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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 March 1996
CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF EVENTS

RELATING TO THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

March 1996

















Monitored from the media by the
Division for Palestinian Rights


3 March A bomb exploded on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem killing 19 people and injuring ten others. The suicide bombing occurred on bus line No. 18 a week after a similar attack on the same line, in which 26 people were killed. The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, reportedly, as the final retaliation for the assassination in January of its leader, Yahya Ayyash, known as the Engineer. (The New York Times)


4 March The fourth in a series of suicide bomb attacks took place in Tel-Aviv, killing 14 people and injuring 130 others, bringing the nine-day death toll to 61. The attack took place outside the Dizengoff Center, the biggest shopping mall in Tel-Aviv. The Hamas movement claimed responsibility for the attack. (The New York Times)


5 March Israeli troops sealed off eight Palestinian houses with metal plates and imposed a curfew on the Burqa Village in the West Bank. It was also reported that more than 150 Palestinians from the West Bank were arrested by Israeli security forces. (The New York Times)


6 March The Israeli army sealed off 11 Palestinian houses belonging to suicide bombers and their accomplices and arrested 102 Palestinians in the West Bank. It was also reported that four institutions in the West Bank, including Hebron University, were closed by Israeli soldiers. (AFP)


7 March The Palestinian Legislative Council convened for the first time in Gaza City and declared the birth of a new democracy in the Middle East. Mr. Arafat, addressing members of the Council, called on Israel, the United States, and other countries to convene a high-level meeting on methods of confronting terrorism as a regional and international phenomenon. (The New York Times)

8 March Israeli soldiers demolished a house in a village near Nablus owned by the family of Raed Shaghnoubi who carried out the suicide bombing attack on bus 18 in Jerusalem on 3 March. It was the first such demolition since the latest wave of bombings began. (The Washington Post)


9 March The Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian fishermen from the Gaza Strip from going out to sea. Mohammad Nashashibi, head of the Palestinian Authority Finance Department, denounced the act and accused the Israeli Government of causing starvation among Palestinians and violating the PLO-Israeli agreements. (AFP)


10 March The President of Turkey, Mr. Suleiman Demirel, visited Israel and the Palestinian self-rule areas for the first time and enlisted his country as a strategic and economic ally. President Demirel was accompanied by a 200-member delegation of political, business and religious leaders for a four-day visit. During his visit he met with Mr. Yasser Arafat in Gaza City. (AFP)


11 March A Palestinian baby boy from Qalqilya in the West Bank died after Israeli soldiers refused to allow his parents to cross the West Bank into Israel for a hospital treatment. (AFP)
12 March Israeli security forces arrested 15 Palestinians believed to be members of the Hamas movement, bringing the number of Palestinians arrested since late February to 265. (AFP)
13 March Leaders of 27 nations attended a one-day Summit of Peacemakers in Sharm El-Shiek, Egypt, and discussed terrorism and peace in the Middle East. The summit was called for and co-chaired by US President Bill Clinton and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Syria and Lebanon boycotted the summit and called on world leaders to force Israel to implement UN resolution 425 which calls on Israel to withdraw from Lebanese territory. The participants agreed to cooperate in fighting terrorism and to continue both economic and political support for the peace effort with special attention to the current and pressing economic needs of the Palestinians. (The New York Times)

14 March US President Bill Clinton visited Israel and announced plans to provide the country with $100 million in aid and improved intelligence information to counter terrorism in Israel. (The Washington Post)

15 March Israeli security forces arrested five Palestinians from Jenin in the West Bank. (AFP)


16 March The French Government granted the Palestinian Authority 85 million francs ($17 million) to develop the port of Gaza and launch water purification projects. The agreement was signed by French Economy Minister Jean Arthuis and his Palestinian counterpart, Mohammad Nashashibi. A separate sum of 23 million Francs ($4.6 million) was granted for cultural, scientific and technological aid. (Reuter)


17 March Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres proposed to establish a $100 million international fund to help create jobs for Palestinians. He also said that Israels closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would continue indefinitely. (The Washington Post)


18 March The Israeli authorities arrested 29 Palestinians from the West Bank believed to be involved in the recent wave of suicide bombings in Israel. (Reuter)


19 March Mr. Yasser Arafat renamed the West Bank as the Northern District of the Palestinian self-rule area and the Gaza Strip as the Gaza District. According to Mr. Arafat's decree, the new names confer a greater sense of Palestinian control over the self-rule areas. (The Christian Science Monitor)


20 March The United States Government pledged $500 million over five years to the Palestinian Authority, including $75 million a year in USAID managed funds and $125 million in loan guarantees administered by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). (AFP)


21 March A Palestinian Islamic group formerly associated with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, announced that they had formed a new political party called The Islamic National Salvation Party (INSP). It was reported that the INSP shares Hamas broad ideology but rejects the use of violence. (Reuter)



22 March Israeli troops demolished the house of Majdi Abu Wardeh's family in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp in the West Bank, who carried out the first in a wave of suicide bombing attacks in Israel. (Reuter)
25 March Israeli troops demolished two Palestinian houses one in Qaryut in the West Bank and the other in East Jerusalem. The houses belonged to two suicide bombers who carried out an attack in Jerusalem in August 1995. (The Washington Post)


26 March Israeli security forces arrested 10 Palestinians from the Hebron area in the West Bank who were believed to be affiliated with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. (AFP)
27 March Jordan pledged 10,000 tons of flour in urgent aid to the Palestinian Authority to alleviate starvation in the Palestinian self-rule areas. (AFP)


28 March The US government adopted an emergency plan to ease Israel's restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The plan was announced by Secretary of State Warren Christopher at the opening of a two-day meeting of 27 nations held in Washington. The six-point plan was drawn up after consultations with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat. Accordingly, Israel would permit construction materials and Egyptian trucks to pass through checkpoints so that people in the Gaza Strip could return to their work. Citrus and other exports from the Palestinian territories would be shipped to the outside world from Israel and Jordan. (The Washington Post, AFP)
30 March Mr. Yasser Arafat met with World Bank President James Wolfensohn in Gaza City and discussed steps to aid the Palestinian self-rule areas. Mr. Wolfensohn announced the granting of $20 million in immediate aid to the Palestinian Authority to overcome Israel's closure of the Palestinian territories. Mr. Arafat called on the World Bank to exert pressure on donor countries to meet financial pledges made to the Palestinian Authority. (Reuter)


31 March The Israeli cabinet met and decided to extend indefinitely the closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

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