Jerusalem Chronology

2001

Issue . 12-11
P. 93
Jerusalem Chronology
Jerusalem Chronology
FULL TEXT

1 November 2000 - 31 April 2001

November 2

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the car bomb explosion in West Jerusalem that kills to Israelis. Later, two Palestinians are killed in clashes near Jerusalem. (AFP, JMCC)

November 3

Israel places a large number of police near the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City anticipating clashes after prayer time. Only Old City residents are allowed access to the walled city. Palestinians under 45 are prohibited from entering the Haram al-Sharif area. (VOP)

November 5

Meretz party leader Yossi Sarid states that Israel should consider the Palestinian demand for a UN-administered international peacekeeping force to be deployed in the territories. However, Sarid says that the proposal should not include East Jerusalem. (HA)

November 6

Faisal Husseini, a PLO Executive Committee member and in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio, warns against continued Israeli measures in Jerusalem that will only increase the tension. "The killing of Palestinian citizens by the IDF, and the limitations Israel has imposed on Palestinian movement in East Jerusalem and on access to Islamic holy sites, prove that Israel is unable to honor its commitments as a sovereign and ruler to safeguard the welfare of the Palestinian population," he says. Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, director of al-Aqsa Mosque, denies reports that the Islamic Waqf is involved in determining the number of worshippers allowed into the mosque. He says that Israel only permits 3,000 to 4,000 people to enter the Haram al-Sharif for Friday prayers. Israel currently prevents any Palestinian under the age of 45 from attending Friday prayers at Al Aqsa. Christian leaders also complain of the lack of access to holy sites. Atallah Hannah of the Greek Orthodox Church says, "The suffering of Muslims is the same for Christians, who have trouble reaching the Old City and visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre." (AP, AYM, HA)

November 7

The Vatican says that, "no one has a monopoly on Jerusalem because the city is part of the spiritual heritage of all mankind." The Vatican's Council for Inter-religious Dialogue calls upon Israel and the Palestinians to "cease the violence and to allow free access to all the holy places." (JP)

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan suggests that the Security Council be responsible for Jerusalem's holy sites via a committee made up of Israelis, Arabs and Christians. He adds that such a body would serve as a ''administrative council (a board) with a governor'' that would resolve differences in the city. (AP) 

November 9

In Beit Sahour, Israel assassinates a Fatah member using helicopter missiles. Two female civilians are also killed in the attack. (AYM, HJ)

After meeting with President Arafat in Cairo, Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak says Arafat alone cannot decide the issue of Jerusalem. Mubarak also tells the Americans and Israelis that Israeli sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif will never be accepted if even if it continues for another 100 years. He adds that Arafat has said that Israel can maintain sovereignty over the Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall. (JMCC)

Speaking in Washington after meeting with President Clinton, Arafat says he was not referring to Barak in an earlier statement in which he said [Barak] "could go to hell" if he did not give up East Jerusalem. "'I was referring to anyone who would suspend the peace process," he states. (AP) 

November 12

The Organization of the Islamic Conference meets in Doha, Qatar. Attended by Arab and Islamic leaders from 56 member states, Arafat addresses the summit, saying, "'No' to the continuation of occupation in all of its forms in our cities and holy sites. 'No' to the Judaization of Jerusalem and the desecration of our Christian and Islamic holy sites." Showing a united front against Israel, Palestinian Christian clergymen also attend the conference, denouncing calls to give Jerusalem international status. "We do not accept an international status for Jerusalem as this would mean giving up our Arab right to the city. Jerusalem is a Palestinian Arab city and is the capital of a Palestinian sovereign state," Archmandrite Hanna says. (JMCC, JORP)

November 13

The leaders of the Islamic world conclude their summit by issuing a statement, which, among other things, says that Islamic countries will confront any attempt by the U.S. to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Participants affirm their determination to sever ties with any country that moves its embassy to Jerusalem. (HJ, JMCC)

A conference entitled "Jerusalem Today-City and People: Continuing Challenges" opens in Morocco. The conference, sponsored by the Organization of Arab Architects examines the structural, architectural and demographic transformations, from an Arab perspective, that have taken place in the city since 1967. (OAA)

In a statement, Jordan's King Abdullah demands "that the international community put an end to the injustice and suffering to which the Palestinian people are being subjected...As for Jerusalem, its cause is the cause of the Arab and Muslim nations. We consider Jerusalem an occupied Palestinian city to which U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 applies." (AP)

November 14

Israel's mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert announces the resumption of settlement construction in East Jerusalem. (HJ)

November 16

Unidentified men open fire at the Israeli police station in Salah a-Din Street. While no injuries are reported, Israeli police conduct an arrest campaign among Fatah activists in East Jerusalem. (JMCC)

November 17

The Palestinian press reports on a document prepared by the U.S. that was given last week to the Israelis and Palestinians. On Jerusalem, the document proposes Israeli sovereignty over a number of settlements surrounding the city. Also, the Muslim and Christian quarters in the Old City will fall under Palestinian sovereignty; Palestinians will gain sovereignty above the ground on the Haram al-Sharif, with Israel maintaining sovereignty under the site, provided a ban will be imposed on any excavations. (AYM, HJ)

Israeli tank fire kills a German doctor in Beit Jala, a Palestinian village south of Jerusalem. The town faces frequent tankfire and shelling from Gilo, an illegal Israeli settlement outside Jerusalem that was built on land confiscated from Beit Jala. (JMCC)

Prime Minister Barak's allocates a $2.75 million aid package to Gilo, reports al-Quds. (AQ)

November 23

Dozens of Islamic Waqf employees conduct a sit-in protest in the al-Aqsa compound, demanding that Muslim worshippers be allowed to enter and pray in the compound as Ramadan nears. (AQ)



According to statistics published by the Jerusalem Municipality, the number of Palestinians in Jerusalem saw a seven-fold increase compared with the number of Jews in 1999. (AQ) 

November 25

Faisal Husseini meets with Gush-Shalom, an Israeli peace group, and signs a document calling for Israel's complete withdrawal to the 1967 borders; a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; the evacuation of all Jewish settlers and an agreement to solve the problem of the Palestinian refugees in negotiations based on international law. (JMCC)

November 27

The Israeli Knesset ratifies a draft law that bars the transfer of any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Faisal Husseini describes the law as "an attempt to obstruct any effort to reach an agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis." He adds that there will be no peace without an Israeli withdrawal from East Jerusalem. (AYM)

November 30

Israeli authorities remove the restrictions on the number and age of Palestinian worshippers allowed to enter the Haram al-Sharif during Ramadan. (AQ, AYM)

The PA rejects a new interim agreement proposed by Ehud Barak that would recognize a Palestinian state and transfer another 10 percent of West Bank land to the Palestinians, allowing for territorial continuity between Jerusalem and those areas of the West Bank under the control of the PNA. Jewish settlements would be annexed to Israel. Negotiations on Jerusalem and refugees would be postponed for a period of up to three years. Palestinian officials say the proposal is not worth discussing, adding that any accord must cover all issues, including Jerusalem. (AYM, HA)

The U.N. General Assembly passes several resolutions on the Palestinian question and the Middle East conflict. Among other things, it calls for the peaceful settlement between the two sides, defining the basic ground for a settlement, including self-determination, Israeli withdrawal from occupied land including Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees. It reiterates its traditional position against Israeli measures to change the legal status and demographic structure of the city, saying all such measures are a breach of international law. The General Assembly also calls upon the member states to abstain from transferring their embassies to Jerusalem. (VOP)

December 5

The Jerusalem Post reports that armed settlers from Gush Etzion patrol the Tunnel Road that links their settlement bloc with Jerusalem. Palestinians often attack the Tunnel Road, which was built as a bypass road. Settlers have received instructions from army officers and lawyers on open-fire rules and have been told they must abide by the law. (JP)

In light of last Friday's quiet at the Haram al-Sharif, Israeli Internal Security Minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami, suggests that Israel should give Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip unrestricted access to the site this Friday, the second in the Moslem holy month of Ramadan. (JP)

December 6

Egypt's Minister for Religious Affairs Mohammed Hamdi Zaqzuq urges the

world's Muslims to visit Jerusalem "en masse" to emphasize the city's significance to Islam. "If millions of Muslims go to Al-Aqsa Mosque, it will be impossible for Israel to swallow the city and make it its capital," he tells an Egyptian magazine." (AFP)

Israeli police arrest Mohammad Abu Kteish, the security chief of the Islamic Waqf, accusing him of trying to incite violence during last Friday's prayer services. (AFP)

December 7

Al Hayat al-Jadida quotes sources close to the Iraqi leadership as saying that the government in Baghdad is preparing a plan to liberate Jerusalem. (HJ)

The New York Times reports that more than 100 American rabbis have issued a statement saying that there is no religious reason to require exclusive Jewish sovereignty over the Haram al Sharif. They say the statement is meant to assuage fears on the part of Muslims that Jews are seeking to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. The rabbis quote a well-known biblical passage from Isaiah that refers to the compound as a "house of prayer for all nations" as proof that Islamic holy sites belong there as well. (NYT)

Al-Quds reports that Israel has new ideas for negotiations and that Prime Minister Ehud Barak may waive Israeli sovereignty on the Haram al Sharif in exchange for postponing the discussion on the refugees' right of return. (AQ, HA)

Israel decides not to allow West Bank Palestinians entry to the Haram al Sharif tomorrow. Israeli Palestinians and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem will still be allowed into the area in Jerusalem's Old City. (JP)

December 8

A sixteen-year-old boy is shot dead by Israeli forces in the Old City after Palestinian youths throw stones following Friday prayers. (AFP, AP)

December 9

Barak resigns and calls for elections for a new PM within 60 days. (HJ)

December 11

Al-Quds reports the comments of Israeli professor Arnon Sofer from Haifa University that call for giving up East Jerusalem and the Muthallath region to Palestinians. (AQ)

December 14

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron tells Singapore's tiny Jewish community that he favors concessions that might bring peace to the region even if they include relinquishing and conceding parts of Jerusalem. However, he adds that Israel must not give up sections of Jerusalem holy to the Jewish people - especially the area known as the Temple Mount to Jews (Haram al-Sharif). The rabbi, while not directly involved in negotiations, is an influential figure in Israel. (AP)

December 15

Israeli police impose new restrictions on Muslims wishing to pray at al-Aqsa mosque. Only Palestinians from 1948 and Palestinian Jerusalemites over 35 years will be allowed to enter the mosque premises. The police will only admit entry to 2,000 Palestinians from the West Bank over 45. (AQ)

The Institute of Jerusalem Studies hosts a two-day symposium on research trends on the history of Jerusalem. Twelve different scholars present papers on various themes relating to the city's history. In the future, the symposium, to be called "Burhan al-Dajani Symposium on Jerusalem" in memory of the late Burhan al-Dajani, will become an annual tradition to be held in Jerusalem at the end of each year. (IJS)

December 17

Palestinian radio reports that Israel is intensifying its excavations under al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Adnan al-Husseini, the Director of the Islamic Waqf, Israeli excavations currently taking place near the southern part of al-Aqsa are weakening the bases of the mosque. He says the excavations are a means to Judaicize Jerusalem. (AYM, VOP)



Barak says that there is no change in the Israeli position regarding the status of Jerusalem. He states that the Israeli position is clear in that it refuses to withdraw to the 1967 borders and emphasizes Israel's refusal to withdraw from Jerusalem. Israeli Foreign Minister Ben Ami says there may be a possible settlement on al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Israeli radio reports, Israel is ready to accept the supervision of the mosque by a future Palestinian state but not full Palestinian sovereignty. (AQ, AYM)

In a speech to the Egyptian parliament, Mubarak says that Palestinian leaders have no right to take a final decision on Jerusalem as it concerns all Muslims and Christians. (R)

December 18

Palestinian and Israeli delegations head to Washington for negotiations. The proposal to be discussed, called the 'Clinton Document,' addresses Jerusalem in several ways. In exchange for giving up the right of return, free access will be provided to West Bank citizens to reach the Haram al-Sharif through East Jerusalem, including Bet Hanina, Shu'fat, Sheikh Jarrah and Salah Eddin Street, which will be the road leading to the compound under Palestinian sovereignty. The status of al-Aqsa Mosque is not mentioned as it is still subject to negotiations. Settlements around Jerusalem, including Ma'ale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Pisgat Zeev, Gilo and the French Hill, will not be considered as West Bank zones. Not taking into account these settlement blocs around Jerusalem, the total amount to be returned to the Palestinians will be based on the principle of 95%+ 3%. Ninety-five percent of the regions that will be left after subtracting the settlement bloc areas and the Jerusalem settlements from the total area of the West Bank will be added to 3% of the lands inside Israel. (AQ, AYM)

Israeli sources report that the U.S. administration made some compromise proposals to solve the outstanding issues between both sides, including a proposal suggesting that the Palestinian side should consider sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque as Palestinian, while the Israeli side should consider it divine sovereignty. The proposal also calls for the transfer of some Palestinian quarters in Jerusalem to the PA, including the Armenian quarter in the Old City. (AQ)

Al-Quds reports that Palestinian-Americans have sued the U.S. government for renting from Israel land that was confiscated by Palestinians. The plot contains 31 dunums of land and is the site in Jerusalem where the U.S. plans to build its embassy. (AQ)

Christian officials reject attempts Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert to impose the "Arnona" land tax on the churches and holy sites in Jerusalem. Marwan Toubasi, head of the Executive Committee of the Arab Orthodox Conference, says that Israel, as an occupier, has no legal authority to impose such measures on Christians or Muslims in the city. (AQ)

December 19

Yediot Aharonot reports on certain understandings reached between the two sides "behind the scenes": The Palestinians agree to leave Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Israel, for its part, will transfer the Palestinian neighborhoods to the PA. Barak will offer the Palestinians de facto control of the Haram al-Sharif, while leaving its sovereignty with Israel. According to the newspaper, Egyptian President Mubarak pressures the Palestinians to accept this offer but the Palestinians do not yet agree. (JMCC)

The U.S. obtains the agreement of both sides to hold detailed negotiations initially on the management of joint life in the Old City, and to raise the issue of sovereignty at a later stage. American officials believe that once the sides reach agreements on economic, political and social issues, the issue of sovereignty will fade somewhat in importance. According to the same report, the Palestinian security forces will be allowed to enter the Mosque area. (HJ, AQ)

Ahead of separate meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators with American officials in Washington, Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah calls on both sides to reach a just solution on the Holy City. "The details are for the political leaders but our view on Jerusalem is that what was Palestinian and is Palestinian should be given to the Palestinians and what was Israeli and is Israeli should be given to the Israelis," Sabbah says at press conference. (AFP, JP, VOP)

Faisal Husseini, in charge of Jerusalem Affairs for the PLO, countering Israel's avoidance of the word "sovereignty" when referring to the Haram al-Sharif, even though it has offered de facto control over the site says the Palestinians must have complete sovereignty over Judaism's holiest site. He adds that a general solution to the conflict must be found, which means nothing less than a Palestinian state alongside Israel according to the June 4, 1967 borders. After that the other "problems" can be dealt with - the Old City's Jewish Quarter, the Mount of Olives Cemetery and the Western Wall. (JP)

December 20

The Jerusalem Post reports that U.S. President Bill Clinton has ordered a six-month delay in moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is the fourth time that such a delay is ordered. Adhering to the administration's view that such a move would prejudice negotiations with the Palestinians, Clinton writes in a letter to the Secretary of State that the delay is necessary "to protect the national interests of the United States." (JP)

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) releases figures that show a 5% increase in East Jerusalem's Palestinian population in 1999. According to its second census in two years, 348,586 Palestinians now live in East Jerusalem, as compared to 331,553 in 1998. Israel, on the other hand, puts the figure at approximately 180,000. PCBS forecasts project the number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem to reach nearly 500,000 by 2010. The head of PCBS, Abu Libdeh, also says that Israeli authorities have confiscated more than 6,000 identity cards from Palestinian Jerusalemites since 1967. (AYM, HJ)

December 21

Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo tells Reuters that the Washington peace talks with Israel have brought Palestinians closer to a deal that would give them sovereignty over East Jerusalem. (AYM, JMCC)

President Clinton reveals the U.S. position on the basic guidelines for solving the conflict. The American position on Jerusalem follows that all areas populated by Arabs should be transferred to the PA, with areas populated by Jews to remain under Israeli sovereignty. In essence, this means dividing East Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinian state. In regard to the Old City, Clinton refrained from addressing the Haram al-Sharif directly calling instead "for the recognition of all sides' connection to holy sites in the city. We must seek the correct division in order to respect the sensitive national and historical interests of each party." (AQ, AYM, HJ)

The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) issues a statement in which it rejects refugee resettlement, and reiterates the right of return of refugees and the right to total sovereignty in East Jerusalem, including al-Aqsa Mosque. (AQ)

December 22

A settler is killed near the Israeli settlement, Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem in an armed attack. (HJ)

Despite the fact that it is the last Friday of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the Night of Qadr while Israeli-imposed restrictions on worshippers from the West Bank remain in place. (HJ)

December 23

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators announce that they will return home after an inconclusive end to the talks, thereby leaving the door open for further meetings. Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee Mahmoud Abbas says that what President Clinton presented on Jerusalem and the refugees, Palestinians cannot accept unless the proposals go into details. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says major disagreements exist between both sides but that he will discuss some of Clinton's proposals with Arafat. Arafat denies reports that say the current negotiations in Washington are conducted on the basis of "Jerusalem for refugees." (HJ)

December 25

The PA states that many obstacles prevent it from reaching a peace deal with Israel. The speaker of the PLC, Ahmad Qurei expresses pessimism at the likelihood of reaching an agreement. He adds, "They are still talking about no return for the refugees; they are still talking about Jerusalem in the context of passages from the north, east and south; they are still talking about annexing Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev to reach the Greater Jerusalem." (HJ)

December 26

Hardening his stance, President Arafat submits a letter to U.S. President Clinton rejecting the new American proposals. It includes six major objections, including opposition to dividing sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem. (JMCC)



In a radio interview, Palestinian negotiator, Yasser Abed Rabbo, says that while some of the ideas presented by Clinton were new, "they are vaguely phrased in a way that demands further explanation...[I]n regard to the Haram al-Sharif, their suggestions bring us back to the starting point. I think that U.S. and Israeli experts are using trickery to get us back to the same position where Israel has sovereignty under ground with sovereignty over the ground for the Palestinians." (JMCC)

December 27

Despite facing intense pressure to accept the U.S.-brokered settlement, the Palestinian leadership rejects the American proposals after the PLO Executive Committee meets in Gaza. The final detailed American proposal tackles the issues of borders, security, territory, refugees, Palestinian detainees and Jerusalem. The general principle driving the negotiations on Jerusalem is that Palestinian areas will be transferred to the PA, while the Jewish areas will fall under Israeli sovereignty. East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem will be the capital of the State of Israel. This principle applies to the Old City with both sides allowing geographic continuity between the quarters under the control of each party. In terms of al-Aqsa Mosque, the U.S. proposes that Palestinians should have sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque with Israel maintaining sovereignty over the Western Wall; 2) Palestinians will have sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel will maintain sovereignty over the Western Wall. In terms of excavations under the Haram al-Sharif or behind the Western Wall, joint decisions will be made with both parties pledging not to conduct any excavations under al-Aqsa Mosque. (AQ)

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert moves his office for a one-week period to a building in near the Western Wall. He says he will host community leaders from Israel and abroad to explain the importance of the site to the Jewish people. Palestinians warn that the move may spark more clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian civilians. (JP)

Israeli protesters attempt to break into the Haram al-Sharif during a march through the Old City. The march is organized by right-wing groups in protest against the proposal to cede sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif to the PA. The attempted break in was also in response to a rejected application by right-wing activists to enter the compound. (HA)

December 28

Barak's security advisor, Danny Yatom, says the prime minister will not sign any deal transferring the sovereignty of the al-Aqsa Mosque to the Palestinians. (AFP)

AFP reports that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat drove through Jerusalem early on Christmas morning on his way to Jordan after attending midnight mass in Bethlehem, as stated by Jerusalem Mayor Olmert. Due to bad weather conditions, Arafat was unable to take a helicopter to Jordan. Olmert expresses support for the decision to let Arafat pass through, saying "it was a humanitarian act made necessary by the weather." (AFP)

December 31

Palestinian press reports indicate that following Palestinian requests for clarification on the maps provided with the proposals, the U.S. administration offered a new map in which it removed a large number of settlements in the West Bank. However, settlements near Jerusalem remained on the new map, including Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev, as well as roads connecting them to Jerusalem. Palestinians reject the Israeli stance that these settlements form part of Jerusalem. (AQ, AYM)

January 1, 2001 

Jewish settlers kill a young Palestinian man in a drive-by shooting in Hizma, a Palestinian village near Jerusalem. (AFP)

In a letter to foreign envoys based in Jerusalem and the Palestinian areas, PA negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo explains the reasons why the Palestinians rejected Clinton's proposal. Abed Rabbo explains that such a division of the holy city will almost certainly mean that Palestinians would be living under constant danger because the areas in which they live are separated from each other. He adds that Israel's refusal to present maps illustrating its territorial claims, "only compounds the Palestinian concerns. (JMCC)

January 2

Following their meeting in Washington, Arafat reverses the earlier PA decision to reject Clinton's proposals in their entirety. Instead, he gives his qualified approval for the proposals to serve as "parameters" for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (JMCC)

January 3

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak sends a letter to Eliahu Bakshi-Doron, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi in which he says, "Israel has never conceded the Temple Mount to the Palestinians." Furthermore, Barak will seek clarifications of Clinton's proposals for the area. Barak also pledges to consult with the rabbis before making any decision. (NYT)

According to Israeli press reports, Shlomo Gazet, former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, affirms that a viable solution to the question on Jerusalem is to place the Old City under international administration and to have the city as a capital of two states. (AQ)

January 4

The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot publishes the major disputed points in the negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis in regard to Jerusalem. According to the paper, the major issue that can lead to a collapse in the negotiations is the issue of sovereignty over the al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians demand full sovereignty over the mosque. Palestinians also say that the Israeli control must be limited to a part of the adjacent Western Wall. Israelis want to keep control over the Wall. 

The Arab League's Follow-up Committee meets in Cairo and unanimously supports the Palestinian position, particularly in regard to Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif. (VOP)

January 5

Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri reacts to the letter Barak sent to rabbinical leaders earlier this week. He says the letter is very dangerous and that Barak does not want peace. The spokeswoman of Barak re-emphasized his stand, saying, "He does not intend to sign any document that will transfer sovereignty over the Temple Mount to the Palestinians." The statement comes after Eliahu Bakshi-Doron, the Sephardic chief rabbi, questions Mr. Barak's commitment to maintaining sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Concurrently, Israel's Chief Rabbinate Council rules that, "Jewish law absolutely prohibits handing over any sovereignty or ownership, indirectly or directly, to foreigners on the Temple Mount…[T]he sovereignty belongs to the Jewish people." (NYT, VOP)

January 6

Faisal Husseini denounces proposals by Gilad Sher, the head of Prime Minister Barak's office, to place Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif under the sovereignty of a third party. He reiterates the demand to extend Palestinian sovereignty over the whole of East Jerusalem, including the al-Aqsa compound. (VOP)

Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line and Umm al-Fahm mayor, discloses that Israeli excavations of a large tunnel are currently under way under al-Aqsa Mosque. The tunnel begins at the southern corner close to the mosque. He also reveals the existence of 25 extremist Jewish groups who are bent on destroying al-Aqsa Mosque in order to rebuild their temple. (AQ)

While negotiations continue, it becomes increasingly clear that the talks will not result in a comprehensive settlement between the two sides. Palestinian press reports say that U.S. President Clinton is ready to accept a declaration that would facilitate the mission of future U.S. President George Bush. PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Sha'ath describes the U.S. proposals as meaningless, saying that the fate of Jerusalem is unclear. "Palestinians do not understand the meaning of the words 'sovereignty over the surface and sovereignty beneath the ground,' he adds. However, he also welcomes the new elements that were included in Clinton's speech, including the fact of a sovereign Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital. (AQ, AYM, HJ)

January 7

The prime minister's office denies a claim by Likud leader Ariel Sharon that Barak had asked Clinton to let the U.N. Security Council decide the future status of Jerusalem instead. ''The allegation ... has no factual basis,'' Barak's office said. (AP)

Israeli minister Michael Melchior says that the threat that extremist Jewish elements might try to destroy the mosques on the Haram al-Sharif in order to build a third temple must be taken seriously. In response to possible attacks on the Haram's mosques he says, "There is nothing more sensitive than the Temple Mount. It can be the gate to heaven, but it can also be the gate to hell." Israel's General Security Service expresses similar warnings on possible attacks by Jewish extremists. (HA)

President Clinton delivers a speech addressing Israelis and Palestinians, marking the first time that any U.S. president publicly presents a detailed blueprint for peace between the two parties. In his address, Clinton also publicly supports a Palestinian state for the first time. On Jerusalem, Clinton says: "What is Arab should be Palestinian, for why should Israel want to govern in perpetuity the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians?…And what is Jewish should be Israeli, giving rise to a Jewish Jerusalem that is larger and more vibrant than any seen in history." He does not go into details on the contested Haram al-Sharif, except to say that he offered formulations to both sides. (BG)

January 8

Tens of thousands of right-wing Israeli settlers demonstrate against proposals to divide Jerusalem. The chief guardian of the al-Aqsa Mosque, Adnan Husseini, called the planned "provocative." Following the demonstration, sponsored by a joint Jewish-Christian organization called "One United Jerusalem," several Palestinians, including a 5-year-old girl are injured in the Old City by Israeli demonstrators. (AP, HA, VOP)

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, issues a Fatwa (religious decree) proclaiming al-Aqsa Mosque is for Muslims only. (AYM)

The Palestinian leadership criticizes Clinton's speech delivered to the Israeli Political Forum on the previous Sunday. Palestinians feel the Clinton proposals are a vague set of general principles that lack any guarantees and need further negotiations. Chief negotiator, Yasser Abed Rabbo says that Palestinians do not want any new declaration of principles unless it is accompanied by a detailed agreement. On Jerusalem, the leadership finds it unacceptable how Clinton refers to "Israeli quarters in East Jerusalem as Israeli," as these would also include illegally built Israeli settlements on occupied land. Furthermore, they reject any sharing of the Haram al-Sharif's sovereignty. (AYM)

January 10

JMCC publishes the findings of its poll conducted 21-24 December. Results show that a majority of Palestinians (70.1%) support the continuation of the Intifada. On the topic of Jerusalem, 94.3% of respondents would not approve making Jerusalem the unified capital of Israel if Jerusalem formed the last obstacle in signing a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. (JMCC)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres says no single religion can be given a monopoly over the holy city of Jerusalem. "While the modern city of Jerusalem can be divided demographically between Israel and the Palestinians, the holy city of Jerusalem will have to be shared religiously," Peres tells reporters in India. (AP)

January 11

Ha'aretz reports on the plight of unemployed Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of the Intifada, when it was vandalized, the offices of the Employment Services have been closed. Israeli employees refuse to work in the offices, but the municipality refuses to transfer the offices to West Jerusalem, lest Palestinians interpret it as an Israeli compromise on the eastern part of the city. Thousands of Palestinians are therefore prevented from receiving unemployment benefits. (HA)

Israeli Likud leader, Ariel Sharon, praises President Arafat for consulting other Arab and Islamic leaders on the issue of Jerusalem. Sharon says Prime Minister Barak, unlike Arafat, did not consult with his peers in taking decisions on Jerusalem. (AQ)

January 14

Following Israeli reports of shootings at the Neve Ya'cov settlement, Israeli forces impose a curfew on Dahiet al-Barid and al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. Security forces also search homes for suspects in the area under curfew. (VOP)

An official from the Islamic Waqf, Sheikh Yousef Salameh, denounces Monday's desecration of the Holy Qur'an during the Israeli demonstration for a unified Jerusalem. During the march, right-wing Israeli protesters dressed a donkey in a kaffiyeh and placed on its back a copy of the Qu'ran along with pictures of Arafat. (JMCC) 

January 15

In violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) pay a visit to the Gilo settlement south of Jerusalem. A spokesperson for the ICRC later confirms the meeting took place in order to inform settlers of international laws activated during times of war. (HJ) 

Israeli Mayor of the Jerusalem Municipality, Ehud Olmert, says he fully expects that Mr. Bush, the next U.S. President, will fulfill his commitment to transfer the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. According to Olmert, the zoning process for the prospective embassy site has been completed. (IN)

January 16

Israeli media report on the visit by the Mitchell Commission's technical team to the Haram al-Sharif on January 13. Learning of the visit, which was not coordinated with Israel as it was supposed to, Israeli officials are dismayed, expressing doubt that the team can remain objective in such circumstances. Adnan Husseini, head of the Islamic Waqf, says there was no need for an Israeli presence, and had there been, the visit to the Haram would have been canceled. The Mitchell Commission was set up following the Sharm al-Sheikh summit to investigate the events following the uprising. (AYM, JP, VOI)

Ha'aretz reports on a letter that six members of the Jerusalem city council sent to President Clinton. In it, they voiced their support for dividing sovereignty over Jerusalem and making it the capital of Israel and a Palestinian state. Meir Margalit, the Meretz representative on the council, says that a majority of council members supports a division of Jerusalem. (HA)

Israeli Radio says the Jerusalem municipality has announced it will demolish two homes built without permits in East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of the Intifada in September, the municipality has refrained from demolishing homes, for fear of violent reactions. In the upcoming weeks, it plans to demolish five houses in Beit Hanina. Faisal Husseini warns that Israel's house demolition policy will only fuel the anger of Palestinians. (HA, JT)

In televised election campaign ads with cameo appearances by Israeli Jerusalem Mayor Olmert, Likud candidate for Prime Minister Sharon accuses Barak of sponsoring concessions on Jerusalem. In response, Ehud Barak charges in a televised interview that Olmert met with him before the Camp David summit in July to propose practical solutions for dividing Jerusalem. (HA)

January 18

As part of his election campaign, Prime Minister Barak suggests establishing a "special system" in the Old City of Jerusalem where Israel would maintain sovereignty only over the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall and the Mount of Olives where a Jewish cemetery lies.. He affirms that he will not sign a peace agreement with Palestinians that places al-Aqsa Mosque under Palestinian sovereignty. Instead, a special authority system would be established to guarantee free access to all. Acknowledging the painful concessions Israel will have to make in return, he also says that Jerusalem will be larger than any time in the past. (AYM)

A group of Israeli public figures, intellectuals and archaeologists send a letter of protest to Barak condemning what they say are serious violations by the Islamic Waqf on the Haram al-Sharif that endanger important archeological evidence. They say rubble removed from the compound is being dumped without any supervision by the Israeli Antiquities Authority or the state and criticize the failure of authorities to act. The letter continues, "It is unacceptable that in a culturally enlightened and law abiding country someone can authorize such a serious crime, of such enormous proportions, to carry on for more than a year." (HA)

January 21

Israel and the PA begin marathon talks aimed at reaching a final status agreement before the February 6 elections for prime minister. The talks are set to continue for 10 days. The issue of settlements around Jerusalem is still problematic says one Palestinian source close to the negotiating team. Ahmed Qureia, speaker of the PLC rejects Israel's plan to annex Ma'aleh Adumim and Pisgat Ze'ev, settlements near Jerusalem. He demands that Har Homa, a settlement south of Jerusalem, be transferred to Palestinian control. Disagreements also still remain over the Haram al-Sharif, security arrangements, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Both sides agree that the chances for reaching a final agreement before the elections are slim. (AYM, JP)



An Israeli plan to serve as a basis for negotiations is completed. It is based on the U.S. proposal. A team of experts from Haifa University drafted the plan, which does not address the Haram al-Sharif, as Israeli and Palestinian leaders must first jointly decide upon its sovereignty. The head of the Israeli team of experts, Professor Moshe Amirav says each side would administer their own holy sites. In this way, neither need give up claims to sovereignty and the status quo will be preserved. According to the Israeli plan, East Jerusalem will be part of a demilitarized state. Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem will be policed by Palestinian policed armed only with handguns, while Israeli police will be charged with security in the rest of West Jerusalem. A joint Palestinian-Israeli force is proposed for mixed neighborhoods and the "sacred zone", that is areas including the Old City, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the City of David, Mount Zion, the Ophel, and the archeological garden outside of the Old City. Each respective side will oversee the daily life of its own citizens. In return for annexing Jewish neighborhoods and mixed communities, Israel will hand over unpopulated land to the Palestinians, including Har Homa, in order to ensure territorial contiguity. Palestinians say they will also ask for unpopulated land in West Jerusalem in return for settlements like Ma'aleh Adumim. The two separate municipalities would share some infrastructure, including the Qalandiya Airport, while electricity and postal services will remain separate. (JP)

The Jerusalem Post reports that U.K. Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has written a letter to Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert condemning any peace agreement that will lead to the division of Jerusalem, a "sacred trust" given to the Jewish people long before the advent of Christianity or Islam. (JP)

Prime Minister Ehud Barak submits to Israeli demands and orders the police to stop the renovation work on the Haram al-Sharif that is being conducted by the Islamic Waqf and the Israeli Islamic Movement. The police instruct the Waqf to close a ditch that was recently created on the compound. The Waqf complies but refuses to make any commitments as to future digging in the area. Since September 30, Israeli officials and archeologists from the Antiquities Authority have been barred from entering the Haram to supervise excavation and construction work. Increasingly, Israeli officials and the public have begun to suspect that construction work being conducted on the compound by the Waqf is destroying Jewish archeological artifacts. However, the Israeli government has to a large extent turned a blind eye to the matter in order to avoid stirring up tempers on either side. Palestinians warn of any attempts to the harm al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Mufti of Jerusalem, Akrameh Sabri, insists the Haram al Sharif area contains no remnants related to Jewish history. (AQ, HA)

January 22

In a public statement issued today, the Jerusalem Police and Israeli Public Security Ministry deny claims by eyewitnesses that the Islamic Waqf is digging a new tunnel between Solomon's Stables and the ruins of the ancient Al-Aqsa Mosque. The only digging taking place, the statement says, is the construction of a 20-meter trench between the current al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The Waqf also denies any digging on the site and says that it does not need Israel's permission to do so. Some members of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount accuse the police of deliberately misleading the public, arguing that this could be solved by allowing journalists and archeologists onto the compound. (HA, JP)

Ha'aretz reports on a New Yorker magazine interview with Likud prime ministerial candidate Ariel Sharon. He is quoted as making disparaging remarks on Muslims' relationship to the Haram al-Sharif. (HA)

According to the Jerusalem Post, twenty-five residents from the illegal settlement of Modi'in have petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice, demanding that the Israeli army re-deploy along the Jerusalem-Modi'in highway following repeated Palestinian shooting attacks on settlers. (JP)



The White House announces that the new U.S. President, George W. Bush, will begin looking into the matter of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (HA)



The Israeli delegation presents plans on Jerusalem proposing to expand the areas under Israeli sovereignty to include Silwan, Wadi Rabab, Gethsemany and the Mormon Quarter on the Mt. of Olives. This is in addition to the Old City's Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall. The proposal does not address the Haram al-Sharif. (HJ)

January 23

Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau says Israel made a historic mistake when it returned control of Jerusalem's most disputed holy site to Muslims shortly after it captured Jerusalem in 1967. In a message to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Lau claims that Muslim authorities are systematically destroying archeological remains from the Temple period. After Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 from Jordan, the Israeli Defense Minister at the time, Moshe Dayan ordered that the Haram al-Sharif's keys be returned to the Muslims. He feared not doing so would provoke a religious war. (AP) 

Following controversial reports that the Waqf is building a tunnel on the Haram al-Sharif, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron demands that Prime Minister Barak set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the Waqf's digging on the site. Bakshi-Doron calls for all renovations to be frozen until the commission completes its work. The Antiquities Authority and members of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, accuse public officials with ignoring the digging being conducted by the Waqf. In a meeting with the Committee, Bakshi-Doron responds to the possibility of establishing a synagogue on the Temple Mount by saying that this is unfeasible given the fact that Jews are not allowed on the compound. (HA)

Today's talks in Taba focus on Jerusalem. Prime Minister Barak says he wants the Old City of occupied east Jerusalem to remain under Israeli sovereignty but managed day-to-day jointly with the Palestinians. Israel also proposes the creation of a "sacred zone" encompassing the Old City and surrounding holy sites. The body that would oversee this basin would be responsible for keeping order, ensuring freedom of belief and open access to sites holy to Islam, Christianity and Judaism. However, commenting on the plan, Barak says, "We will ensure that the Kotel (Wailing Wall), the Mount of Olives, the City of David, will be under our sovereignty obviously along with the Old City." His comments seem to reflect a hardening of his stance on Jerusalem. Control over other areas of Jewish would be in line with the Clinton peace proposal: Palestinian control over Arab areas and Israeli control over Jewish ones. Palestinian negotiator, Sa'eb Erekat, says Barak's stance constitutes a blow to the negotiations. Asked if joint sovereignty over the Old City is acceptable, Erekat says that the PA considers it an unacceptable option. (AP, AQ, HA, JP)

Israel suspends the Taba negotiations with the Palestinians following the killing of two Israelis near Tulkarm in the West Bank. (HA)

January 24

The Israeli government unanimously agrees to resume the peace talks at Taba following the funerals of two Israelis killed by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank. (HA, JP)

Following reports that Israel might be willing to share sovereignty over Jerusalem's Old City, including the Western Wall, Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau rejects any such notion. "That is such an absolute and unthinkable absurdity that it is beyond consideration. The Western Wall and the Temple Mount are no one's private property," he says. (JP)

Despite denials from the police and Antiquities Authority that illegal construction is taking place on the Haram al-Sharif, The Temple Mount Faithful petition the Israeli High Court of Justice, demanding that Israel punish those responsible for alleged illegal construction on the site. The group wants to see the destruction of the mosque compound and construction of a third Jewish temple. (JP)

January 25

Palestinian sources say the PA wants Israel to evacuate the Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev settlements and to dismantle the Har Homa settlement located on Mt. Abu Ghneim as it prevents Palestinian geographical continuity. According to sources from both sides, settlements will be gathered within 3 blocs - those settlements around Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Ariel, while all settlements in Gaza will be evacuated. Palestinians also say they reject Israeli maps that show the Qalandia Airport north of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. (AYM)

An Israeli man is killed in an armed attack while driving his car near the Atarot industrial park north of Jerusalem. (AYM)

January 26

The Jerusalem Post reports on a 1930 tourist guide published by the supreme Moslem body in Jerusalem during the British Mandate. It states categorically that the site's identification with the First Temple is "beyond dispute." PA Mufti Ikrima Sabri says, "There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history." He says the booklet is taken out of context. (JP)

January 27

Israeli radio says Jordanian Prime Minister, Ali Abul Ragheb, has called for transferring the question of Jerusalem to the U.N. for one year, until a settlement is reached between the two sides. (HJ)

The Taba talks conclude without reaching a final settlement. However, both sides issue a joint statement that says they are closer than ever to reaching an agreement. "The Taba talks were unprecedented in their positive atmosphere and expression of mutual willingness to meet the national, security and existential needs of each side," it also says. The statement points to the time constraints that prevented the parties from reaching an agreement, despite the progress that was achieved in all issues discussed. (AYM)

January 28

The Ha'aretz reports on a plan proposed by two Israeli academics that suggests putting the Haram al-Sharif administration exclusively under the authority of a two-tiered Muslim body. This group, including Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian officials, would be responsible for daily affairs in the Old City and be subordinate to a broader-based panel, including members from Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The plan is met with enthusiasm from Arab officials, reflecting the desire for broad Arab representation on a body charged with administering the Haram, say the two academics. (HA)

Ha'aretz reports that the Israeli right-wing Yesha Council and other Jewish groups are drafting of a list of demands on Jerusalem, which would be implemented during the first 100 days of an Ariel Sharon government. Assuming Sharon wins the election, the list of demands will be submitted to right-wing political parties as a basis for coalition bargaining with Sharon and the Likud party. The demands include: 1) The removal of various Palestinian police and security forces from Jerusalem; 2) the closure of offices directly or indirectly connected to the PA; 3) steps to crack down on illegal Palestinian construction; 4) approval of the second stage of construction of the Har Homa settlement; 5) creation of a contiguous Jewish construction belt linking the Pisgat Ze'ev and French Hill settlements; 6) approval of plans for the Jewish settlement in Abu Dis; 7) support for residence in Jewish settlements in Ras Al-Amud, Silwan and the Old City's Muslim Quarter; 8) transfer of government subsidies and tax relief to Atarot's industrial zone and airport, located north of Jerusalem; and 9) implementation of the "A-1" plan, originally approved by Yitzhak Rabin, to link Ma'aleh Adumim settlement to Jerusalem by constructing residential and commercial facilities along a 10,000 dunam stretch of land. (HA)

January 29

A week before the Israeli elections for prime minister, Arafat and Egyptian President Mubarak appeal directly to the Israeli public through television interviews saying that there will be no peace agreement without a 100 percent withdrawal to the 1967 borders. In his interview with Israeli Channel Two, Arafat emphasizes his respect for Jewish rights to the Western Wall. However, he also reiterates, as does Mubarak, that the Islamic world cannot relinquish sovereignty over Haram al-Sharif. (HA, JP)



Jewish settlers occupy two buildings in the Old City's Muslim Quarter. In the past, the two buildings were owned by Jews who abandoned them in 1948. Following a court order, a Palestinian family, who moved into the buildings 13 years ago, was ordered to leave after the court found that it had no legal right to live there. According to Israeli radio reports, the settlers also plan to buy more stores in the area, with the aim of opening a small shopping center the radio said. (HA, JT, JP)

January 31

Al Quds reports that an unknown Jewish group published a letter in an Israeli paper. In the letter, the group threatens to carry out attacks in East Jerusalem. (AQ)

A new area code (01) will be created for residents of East Jerusalem, according to the Jerusalem Post. Israel and the PA have agreed that the dialing area will fall under the PA's authority. (JP)

According to Israeli newspaper reports, Israel was recently forced to close the Qalandiya Airport, north of Jerusalem, because the Intifada has led to a reduction of flights. (HJ)

February 1

Israeli forces demolish the three-story home of Salah al-Risheq in al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. Israel claims the home was built without a license. (AYM)

The Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities, an Israeli watchdog group monitoring construction on the Temple Mount, resends a letter to Prime Minister Barak urging him to stop all construction on the site by the Islamic Waqf. The group consists of archaeologists and Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum. The Israeli High Court of Justice rules that a newly formed government committee will investigate whether the Islamic Waqf is conducting illegal excavations on the Haram, as alleged in a petition filed by the Temple Mount Faithful group. The committee will provide its findings within ten days after which another court session will be scheduled. Officials from the Islamic Waqf express their anger at the Israeli High Court's decision to establish a investigative commission to examine the renovations taking place inside the Haram al-Sharif. According to Director of the Islamic Waqf Adnan Husseini, what takes place inside the compound concerns only the Waqf. (HA, JMCC, JP)

Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a Sunni Sheikh who leads the Italian Muslim Association, comes out in favor of Israel retaining full sovereignty over Jerusalem's Old City, charging that when the PA-appointed mufti of Jerusalem denies Judaism's connection to Jerusalem, he is essentially distorting the history of Islam. "Saying that there was no such thing as a Solomon's Temple, even though that is mentioned in the major medieval Islamic commentaries, contradicts not only the Bible and history but Islam and the Qur'an as one," he says. (JP)



Costa Rica, one of only two nations with an embassy in Jerusalem, urges the U.S. to also move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Its foreign minister, Roberto Rojas, says he is surprised that the U.S. still has not transferred the embassy, as it has promised in the past. (JP)

While in support of negotiations, the Palestinian political factions in Jerusalem issue a statement affirming that the Intifada is the strategic options towards achieving independence and establishing an independent state. (JMCC)

February 2

The American Committee on Jerusalem releases a poll gauging American opinion on the status of Jerusalem. Forty-six percent (46%) support a "shared" Jerusalem, while approximately 23% prefer Israeli control over the city. The rest are unsure. A majority (55-62%) also disagree with moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Since the proposed site for the embassy is partly owned by American citizens, respondents are equally divided (39% to 39%) over whether Israel has the right to sell or lease the plot of land. (ACJ)

February 4

Secretary of State Colin Powell says the U.S. has no immediate plans to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. During his election campaign, George W. Bush, had said he would move the embassy from Tel Aviv. (CNN)

February 5

Responding to Powell's suggestion on Sunday that a transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could be delayed, White House spokesperson says Bush has not changed his view that the embassy ought to be moved. "I think what the secretary said is that the process is beginning and the process is going to be cognizant of the realities of the situation in the Middle East. And the president has indicated that he has asked Secretary Powell to take a look at this matter and begin the process." (JP)

February 6

Ariel Sharon defeats Ehud Barak in the Israeli prime ministerial elections with a margin of 62.5% to 37.4%. (JP)

February 7

The Center for Jerusalem Studies holds a lecture by Ernest L. Martin, Professor at the University of North Carolina entitled, "New Evidence for the Site of the Temple in Jerusalem." (JMCC)



After securing his victory in the elections, Prime Minister Sharon prays at Jerusalem's Western Wall. He states that he is there to "visit Jerusalem, the unified capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years," and adds that he plans to form a national unity government. (AQ, JP)



The PA urges the new Prime Minister-elect to resume peace negotiations at the point they ended under Prime Minister Ehud Barak. It says the negotiations should be based on the formula of "land for peace and the implementation of international resolutions and international legitimacy and our right to establish a Palestinian independent state with Jerusalem as its capital." In the meantime, Sharon says that he will be a tougher negotiator than his predecessor Barak and rules out many of the concessions on Jerusalem, settlements and borders that Barak reportedly made in the Taba talks. (JP)

February 8

A car bomb explodes in West Jerusalem's ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea Sharim, injuring 10 people. A group calling themselves the Sabra and Shatilla Martyrs Group of the Popular Resistance Troops claim responsibility saying it is a reminder that Israel has no option but to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people (HJ)

February 12

Fatah issues a leaflet vowing to escalate the Intifada and to make life for Gilo residents "hell." The leaflet says there will be no security for Israelis under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (JP)



Israeli soldiers shoot and kill a Palestinian, while he was driving on the bypass road near Rafat Village, northwest of Jerusalem. (JMCC)



The Ha'aretz reports on a letter Prime Minister-elect Sharon sent to the heads of the Pisgat Ze'ev settlement a week before the election. In the letter Sharon states that he will not transfer any Palestinian villages bordering Jerusalem settlements to the PA. The letter highlights Sharon's policy regarding Palestinian villages bordering Jerusalem, different from that of his predecessor's. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was prepared to hand over Palestinian villages bordering on Jerusalem, as well as communities within the city. (HA)

February 13

The Israeli Knesset passes a law giving an extra grant of up to 80,000 NIS to Israeli settlers eligible for government housing subsidies, who buy an apartment in Jerusalem. Israel hopes that helping young couples buy houses in Jerusalem may halt Jewish emigration from the city (HA, HJ)

February 14

Emanual Gluska, the diplomatic adviser to Israeli Internal Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami tells the Israeli High Court of Justice that the allegations of Waqf construction on the Haram al-Sharif contained in a petition filed by the Temple Mount Faithful are baseless. Gluska was recently appointed head of a committee to routinely monitor developments on the Temple Mount, which is administered by the Islamic Waqf. (JP)

February 15

A Canadian Embassy vehicle is shot at near Givat Ze'ev, a settlement northwest of Jerusalem. The PA denies any Palestinian involvement contrary to Israeli claims. (AYM)

February 18

The Jewish Agency's settlement division approves preliminary plans to build 1,000 homes near Bat Ayin settlement in Gush Etzion. Didi Remez, spokesman for Peace Now calls the enhancement of settlements "irresponsible." (JP)

February 19

Birzeit University's Development Studies Programme releases a poll indicating 70% of Palestinians support the continuation of negotiations with Israel until a final peace settlement is reached. However, 64% do not feel that Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon is serious about reaching a final peace agreement with Palestinians. Seventy percent (70%) of the respondents also support the continuation of military attacks against Israeli targets at the present time, and 32% are not satisfied with the way the Intifada is progressing in the West Bank and Gaza. (BZU)

February 20

IDF bulldozers demolish two Palestinian homes in Beit Omar, south of Jerusalem. (JP)

Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikram Sabri, issues a Fatwa stating the Western Wall is the supporting wall of al-Aqsa Mosque and has no connection to anything Jewish. Following the religious ruling, rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, says, "The ruling of the mufti of Jerusalem, saying that the Western Wall is Muslim property, is an attempt to distort history." (JP)

February 21

Israeli police arrest 15 Palestinians from Shu'fat in Jerusalem. They also arrest three youths in Ras al-Amud who are affiliated with Fatah. (VOP)

The Supreme Council of Fatah in the West Bank issues a statement calling on armed Palestinians to end the shooting at Israeli army positions and settlements from inside residential Palestinian areas. The statement comes following the death of a teenager in Beit Jala from Israeli shelling. Shots were first fired from Beit Jala. (HA)



Sabeel, the ecumenical Christian center for Palestinian Liberation Theology, opens its conference in Jerusalem, attended by hundreds of Christians, Jews and Muslims from over 20 countries. According to a statement issued by the participants, the conference is meant to show "solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are enduring the yoke of occupation." (JMCC)

February 22

Palestinian gunmen shoot and injure an Israeli man at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem. This is the third attack of its kind at this intersection over the past few months. In response to the attack, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert says, "Yasser Arafat's main goal is to ignite Jerusalem and the area surrounding Jerusalem, so as to bring about international intervention." (JP)

February 23

The Mufti of Egypt, Naser Farid Wasel, says the western wall of the Haram al-Sharif is an Islamic site and that there must be no Jewish sovereignty over al-Buraq wall, the Muslim name for the wall. (VOP)

February 25

The battle of words over the Haram al-Sharif continues as Rabbi Israel Meir Lau calls Mufti Sabri's comments rejecting Jewish claims to the compound "foolish." (JMCC)

February 26

A fifteen-year-old Palestinian boy is shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes at Qalandiya Airport, adjacent to Qalandiya Refugee Camp. (JMCC)

February 27

American sources tell Ha'aretz that U.S. Secretary of State Powell has told Prime Minister-elect, Ariel Sharon, that the U.S. is against any expansion of the settlements - including Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Sharon does not accept this demand and replies that no new settlements would be built, but that he would allow construction to allow for their "natural growth." (HA)

February 28

Al-Ayyam reports that the Orient House has figures showing that former Israeli PM Barak revoked the IDs of 458 Jerusalemites. This comes despite the fact that the Israeli government earlier announced to end this discriminatory policy. Once an ID is revoked, the person loses all rights to live in the city. Palestinians argue it is an Israeli policy aimed at ethnically cleansing Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants. Figures also show that more than 52 families lost their right to health insurance, supposedly because they reside outside of Jerusalem, despite a recent law guaranteeing access to health insurance to residents on the outskirts of the city. A further 70,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites residing in Jerusalem's suburbs are at risk of losing their health insurance. (AYM)

March 1

The Jerusalem Municipal Council approves a plan for a Jewish neighborhood in the Palestinian village of Abu-Dis. The neighborhood will be located near the site designated in Abu Dis for the Palestinian parliament building. The plan is the same one that Dr. Irving Moskowitz, an American construction magnate who owns land in Jerusalem, tried to promote in the past. The Qidmat Tziyon Plan proposes the construction of 220 apartments on 63 dunums opposite the Islamic University. Head of the Meretz Party, Yosef Alalo unsuccessfully appeals the decision, saying that the construction of the new settlement is designed to "embroil us in a dispute with our neighbors in Abu-Dis." He says the plan discriminates between Arab and Jewish landowners. (BBC, HA)

Seven Greek Catholic monks barricade themselves inside their monastery of St. John in the Desert on the edge of Jerusalem as Israeli bailiffs begin to enforce a court eviction ruling after years of dispute with the Franciscans, the Vatican-appointed keepers of the Holy Land's Christian shrines. The Franciscans abandoned the monastery following the 1948 war, and it was left as such until the Greek Catholic monks restored the complex 25 years ago. (AFP)

March 4

Prime Minister Barak acknowledges that the Islamic Waqf is doing a "certain amount" of digging on the Haram al-Sharif, and instructs police to look into the matter. The watchdog group, the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount has placed increasing public pressure on the Israeli Antiquities Authority, which in turn appealed to Barak for the government to intervene in the Waqf's construction on the site. A spokesman for the Israeli police reiterates that the Waqf has received permission to carry out all its work from the Israeli political establishment. (JP)

March 5

Ha'aretz reports on figures released by the Israeli Ministry of Interior on the population of settlements. The population of the areas of greater Jerusalem that are slated to be annexed to Israel in the framework of a permanent peace settlement (Efrat, Etzion Bloc, Beitar Ilit, Givat Ze'ev, Har Adar and Ma'aleh Adumim) reached 70,317 - some 35 percent of the total settler population - by the end of 2000. (HA)

March 6

A former commander of the Israeli police unit responsible for holy sites says the work of the Waqf on the Haram al-Sharif is being done with official sanction. The affidavit is submitted in rebuttal to a petition filed with the court by the Temple Mount Faithful. (HA)

March 7

Ha'aretz publishes the results of a survey on behalf of a joint committee representing the five largest Jewish organizations in the United States. The CEO of the Conference of Presidents, Malcolm Honlein, chairs the committee. Results show that over one third of American Jews are willing to "divide" Jerusalem in order to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The survey also shows that more than 50% of American Jews support the peace process, 55% support Israeli positions and 20% Palestinian positions. Senior Jewish leaders in New York say the survey contradicts the position of the Council of Presidents - that the Jewish community is united in its unwillingness to consider any compromise on Jerusalem. (HA)

March 8

Israeli Mayor of the Jerusalem Municipality, Ehud Olmert, criticizes Prime Minister Sharon's inauguration speech, in which Sharon fails to declare that Jerusalem will always remain under Israeli sovereignty. (AFP)

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell tells Congress that while there is no immediate plan to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv, President Bush is committed to moving it to Israel's capital, Jerusalem. Following Powell's statement, the PA officially protests Powell's words, demanding an immediate clarification of the statements. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa responds to Powell's remark by saying Arab countries object to Jerusalem being considered Israel's capital as long as East Jerusalem is not acknowledged as Palestine's capital. (HJ, JP)



The Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ikrima Sabri warns the new Israeli government against trying to allow Jews to enter the Haram al-Sharif, saying Muslims are ready to confront any attempt against al-Aqsa Mosque and its Islamic status. (HJ)

March 9

A report appearing in today's Kol Hair Weekly says that the U.S. does not intend to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because of building near the earmarked site. The decision to block the move stems from Israel's violation of an agreement that no other building will be erected within a 300-meter radius due to American security concerns. (HA)

Qatar, which currently chairs the Organization of the Islamic Conference, says that Colin Powell's previous day's comments on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital violate several U.N. Security Council resolutions. Iran and the United Arab Emirates issue similar criticisms. (HA)

March 10

Thousands of Iraqi volunteers head to camps to begin their military training for the liberation of Jerusalem currently under Israeli control. In October 2000, during the first month of the current Intifada, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein called for volunteers to liberate the city. (JP)

March 12

Arguing that his government did not invent the closure policy, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon deflects criticism of the decision to tighten the blockade around Ramallah. He justifies the closure saying the measure was taken to prevent "terrorists" from the Ramallah area from carrying out an attack in Jerusalem. Palestinians warn that the measure will only lead to increased violence. During the last week, Israel has increased its military presence in the area between Jerusalem and Ramallah to a degree not seen since the 1967 Six Day War, according to Palestinian sources. Dozens of new IDF checkpoints have been established and the access roads leading to Qalandiya, Anata, Bitunia and Kufr Aqab villages north of Jerusalem have been blocked off. The U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also says that restriction in movement, economic pressure, and blockades do not necessarily help reduce the risk of attacks. (JP)

Following a recommendation made by the head of the Israeli General Security Service to allow non-Muslims to enter the Haram al-Sharif compound, Jerusalem Mayor, Ehud Olmert, makes the same plea. He adds that Israel should not allow alleged illegal construction work to continue at the site out of fear that such law enforcement would be used as an excuse for further violence. (JP) 

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell retracts a reference he made last week to Jerusalem as "Israel's capital" following angry reactions from the Arab world. Regarding the embassy move to Jerusalem, he tells Congress that the administration is studying the matter, but has set no date for the move given the current volatility of the region. (HA)

March 14

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the general vicar of Rome and president of the Italian bishops' conference, dedicates a "Peace Lamp" in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The lamp was lit and blessed by Pope John Paul II in Rome on Sunday. (JP)

After meeting with the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, Israeli President Moshe Katsav says the Israeli government must not permit the destruction of archeological artifacts on the site to continue. He comments that the Waqf's goal is to "erase every Jewish trace" in addition to reinforcing Muslim control of the compound. (HA)

Israeli settlers confiscate a Palestinian home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. (VOP)

March 15

The Ha'aretz reports on the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee's approval a few days ago of a plan to build the "eastern ring road" along Jerusalem's eastern side. To build this 15 km long road, 165 acres will have to be confiscated from landowners in five Palestinian villages: Issawiya, Al-Tur, Azariya, Abu Dis and Ras al-Amud. While former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was willing to transfer this land to the Palestinians, current Prime Minister Sharon has stated that no agreements reached prior to his election are valid. Israeli Member of Knesset Mussi Raz from the Meretz Party says that while there is a need for such a road from both Israelis and Palestinians, it is futile, given the current situation, to build roads on confiscated land that may in the future be handed over to the Palestinians. (HA)

Heeding a call by Jerusalem's Unified National Command, Palestinians in East Jerusalem observe a general strike to protest the closure on Palestinian cities. The strike is also in part a protest against U.S. Secretary of State Powell's remarks on moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, "Israel's capital." (JMCC, JP)

March 17

A 10-year-old boy from Dahiat al Barid, north of Jerusalem, is found murdered. Israeli police say he was killed as part of a family feud, while the family claims Israeli settlers murdered him. (HA) 



Palestinian artists participate in a protest march at the Qalandiya checkpoint against the Israeli policy of siege and closure. (JMCC)

March 19

An Israeli settler is shot and killed by Palestinians in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc near Jerusalem, which is built on land confiscated from al-Khader village. (VOP).



A group of women peacefully march in protest of Israel's policy of siege The march, which takes place between the Qalandia and Al-Ram checkpoints north of Jerusalem, ends violently when Israeli soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at the protesters, lightly injuring several people. (JMCC)

March 20

The Jerusalem Municipality approves the construction of 2,832 more homes at Har Homa settlement, called Jabal Abu Ghneim by Palestinians. Palestinian leaders say the move to expand settlement will destroy the chances for peace and will the Palestinians with no other choice but to continue the Intifada. (AYM)



During an appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, U.S. President Bush stands by his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (JP)

March 21

A parking warden calls himself "a messenger from God" after alerting police to a suspicious car containing a car bomb. Sappers successfully defuse the bomb found in West Jerusalem's Mea She'arim quarter. (JP)

Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat, who is responsible for the Antiquities Authority, promises the Knesset Education Committee that she will reverse previous government policy on what she terms "archeological destruction" by the Islamic Waqf on the Haram al-Sharif. Representatives of the Public Committee to Prevent Archeological Damage on the Temple Mount claim they have proof of recent digging on the compound using heavy equipment. However, police dispute these assertions saying that police and representatives of the Antiquities Authority are inspecting all truckloads of artifacts being carried away from the site. Sharon's new government has yet to form a policy on the subject. The Education Committee declares its conviction that the Waqf is continuing its destruction of archeological artifacts on the Haram and that this must be stopped. It also proposes that the Israeli Foreign Ministry alert UNESCO of the damage being done to the site. (HA, JP) 

While on a visit to the U.S., Prime Minister Sharon meets with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In a lengthy discussion, among other things, Sharon tells Annan that building the Har Homa settlement was meant to prevent the merging of Bethlehem with outlying East Jerusalem neighborhoods. According to Sharon, this would make it impossible to ever delineate a border in that area. He also tells Annan that the current building on Har Homa "is nothing new…and that it is just a continuation of construction." (JP)

March 22

Palestinian groups condemn the upcoming Jerusalem Conference of Mayors. Fatah leaders from East Jerusalem warn participants of the conference not to enter the Old City and East Jerusalem with Mayor Ehud Olmert, saying they cannot guarantee the safety of the mayors if they visit the city. Palestinians promise to demonstrate should the visit take place. Fifty-three mayors are expected to arrive on March 25 for Jerusalem's 21st annual Conference of Mayors, sponsored by the American Jewish Congress, the U.S. Congress of Mayors and Israel's Foreign Ministry. The conference will address issues related to developing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (JP)

Israeli authorities ratify the second phase of construction for the Har Homa settlement on Jabal Abu Ghneim. Supporters of Peace Now in Israel demonstrate against the decision. (AQ) 

March 23

The Ha'aretz reports on Israeli government plans for a new settlement in the West Bank, Giva'ot, to be located in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. It is slated to contain 6,000 housing units. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak advanced the preparations of the plan. (HA)

March 25

Ha'aretz reports Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert as saying that construction in the Har Homa settlement is necessary both for Israel's strategic goals and to satisfy the high demand for housing among young couples. His comments come in response to sharp criticism from leftists on the municipality's advance approval to expand the settlement, involving 2,830 units. (HA)

March 26

Ha'aretz reports a complaint filed to the Israeli High Court of Justice by two Jerusalem attorneys claiming that the civil administration in the West Bank has "knowingly and willfully" violated a court order to stay off some disputed land. The Court had previously ruled that settlers could not develop the land near Gush Etzion, classified as state land in 1985 but claimed by a Palestinian family, until the issue is resolved in court. The attorneys, Avraham Bardugo and David Deri say that government agencies in Gush Etzion have authorized construction on the land since January. (HA)



Prime Minister Sharon tells the Swiss foreign minister to its liason office with the PA from East Jerusalem into PA-controlled areas. (JP)

March 27

Two bombs explode in Jerusalem within six hours of each other. The first explosion, a car bomb in the Talpiot area, injures seven people. Later that afternoon a Palestinian suicide bomber blows himself up next to an Egged bus, killing himself and wounding 28 people. The Popular Army Front, believed to be Hamas by Israeli security officials, claims the second attack. (JP)

Speaking behind closed doors at the Arab summit in Amman, Jordan, Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi derides Arab leaders for being "obsessed" with liberating East Jerusalem's holy sites from Israeli occupation. Referring to al-Aqsa Mosque, Qadhafi says, "You solve it or you don't, it's just a mosque and I can pray anywhere." He also calls for open negotiations with Israel, chiding the Arab leadership for "negotiating under the table with Israel." (JORT)

March 28

Israel's Jerusalem municipality issues 19 demolition orders on Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, including five at Um Tuba, a village south of Jerusalem. (JMCC)

The Arab Summit in Amman ends. A concluding statement declares, among other things, Arab support for related U.N. resolutions on Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Leaders of the 22 Arab states also threatened to break off all ties with any country that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or decides to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. (JMCC)

March 29

The Committee to Prevent the Desturction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount requests the Israeli High Court of Justice to issue an interim injunction against the Islamic Waqf, charging that the Waqf is perpetuating serious harm to the Haram al-Sharif by cutting ancient stones to be used for secondary buildings. (JP)

Merchants of the Musrara Market near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate express their resentment at the lack of attention paid by police to the increased drug use and dealing in the area. Recently, a delegation of merchants met with Israeli police officials to brief them on the market's problems in this regard. (AQ)

March 30

The Ha'aretz reports that Jewish owners of a 25-dunam plot of land near Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim), in the West Bank, plan to seek the municipality's permission to construct a 392-apartment complex. MK Mussi Raz of the Meretz Party says such a project would damage the environment and that it would be a political mistake because it complicates the question on Jerusalem.it would be a planning mistake. (HA)

April 1

Reports indicate that the crackdown on East Jerusalemites between 1995 and 1999, when thousands of them had their residency rights in Jerusalem revoked, is softening. In 2000, the Israeli Interior Ministry restored residency rights to 818 Palestinians compared to 183 the year before. Last year the Ministry also stripped a smaller number of Palestinian Jerusalemites of their residency rights than in previous years - 207 in 2000, 414 in 1999, 788 in 1998, and 1067 in 1997. (HA) 

April 2

Israel's Antiquities Authority warns that Jerusalem's Old City walls may be in danger of collapse. According to on of its directors, Yaacov Sheffer, "There are certain places in the wall that will definitely be dangerous in the medium- to long-term future". The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman built the stonewalls, which enclose the Old City and its holy sites, between 1536 and 1542. A team of experts has been set up to survey the walls. (JP, JORT)

April 3

Israel's High Court of Justice tells the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount that issues related to the site are a matter of government policy and that they should seek remedy from the government. The committee filed a petition charging that the Islamic Waqf carries out illegal construction on the Haram al-Sharif. (JP)

Quintessence of Oblivion, a documentary by Palestinian filmmaker, Najwa Najjar, premieres at the Hakawati Theater in Jerusalem. The film, originally a tribute to a now abandoned cinema in East Jerusalem, is a study of the current Intifada and how, in her view, the Israeli occupation is destroying Jerusalem's Palestinian society.

April 4

Along with seven homes in other parts of the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish five homes in nearby Jerusalem villages. The Israeli Civil Administration delivers demolition orders to another 30 Palestinian families in and around Jerusalem for "illegally" built homes. (JP, JT)

The Gluska Commission, appointed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, recommends the Israeli government work "secretly" to reinforce Jordan's role on the Haram al-Sharif. The commission presents four main goals to be achieved in relation to the area: 1) Preserving the status quo and preventing any construction or digging aside from that monitored by the Antiquities Authority; 2) Cessation of PA violations of agreements regarding the Temple Mount; 3) Opening the area to non-Muslim visitors; and 4) Ending "incitement" in sermons preached by Muslim religious leaders on the Mount. The commission also recommends several sanctions to be implemented if necessary, limiting Muslim access to the Haram al-Sharif from the Palestinian areas. (HA)

April 5

Following Israel's recent demolitions of several Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and elsewhere, 30 Israeli peace activists help rebuild the Shuwamra family home in Anata, north of Jerusalem. (JP)

The Israeli Housing Ministry publishes tenders for the construction of another 700 building units in the Israeli settlements Ma'aleh Adumim (near Jerusalem) and Alfei Menashe (between Qalqiliya and Tulkarm). Peace Now demands the withdrawal of the publication of the tenders. (HA, JP)

The Israeli High Court of Justice rejects a petition by the Jewish fundamentalist group, the Temple Mount Faithful, asking the government to allow them to pray on the Haram al-Sharif over the Passover holiday. Since the onset of the uprising, the Islamic Waqf has closed all access to al-Haram al-Sharif to non-Muslims. Israeli police believe that opening it by force could trigger more bloodshed in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon says in a statement that he "supports, in principle, visits by members of all faiths to the Temple Mount," and directs security officials to find an appropriate way to realize the right of people of all faiths to visit the site. Following Sharon's statement, Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, demands that the Israeli government refrain from succumbing to pressure by extremist Jewish groups. The PA also warns of serious consequences should Sharon proceed with such a move. (HJ, JP)

April 7

The PA issues a statement in response to Sharon's reported instruction to Israeli security authorities to examine ways for Jews to visit the Haram al-Sharif, which has been closed to non-Muslims since the outbreak of the Intifada in September. The statement warns that if Israel carries out any action on the compound it would be "playing with fire that cannot be put out." (JP)

April 8

The Higher Islamic Commission rejects any interference by Israel in its holy sites. It says the Islamic Waqf has the sole right to supervise any matters pertaining to al-Aqsa Mosque. (HJ)

April 9

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres issues a statement saying that his government has no plans to build more settlements. The statement follows harsh international criticism over housing tenders issued to build 700 additional housing units in Ma'ale Adumim and Alfei Menashe settlements, near Jerusalem and Qalqiliya, respectively. He says that any new settlement activity will only be in response to "natural growth needs". Both settlements lie near the Green Line and are among the areas that former Israeli Prime Minister Barak had intended to annex to Israel under a final status agreement with the Palestinians. (JP)

UNESCO confirms that, at Israel's request, it will send a special envoy, Professor Oleg Grabar of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, to Jerusalem to investigate the reports of Islamic Waqf construction work on the Haram al-Sharif. According to Grabar, the purpose of the mission "is to find out how things happen, and what can be done to prevent unsatisfactory things from happening…[it] will not be a police inspection." This is the first visit of an UNESCO official since 1998. Both the Israeli and Palestinian sides have opposed further missions since for "internal reasons." (JP)

April 10

The Temple Mount Faithful marches towards the Haram al-Sharif in an attempt to enter the compound despite an Israeli High Court verdict that banning their access. Israeli police prevents the group from entering the area. (JORT, VOP)

Israeli President Moshe Katsav says he does not support the entry of Jewish worshippers onto the Haram al-Sharif without the Waqf's coordination. "It must be made clear that Israel maintains the sanctity of all holy sites in Israel, but it must be also clear that the 'Temple Mount' area is a holy site for the Jewish people too. Similar coordination efforts to those between Jewish and Moslem worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque [in Hebron] could be conducted at al-Aqsa Mosque," he adds. Sheikh Yousef Salameh denounces the president's comments. (AQ)

April 11

A report in the Ha'aretz describes the plight of Kfar Akev, a village whose northern part is controlled by the PA while its southern part falls within the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipality. Recently, Israeli forces have been firing at localities inside the Israeli-controlled part of Kfar Akev that lies within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, thereby blurring the distinction between the village's two parts. Such attacks on Palestinian residential areas within Jerusalem also points to Jerusalem's de-facto division. Even before the Intifada started, Kfar Akev's municipality services were inadequate, with raw sewage pouring onto streets and education services lacking. Since the outbreak of the uprising, trash collection at Kfar Akev and nearby villages north of the A-Ram junction have fully ceased. (HA)

April 13

Ha'aretz reports that residents of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem have been wounded by IDF fire to the north of the A-Ram junction. (HA)

April 14

Christian leaders denounce the presence of Israeli police in the Holy Sepulcher during the "Saturday of Light" celebrations in Jerusalem. Hundreds of worshippers are prevented by metal barriers from entering the church. (AQ)

April 15

Israeli opposition leader Yossi Sared of the Meretz Party warns Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert that the demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem could trigger a conflagration. (HA) 

In a press conference, PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Faisal Husseini, calls on Palestinians to protest the demolition of homes in Jerusalem, even if it means using their own bodies to block bulldozers. Husseini claims that the municipality is planning to demolish 6 East Jerusalem homes in the near future and charges Israel with using its house demolition policy as a way to deliberately uproot Palestinians from their land. (HA) 

April 16

The Israeli Housing Ministry publishes data showing that 2,400 housing units in the Ma'ale Adumin and Givat Ze'ev settlements near Jerusalem stand empty. Given the large number of empty apartments, Peace Now says the data proves that the Israeli government's "commitment to continue settlement construction only within the restrictions of 'natural growth' is a fiction designed to camouflage politically motivated expansion." (AQ, JP)

April 18

Israeli Prime Minister Sharon meets with senior security officials to begin initial discussions on the possibility of readmitting Israeli visitors and tourists to the Haram al-Sharif. No decision is reached; however, while the Israeli General Security Service has in the past recommended reopening the site to Jews, the police remain firm in its opposition to such a move, saying it would provoke further violence. (JP)

The Israeli Antiquities Authority opens a virtual reconstruction center in the Old City. The exhibit, touted as one of the most ultramodern electronic exhibits in the world, provides the visitor with a conception of how the Temple looked 2000 years ago. The new center faces harsh criticism from the Palestinians. Faisal Husseini says it is a "further attempt to Judaize the city." The museum is built over remnants of Byzantine and Ummayad palaces (JP, VOP)

April 19

JMCC releases the results of its latest poll on Palestinian attitudes toward the Intifada. The majority of the respondents (80.2%) support the continuation of the Intifada, while only 13.3% oppose it. This shows a 10% increase in support for the uprising since a similar poll was conducted in December 2000. A majority of respondents (62.3%) support its continuation as both a popular and armed struggle. (JMCC)

Israel postpones a planned visit in three weeks by a special envoy of UNESCO to investigate claims of Islamic Waqf construction work on the Temple Mount. In a letter to UNESCO officials, the Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Arye Gabai writes that, "due to the prevailing situation in the region, the mission will be postponed." Many Israeli officials disapprove of such an envoy considering it unwise given the past history of the organization. In past years, UNESCO has sent envoys to Jerusalem to report on the status of archeological digs. These reports have often been extremely critical of excavations in a city that the U.N. does not consider to be under Israeli sovereignty. (JP)

April 20

Following Friday prayers, 100 Israeli policemen enter the Haram al-Sharif to quell Palestinian stone throwers. This is the largest presence of police in the compound since the uprising's outbreak in September. Israeli police criticize the Waqf for its inability or unwillingness to suppress the stone throwing. (JP) 

Latin Patriarch, Michel Sabbah tells journalists that Palestinians must have sovereignty over all lands occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem with its holy sites. Following recognition of Palestinian sovereignty over this area, an agreement can be worked out to govern Jewish sites, he says. He still believes that the issues dividing the two peoples, such as Jerusalem, refugees, and water resources, can be resolved if the occupation ends. (JP)

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Jewish Quarter Development Corporation has announced plans to build hundreds of new apartments in the Jewish Quarter and dozens in the Moslem Quarter. The corporation also plans to build a long tunnel from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. The project still requires approval from the Jerusalem municipality. Palestinian sources condemn the project, saying it violates the city's delicate balance and could lead to an outbreak of violence. (JP)

April 21

PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister Faisal Husseini and former Israeli Minister Yossi Beilin participate in a London conference convened to analyze possible long-term solutions to the Jerusalem dilemma. They both emphasize the importance of maintaining non-official channels of communications open between the two parties. (JP)

April 23

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel does not visit the Old City as originally planned after Israeli police and the Waqf fail to agree on who should provide security for Michel's visit to the Haram al-Sharif. (JP)

April 24

The Israeli High Court of Justice rejects a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against the Jerusalem Municipality regarding the need for another 10 baby clinics in East Jerusalem. Only five such clinics operate in East Jerusalem, while 32 serve the Jewish population. The petition charges the municipality with failing to provide care to thousands of babies in the eastern part of Jerusalem. However, the court accepts the municipality's argument that it plans to construct three more clinics in that area. (HA)

April 27

The Jerusalem Post reports on this week's legislation introduced to the U.S. Congress by Representative Anthony Weiner on Jerusalem. He calls for Washington to bring its consulate in Jerusalem under the supervision of the ambassador to Israel; put "Jerusalem, Israel" together on all government documents that list capital and country together; and list Israel as the country of birth on passports of U.S. citizens born in the city. Weiner also introduced the "Israeli Capital Recognition Act", which Congress passed last year. (JP)

Chronology Source Abbreviations 

ACJ (American Committee on Jerusalem, Washington D.C.)

AFP (Agence France Presse)

AP (Associated Press)

AQ (al-Quds, Jerusalem) 

AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah) 

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, London)

BG (Boston Globe, USA)

CNN (Cable News Network, Atlanta, USA)

HA (Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv) 

HJ (al-Hayat al-Jadida, Gaza) 

IJS (Institute of Jerusalem Studies, Jerusalem)

IN (The Independent, UK)

JMCC (Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, Jerusalem) 

JORP (Jordan Times, Amman)

JP (Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem)

JT (Jerusalem Times, Jerusalem)

NYT (New York Times, USA)

OAA (Organization of Arab Architects)

R (Reuters)

VOI (Voice of Israel Radio)

VOP (Voice of Palestine Radio)