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30 April 1997
D i v i s i o n f o r P a l e s t i n i a n R i g h t s

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine
Monthly media monitoring review

April 1997


Prime Minister of Japan Ryutaro Hashimoto expressed concern about rising tension in the region. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Deputy Foreign Minister Shunji Yanai would visit Israel and the Gaza Strip on 3 April. (AFP)



PA President Arafat told United States Consul General in Jerusalem Edward Abington that he was not ready to resume security cooperation with Israel unless the peace talks resumed. (MSNBC)

Five Palestinian demonstrators were injured by rubber bullets fired by Israeli soldiers in Hebron. The city’s Alia Hospital said 16 Palestinians were treated for rubber bullet injuries. Clashes also broke out in Bethlehem and near a Jewish settlement of Eli, between Nablus and Ramallah. (AFP, Reuters)


A Jewish settler opened fire on Palestinians with his M-16 assault rifle after his van was stoned in the village of Kharbatha in the West Bank, located between Ramallah and the settlement of Kiryat Sefer. Two Palestinians were wounded, one seriously. Iyad Eid, 18, was seriously wounded with a bullet in his lung but was in stable condition. (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Israel’s Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordekhai said the military closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, tightened after the 21 March bombing in Tel Aviv, would remained in effect. On 6 April, the closure was eased slightly to allow about 3,000 Palestinian workers into Israeli-controlled industrial zones. (AFP, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

Following meetings of Miguel Moratinos, EU Middle East envoy with the Israeli and PA officials, The Jerusalem Post quoted a senior Israeli government official as saying that Israel would “not agree to direct European intervention in either political or economic process.” (The Jerusalem Post)

Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafic Hariri urged the Russian Federation to help rescue the Middle East peace process. After his meeting in Moscow with Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, he said that Russia should do all it could to give a new impetus to the peace talks. (AFP, Reuters)


Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers shot dead two Palestinians and wounded over 70. In Hebron, a Jewish settler shot dead a shopkeeper, identified as Asem Arafeh, 24. Officials at Al-Ahli Hospital identified the second dead man as Mansour Taha al-Sayed Ahmed, 18, and said he died from a metal-coated rubber bullet that penetrated his head. An official at the PA Ministry of Health said that Alia Hospital treated 78 people while Al-Ahli treated 13. (AFP, AP, MSNBC, Reuters)

The PA President Arafat and Israel’s Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon met in the Gaza City, at the request of the United States, to discuss the breakdown in security cooperation between the two sides. A senior CIA official also attended. (AFP, AP, MSNBC, Reuters)


Clashes erupted in Hebron after the funeral of Nader Said, 24, one of two Palestinians killed by Israeli rubber bullets on 8 April. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded 31 Palestinian with rubber-coated metal bullets. The clashes spread briefly to the village of Dura outside Hebron. (AFP, AP, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

France urged the United States to take up quickly a EU proposal for a joint peace initiative in the Middle East. Speaking at a news briefing, Jacques Rummelhard, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: “We strongly hope our American allies will respond to Europe’s suggestion for joint action. … Europe believes action must be taken very rapidly. … Taking the initiative to re-launch dialogue and the peace plan is more urgent than ever.” (Reuters)

David Bar-Illan, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s communications director, said a proposal put forward by the EU to establish a “code of conduct” for the Israelis and the Palestinians, which would include a halt to both anti-Israeli violence and Jewish settlement growth was unacceptable. He said: “Any Government, which has a trace of decency would flatly reject a comparison between murders and construction.” He added that the Europeans, who “have good relations with Arab countries and the Palestinians, should make them understand that negotiations cannot go hand in hand with terrorism.” (AFP)


Around 200 Palestinians took part in clashes with the Israeli troops in Hebron. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded with rubber-coated metal bullets seven Palestinians protesters in Hebron. Clashes also erupted briefly in Bethlehem, where scores of Palestinian students marched towards Israeli army lines and hurled stones. Troops responded with tear-gas and rubber bullets but there were no immediate reports of casualties. (AFP, Reuters)

Pope John Paul II voiced grave concern at violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Accepting the credentials of the new Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, the Pope said: “I renew the expression of grave concern, with which the Holy See and the entire international community has noted the recent heightening of tensions in an already delicate and volatile situations.” He said a “seemingly endless spiral of action, reaction and counter-reaction” was “a vicious circle, from which there can be no escape unless all parties act with genuine goodwill and solidarity.” (Reuters)


Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in Hebron despite a major deployment of Palestinian police controlling the protesters. Seventeen Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets, with one seriously hurt and hospitalized. A Palestinian woman was also hospitalized after being hit in the head by a stone thrown by a Jewish settler. (AFP)



Israel eased closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip allowing some 20,000 Palestinian workers into the country. (AP, AFP, Reuters)



The Israeli army stormed and closed down two PA security offices in the West Bank. Jibril Rajoub, chief of preventive security in the West Bank said the soldiers stormed into his offices in the West Bank villages of Hableh and Bidya and closed them down. An army spokesman said that the activities of the Palestinian police in Area B were against the agreements, meaning that the IDF controlled security while the PA oversaw civilian affairs. (AFP, Reuters)

Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Jewish settlers in Hebron. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (Reuters)



According to Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator, the United States Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross proposed to PA President Arafat the “continuation of work on Jabal Abu Ghneim in exchange for a complete implementation of the interim accords on Palestinian autonomy.” Erakat said that the Palestinians maintained their refusal to resume peace talks before construction is halted on the Har Homa settlement. PA President’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: “The talks did not lead to an accord on ways to save the peace process.” (AFP)

PA President Arafat held talks in the Gaza City with Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and Middle East envoy Viktor Posuvaluk. Posuvaluk had visited Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. According to diplomatic sources in Beirut and Damascus, Posuvaluk was putting forward proposals drawn up by France and Russia to rescue the peace process. (AFP)


According to an official Israeli report, published in Ha’aretz, Palestine refugees left property valued today at US$6 billion when they left Palestine after the 1948 hostilities. The report said the property, mostly land and houses, was valued at US$1 billion at the time and was left behind by the 700,000 Palestinians who lived on the land that became part of Israel. The report was made available to thousands of arriving Jewish immigrants, notably from Arab countries. (AFP)




Israeli troops made wide use of mobile army roadblocks to arrest suspected Palestinian militants travelling around the occupied territory during Muslim holidays. At least 40 suspects, mostly university students, were arrested during the period coinciding with the Id al-Adha. Many of those detained were stopped at the roadblocks placed on routes used by Palestinians to travel between the self-rule areas and their home villages in the occupied territory. (AFP)




Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas on Palestinian protesters demonstrating against an attempt by Jewish settlers to expand their settlement in the Gaza Strip. Some 100 Palestinians marched on the 1.5 acre (0.6 hectare) site along the Mediterranean coast, in which bulldozers from the Gush Katif bloc of settlements began work under Israeli army protection. (AFP)


The PA asked for a higher level of United States mediation in the peace negotiations with Israel. The General Secretary of the PA President’s office Tayeb Abdel-Rahim said: “The current crisis in the PLO-Israeli peace process requires the involvement of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright if the US intends to find solutions. … I am not doubting anyone, but I am saying that the US Administration should be more neutral and must adhere more to the basis of the peace process.” (AFP, Reuters)





Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man at an Israeli roadblock just outside the West Bank village of Hizmeh near Jerusalem. According to Jibril Rajoub, head of preventive security in the West Bank, the man was shot by Israeli undercover units. (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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