians are wounded by live ammunition. (MM 5/19; NYT, WT 5/20; AYM 5/22 in WNC 5/23)
20 MAY
On their 7th straight day, Palestinian demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza escalate again (see 5/14-15), leaving 100 Palestinians injured. The worst fighting takes place in Hebron, Jinin, Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarm. Since 5/14, 5 Palestinians have been killed, some 600 injured. (NYT, WP, WT 5/21; AYM 5/22 in WNC 5/23)
    In s. Lebanon, the IDF attacks a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) base a mile fr. the Syrian border, destroying 10 tanks, killing 3 PFLP-GC mbrs., wounding 3 others. (WP, WT 5/21)
    With increased fighting in s. Lebanon and the occupied territories, PM Barak cancels plans to leave today for the U.S. to meet with Pres. Bill Clinton (5/22-23) and American Jewish leaders (5/21) and to address the annual American Israel Public Affairs Comm. (AIPAC) conference (5/22). (NYT, WP, WT 5/21; AYM 5/22 in WNC 5/23, 5/24)
21 MAY
    King Abdallah of Jordan flies to Damascus to hold talks with Syrian pres. Hafiz al-Asad before heading to Washington to meet with Pres. Clinton next wk. (IsRN 5/21; DUS 5/21 in WNC 5/22; MM 6/8)
    In the PA-controlled West Bank city of Jericho, a molotov cocktail is thrown at a car, critically injuring an Israeli child. In response, Barak recalls his negotiators fr. final status talks with the PA in Stockholm; postpones today's transfer of 3 Palestinian villages nr. Jerusalem (Abu Dis, Azariyya, Sawahara al-Sharqiyya) fr. jointly controlled area B to PA-controlled area A; and bans Israeli travel to Jericho, which makes its revenue fr. a casino that is popular with Israeli tourists. (CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/22; AYM, al-Quds 5/22 in WNC 5/23; AYM 5/22, al-Quds 5/23 in WNC 5/24; WT 5/23; MEI 6/2)
    Israel begins its withdrawal from s. Lebanon, 6 wks. before its target date of 7/7. The SLA begins to disintegrate, leaving IDF positions exposed. (MM, NYT, WP 5/22; Politiken [Copenhagen] 5/22 in WNC 5/23; CSM 5/24; MEI 6/2) (see Peace Monitor)
    The PA Preventive Security Force (PSF) shuts al-Watan TV, accusing the station of inciting violence with its broadcasts of recent Palestinian protests. (al-Haq press release 5/22) (see 5/10)
    Fmr. Syrian PM Muhammad Zubi, who had been replaced when the new government was installed on 3/13 and who had been expelled fr. the Ba`th party on 5/10 for financial corruption, commits suicide in Damascus. (MM 5/22, 5/23; MM 5/30; MEI 6/2; al-Majallah 6/4; MEI 6/16)
22 MAY
As the IDF withdraws from s. Lebanon, Hizballah mbrs. enter vacated areas, Lebanese civilians arrive en masse fr. the north to celebrate and visit, SLA mbrs. desert or flee toward Israel seeking asylum. Israeli tanks and warplanes repeated fire close to crowds to halt their advance, killing 6 civilians, including a Lebanese driver for BBC, and wounding 10s. Israeli planes also bomb IDF tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers abandoned by the SLA. (MM 5/22; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/23; Interfax, al-Quds 5/23 in WNC 5/24; WP, WT 5/24; MEI 6/2, 6/30)
    With cabinet approval, Barak orders an accelerated evacuation of IDF troops fr. the remaining half of s. Lebanon still under Israeli control and sends tanks and troops fr. deep inside Israel to reinforce the northern border. 1,000s of Israelis leave their homes in towns nr. the Lebanese border and stream south, fearing crossborder shelling fr. Hizballah. (MM 5/22; MA [Internet], MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA [Internet] 5/23; CSM, WP 5/24; AYM 5/24 in WNC 5/26)
    To speed UN verification of Israel's withdrawal fr. Lebanon, UN Secy.-Gen Kofi Annan recommends that the UN immediately expand UNIFIL fr. 4,500 to 5,600 troops and draft a "blue line" conforming to, but not constituting, the internationally recognized border. (MM, NYT, WP 5/23; MM, WT 5/24) (see Peace Monitor)
23 MAY
Israel withdraws its last troops fr. s. Lebanon, marking the end of 18 yrs. of occupation. The IDF blows up each of its remaining posts and destroys major roads leading north as it pulls out. Just before the pullout is complete, 4 Hizballah mbrs. are killed in an IDF air raid. (MM 5/23; DUS, IRNA, MENA 5/23 in WNC 5/24; IRNA 5/23, CTK [Prague], IRNA, ITAR-TASS, MENA, XIN 5/24 in WNC 5/25; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/24; AYM, DUS 5/24 in WNC 5/26; CSM, WJW, WP 5/25; AYM, DUS 5/25, CNA, IRNA, MENA 5/26, ATL 4/27 in WNC 5/30; AYM 5/25 in WNC 5/31; NYT 5/26; CSM 5/30; AYM, DUS 5/30 in WNC 6/1; DUS 5/30 in WNC 6/2; JP, MEI 6/2)
    The UN Security Council (UNSC) "strongly endorses" Secy.-Gen. Annan's 5/22 recommendations. (USIS Washington File 5/23; NYT 5/24; Interfax 5/24 in WNC 5/25)
24 MAY
UNIFIL adviser Timur Goksel says the situation in s. Lebanon is remarkably calm following the IDF pullout also and says that the real credit for this goes to Hizballah, which "has been acting very responsibly." UN special envoy Terje Larsen arrives in Beirut on the 1st leg of a 1-wk. shuttle mission to coordinate the UN's next steps with Israeli, Lebanese, Syrian officials. (MM, WT 5/24; NYT, WP, WT 5/25; ANSA, XIN 5/25 in WNC 5/26; MM, WP 5/26; MA 5/26, DUS 5/27 in WNC 5/30; MA 5/30 in WNC 5/31; JP 6/2)
    The PA allows al-Watan TV to resume broadcasts. (LAW 5/30)
25 MAY
In light of the need to expand UNIFIL, UN Secy.-Gen. Annan meets with mbrs. of Congress urge them to release money that the U.S. has pledged to UN peacekeeping. Currently, 4 missions (Congo, East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone) are underfunded because the Senate Appropriations Comm. has placed a hold on $368 m. (WT 5/26)
    Israel's Interior M Natan Sharansky meets with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, informs her of Israel's intention to establish a national body to handle requests for asylum fr. 1,500 SLA mbrs. and their families, totaling 6,420 persons in all, who have fled Lebanon with the IDF pullout. (MM 5/25; WJW 6/1; JP, MEI 6/2)
    Hizballah gen. secy. Hassan Nasrallah says that his organization will turn over to the Lebanese authorities tanks, guns, and ammunition abandoned by the IDF and SLA but does not offer to disarm itself. Nasrallah says Hizballah refuses to commit its military resources to either Syria or the Palestinians in their quests to liberate their land fr. Israel, though it supports both goals. (NYT, WP 5/26)
    The IDF lifts the ban on Israeli travel to Jericho. (NYT 5/26; JP 6/2) (see 5/21)
26 MAY
UN cartographers begin tracing the blue-line to determine whether Israel's withdrawal is complete. (MM 5/26; NYT, WP 5/27; JP, MEI 6/2)
    In Beirut, Iranian FM Kamal Kharrazi meets separately with Lebanese Pres. Emile Lahoud, PM Salim al-Huss, Hizballah's Nasrallah to discuss Israel's withdrawal fr. Lebanon. (IRNA 5/26 in WNC 5/30)
    The PSF arrests without charge Ahed Yusif, a human rights activist with the Palestinian organization Addameer who has previously criticized the PA. (B'Tselem press release 6/1)
27 MAY
In Cairo, Arafat, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak discuss Israel's withdrawal fr. Lebanon, the Stockholm talks with Israel. (MENA 5/27 in WNC 5/30)
28 MAY
U.S. Pres. Clinton phones Israeli PM Barak to congratulate him on Israel's pullout fr. Lebanon, to discuss the peace process. Barak agrees to meet Clinton in Berlin on 6/1. (WT 5/29)
    In s. Lebanon, a crowd of Lebanese, Palestinian demonstrators shouts insults and occasionally throws rocks across the border with Israel. When at least 1 Lebanese runs several yards into Israel to plant a Hizballah flag, the IDF opens fire with rubber bullets, injuring 4 demonstrators. In 2 other incidents, 2 Lebanese children are killed and 7 Lebanese wounded when their car hits an IDF land mine in a newly vacated area of s. Lebanon, and a Hizballah mbr. shoots and kills a Lebanese Christian in the 1st such incident since the Israeli withdrawal. (NYT, WP 5/29; MEI 6/2)
    Across the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians hold rallies to celebrate Israel's withdrawal fr. Lebanon, congratulate Hizballah. (IRNA 5/28 in WNC 6/1)
    In Damascus, Iranian FM Kharrazi holds talks with Syrian Pres. Asad, FM Faruq al-Shara` on Israel's unilateral withdrawal fr. Lebanon, aid for Lebanon's reconstruction, strengthening bilateral ties. (IRNA 5/28, 5/29 in WNC 5/30)
    Fmr. Syrian dep. PM for economic affairs Salim Yasin is arrested in a crackdown on corruption. His assets and those of Mufid `Abd al-Karim, a fmr. transportation official arrested a wk. ago, are seized. (MM 5/30; WT 5/31; MM 6/5) (see 5/21)
29 MAY
Following the cross-border incident on 5/28 and citing "uncertainty about the future," Barak authorizes the Israeli government to distribute weapons to residents along the border with Lebanon, telling them they may fire into Lebanon if fired upon 1st. (NYT, WT 5/30)
    A Tel Aviv court delays its ruling, set for today, on the legality of the continued detention of Lebanese prisoners Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Obeid, Mustafa al-Dirani. Obeid, Dirani have been held without charge or trial since the IDF abducted them fr. Lebanon in 1989 and 1994, respectively, to hold them as "bargaining chips" to swap for missing IDF airman Ron Arad. (NYT, WP 5/30; AYM 5/30 in WNC 6/1) (see 4/19)
30 MAY
In Jericho, PA interim issues negotiator Saeb Erakat, Israeli chief negotiator Oded Eran hold talks on Palestinian prisoners. Erakat reportedly threatens to suspend talks unless Israel agrees to release more prisoners, improve their living conditions. After Barak, Arafat discuss the issue by phone, Eran announces that Israel agrees in principle to carry out another release, still plans to carry out the 3d further redeployment (FRD) by 6/23, as required by the Wye II accord. (AYM 5/31 in WNC 6/2)
    Israel's Interior M Sharansky sends a letter to PM Barak asking him to respond to rumors of a secret deal almost completed btwn. Israel, the PA that would eventually give the PA control of more than 90% of the West Bank. Barak dismisses the substance of Sharansky's letter as "nonsense." (IMRA [Internet], MA [Internet], YA [Internet] 5/31; NYT 6/24) (see Peace Monitor in JPS 116)
    As of this date, Hizballah has taken control of providing services in s. Lebanon, including running hospitals previously supported by the IDF, dispatching mobile clinics, sending architects to plan reconstruction of Lebanese homes damaged (1,200) or destroyed (1,600) by the IDF and SLA, trucking in drinking water to compensate for the IDF shutting off a pipeline fr. Israel, clearing debris, repairing roads, sending veterinarians to check livestock, and spraying insecticides. (NYT 5/31)
    Israel agrees to accept temporary membership in the UN's Western Europe and Other Group while it works toward permanent membership in its natural regional bloc, the Asian Group. (WP, WT 5/31; NYT, WJW 6/1) (see Peace Monitor)
    The PSF shuts al-Nasr and al-Manara TV stations without giving cause. (LAW 5/30; WP 6/16) (see 5/24)
31 MAY
U.S. Amb. to Israel Martin Indyk, U.S. Consul General John Herbst meet with Arafat to assess the gaps btwn. the Israeli, PA sides on final status issues. This evening, Pres. Clinton phones Arafat to discuss plans to meet with him soon in Washington. (MM 6/1; NYT, WP 6/2; AYM 6/4 in WNC 6/8)
    Some 500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails end their 31-day hunger strike under pressure fr. the PA, which feared that the death of a hunger striker could lead to mass popular protests that could derail final status talks, which the sides hope to resume within days. In return, Israel grants prisoners more liberal family visitation, moves 5 prisoners out of solitary confinement. (AYM 5/31 in WNC 6/2; NYT 6/1; JP 6/2, 6/9) (see 5/30)
Chronology Source Abbreviations
AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)
ANSA (Associated National Press Agency, Rome)
ATL (Anatolia, Ankara)
AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)
BDL (BADIL Resource Center, Bethlehem)
CNA (Cyprus News Agency, Nicosia)
CSM (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)
DUS (al-Dustur, Amman)
HA (Ha'Aretz, Tel Aviv)
HJ (al-Hayat al-Jadida, Ramallah)
IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran)
IsRN (Israel Radio News, Internet)
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)
MA (Ma'ariv, Tel Aviv)
MEI (Middle East International, London)
MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)
MENL (Middle East Newsline, Internet)
MIL (Milliyet, Ankara)
MM (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT (New York Times, New York)
PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PR (Palestine Report, Jerusalem)
RFI (Radio France Internationale, Paris)
RMC (Radio Monte Carlo, Paris)
RTP (RTP Internacional Television, Lisbon)
SA (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)
TT (Tehran Times, 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)
YA (Yedi'ot Aharonot, Tel Aviv)

Chronology compiled by Michele L. Kjorlien

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