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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 May 1996


May 1996

Monitored from the media by the
Division for Palestinian Rights

1 May Yasser Arafat, the President of the Palestinian Authority, made his first official visit to the United States since he was elected and met with President Bill Clinton at the White House. The two leaders discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations as well as regional economic and security issues. They agreed to form a joint US-Palestinian commission to deal with issues of common concern. (The New York Times)

2 May Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres said in an interview published by Le Nouvel Observateur in Paris that the closure of the Palestinian territory would not be lifted before Israel's general election on 29 May. (Reuter)

3 May Israel postponed its partial withdrawal from the city of Hebron in the West Bank until after the 29 May Israeli general elections. The decision was made by Prime Minister Shimon Peres after meeting with military chiefs in Tel-Aviv. Mr. Arafat denounced the new delay and accused Israel of violating the PLO-Israeli agreements. (AFP)

4 May The Government of Tunisia opened an interests bureau in Tel-Aviv headed by Khemaies Jhinaoui. (Reuter)

5 May The Israeli and Palestinian delegations opened negotiations in the Red Sea resort of Taba on the final status of the Palestinian territory. The final negotiations would also include the status of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements in the Palestinian areas, Palestinian refugees, borders, security arrangements, and vital economic questions such as sharing of water. (The New York Times)

6 May Israeli soldiers shot and injured nine Palestinians following clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank town of Qalquilya. Earlier in the day, Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse some 600 Palestinians protesting Israel's building of a security fence which would separate the town from Israel. (The New York Times)

7 May Palestinian demonstrators from various parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip clashed with Israeli security forces while protesting against Israeli confiscation of lands in the Palestinian territory. During a demonstration in Qalqilya, Israeli soldiers fired a number of rubber bullets, injuring 3 people. Soldiers also fired at demonstrators near the Katif settlement in the Gaza Strip, injuring 2 Palestinians. (Reuter)

8 May The European Commission approved a donation of 15 million European Currency Unit ($18.5) to help improve universities and colleges in the Palestinian territory. The aid came after a pledge made on 12 April at a meeting between EU officials and Palestinian organizations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (Reuter)

9 May The Israeli Intelligence Agency Shin Beth arrested Akram Abdel Rahman, a brother of Hassan Salameh from the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, who was believed to be involved in recruiting and training suicide bombers in Lebanon. (AFP)

10 May Israeli police arrested 11 Palestinians from East Jerusalem accused of being involved in suicide bombings against Israel. Five of them were charged with driving three suicide bombers into Jerusalem and to Ashqelon and six others were charged with sheltering the suicide bombers. (AFP)

12 May Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, King Hussein of Jordan, and President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, met in Cairo to coordinate their stands on the Middle East peace process and the future of the Palestinian territory. The three leaders also discussed means to accelerate peace negotiations between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon. In a joint statement, the three leaders said that any settlement concerning the future of Jerusalem should respect the legal, historical, and spiritual rights of Palestinians, Arabs, Moslems and Christians in the holy city. They agreed to meet again in Jordan during the first week of June. (Financial Times, Reuter)

13 May An Israeli settler was shot dead and three others were injured when gunmen in a passing car opened fire on a group of settlers near the settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah. It was reported that the gunmen fled into the al-Jalazun refugee camp which later on was sealed off by the Israeli army. There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting. (The New York Times, AFP)

14 May A group of 32 Norwegian observers arrived in Hebron to monitor the Israeli army redeployment in the city. The group is part of the international observers to be stationed in Hebron under the Agreement on Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron, signed by Israel and the PLO on 9 May 1996. The observers have no police powers but would move freely to document incidents and report them to an Israeli-Palestinian joint committee. (The New York Times, AFP)

15 May The Israeli military authorities imposed a total military blockade of the Palestinian self-rule areas until further notice. It was reported by the Israeli radio that the decision was taken to prevent any possible attacks against Israel during the 29 May general elections. (AFP)

16 May Israel barred the entry of all Palestinian journalists from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip three days after authorizing 50 reporters to cover the Israeli general elections. Government spokesman Uri Dromi said that the authorization has been suspended until 29 May. (AFP)

17 May The 21 Palestinian members of the new Executive Authority took an oath on the Koran in a ceremony headed by Yasser Arafat. Mr. Arafat said that he would present the cabinet to the Palestinian Council within 10 days for a vote of confidence. (Reuter)

18 May Israeli soldiers shot and injured a Palestinian man, Hassan Salameh, from Hebron in the West Bank, who, according to the Israelis, was suspected to be behind two suicide bombings against Israel. Mr. Salameh was identified by the Israeli Army spokesman as a deputy commander of the Qassam military wing of Hamas. He was captured along with the car driver during a vehicle search. Eight other Palestinians from the Hebron area were also arrested by the Israeli army. (The New York Times, Reuter)

20 May The Israeli army arrested 13 Palestinians from Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jenin in the West Bank, believed to be involved in suicide bombings in Israel. It was reported that those arrested were members of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (AFP)

21 May The Israeli army arrested 11 Palestinians from the West Bank, believed to be involved in suicide bombings in Israel in late February. (Reuter)

22 May At its first meeting in Gaza City, the newly-elected PLO Executive Committee named Mahmud Abbas as its secretary-general, formally confirming his position as deputy to Mr. Yasser Arafat. The Committee also decided to meet again after the Israeli general election to discuss political developments in the region. (AFP)

25 May Yasser Arafat arrived in Oman for a two-day visit and met in Muscat with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The two leaders discussed regional and international ways to help the Middle East peace process and agreed to establish representative offices in their respective countries. During the visit, Oman donated $7 million to help relieve the sufferings of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli closure of the Palestinian territory. (Reuter)

26 May Representatives of Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority met in a hotel on the Jordanian coast of the Dead Sea and discussed the passage of people and goods across their borders. The meeting was devoted to eliminate obstacles and simplify transport procedures. The participants also discussed ways of refurbishing old bridges across the Jordan River to allow free movement of people. (AFP)

27 May The Education Minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed ibn Ahmad al-Rashidi, signed an agreement with the Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, to finance education projects in the Palestinian territory. The aid would be devoted to equip and renovate Palestinian educational institutions. (AFP)

28 May The World Bank awarded a $40 million loan, virtually interest-free for 40 years, to the Palestinian Authority to help finance road and water projects. (AFP)

29 May Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi to reconsider his position on expelling Palestinians working in Libya. No response from the Libyan leader was reported. (AFP)

30 May The Israeli Central Elections Committee revealed the first results of the Israeli elections and announced the victory of Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu for the position of prime minister. He garnered 50.3 per cent of the vote while the incumbent candidate, Mr. Shimon Peres, obtained 49.6. In the general elections to the Parliament (Knesset), held a day earlier, the Labour Party gained 26.8 per cent and Likud, 25.1 per cent. The three religious parties gained close to 20 per cent of the seats, a significant increase compared with last years elections. Another significant increase was that of the two Arab lists which gained 7.1 per cent of the new Knesset seats. (Haaretz)

31 May Mr. Yasser Arafat called on the newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to adhere to the PLO-Israeli peace agreements signed by his predecessors. The appeal came in a statement read by Mr. Arafat's aide, Nabil Abu Rodeine, after an emergency meeting in Gaza City of the Executive Authority and the PLO Executive Committee. (AFP)

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