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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
16 October 2003

Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine


April 2000


PA chief negotiator Abdel Rabbo said Israel had dropped its opposition to a Palestinian State, but the PA rejected Israel's vision of that State: two clusters of areas connected by a land passage, along with some West Bank suburbs of Jerusalem, totalling 50% of the West Bank, with Israel controlling the border with Jordan. (Mideast Mirror)


More than 100 Palestinians from Beit Umar, north of Hebron, tried to tear down a fence erected by settlers of “Karmei Tzur.” In response, the IDF declared the site a closed military area and used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the protesters. (Foundation for Middle East Peace)


To protest the Israeli High Court's decision of 29 March 2000 that allowed Palestinians to return to their homes south of Hebron, Israeli settlers re-established an unauthorized outpost “Havat Maon,” dismantled in November 19999 as part of an agreement between Prime Minister Barak and the YESHA council. (The New York Times)


The IDF evacuated Israeli settlers from “Havat Ma’on” outpost but would permit them to farm the land. (The New York Times)

The Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams resumed talks on framework agreement on permanent status at Bolling Air Force base near Washington, D.C. (Ha’aretz, the Washington Post)


The White House announced that Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak would come to Washington separately to meet with President Clinton on final status talks. Mr. Barak was due to come on 11 April, and Mr. Arafat on 20 April. (The New York Times)

A one day conference, entitled "The Right of Return: Palestinian Refugees and Prospects for a Durable Solution," took place in the Boston University Law College. The first major public event on the Palestinian refugee issue was aimed at developing an International action plan to support Palestinians' right of return. Speakers included respected senior academics and political analysts, including Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe and Robert Fisk. (BADIL press release)


Palestinians and Israelis feasted together in Jineba, West Bank, to celebrate the Israeli court ruling returning 700 Palestinians cave dwellers to their homes. Human rights activists said the High Court’s ruling of 29 March was a sign of increased Israeli liberalism towards the Palestinians – but that there was a long way to go. In recent months, the High Court of Justice had banned secret service interrogators from using physical pressure, as well as conventions that banned Israeli Palestinians from moving into predominantly Jewish neighbourhoods. The Education Ministry had introduced text books that depicted the suffering of Palestinian refugees including the poetry of a Palestinian nationalist into the curriculum. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Barak announced that he planned to annex Jewish settlements within the expanding municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, including “Ma’ale Adumim,” “Gilo,” "Ramot,” and “Pisgat Ze’ev.” In exchange, he would transfer Abu Dis and Anata to the PA, stating that his Government did not want to annex 50,000 Palestinians to Jerusalem. (AFP)


Speaking to reporters after meeting with Egyptian President Mubarak in Cairo, Chairman Arafat criticised Israeli Prime Minister Barak, saying he was eager to build as many settlements as possible while in office, already building 7,128 settlement units in six months, more than in the three years of the Netanyahu Government. Mr. Arafat further said that in the Sharm al-Sheikh agreement, Mr. Barak had committed to withdrawing Israeli forces from 90 per cent of the West Bank, but so far had handed over to Palestinian control only 43.9 per cent. Mr. Arafat added that Mr. Barak broke commitments on Jerusalem, refugees, borders with Egypt and Jordan, frozen assets, sales taxes, customs duties, and the second safe passage road between Gaza and the West Bank. ( AFP, Reuters)

The Knesset's Budget and Security Committee approved US$400 million for settlement security and construction of 12 bypass roads in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The funds would be taken from US$1.2 billion in US assistance promised as part of the Wye agreement in October 1998. (Foundation for Middle East Peace)


Al-Ayyam reported that the PA negotiating team had defined five “No’s” in their ongoing negotiations with the Israeli side at the US Bolling Air Base near Washington. These are: No to giving up any part of the Palestinian territories seized in the 1967 Middle East war, including Jerusalem; No to accepting settlement legitimacy; No to delaying discussions on such issues as Jerusalem and refugees and for accepting a partial framework agreement; No to any kind of Israeli military presence inside the Palestinian State territories from Jordan river border to joint border with Egypt; and No to the policy of repatriating Palestine refugees in places other than their homeland. ( XINHUA)

Israeli settlers in the West Bank, angered by the Government's rejection of 60-70 requests to authorize new settlement construction, announced they would start carrying out expansions illegally. Settlers with half a dozen bulldozers began laying down groundwork for a new neighbourhood on Olive Hill near “Efrat,” south of Bethlehem,with a plan to build 230 housing units, even though Prime Minister Barak had refused to approve construction there. “Efrat” already has 1,500 homes, housing some 10,000 settlers. Settlers were also preparing to take over the hill just outside the settlement of “Har Gilo,” with plans to put up more than 200 new houses. (AFP, Foundation for Middle East Peace, The New York Times)

The PA denounced the Israeli seizure of land around East Jerusalem as part of plans to build a road to the “Ma’ale Adumim”. The PA had rejected Israeli plans to annex Jewish settlements around Jerusalem, including “Ma’ale Adumim,” in exchange for the transfer of Palestinian villages to the PA. (AFP)

A meeting between President Clinton and the Prime Minister Barak stretched for four hours instead of one as planned. Aides to Mr. Clinton said the session was not intended to produce major developments. Instead, Mr. Clinton sought to hear Mr. Barak's views before meeting Chairman Arafat a week later.The two men agreed on an accelerated meeting schedule and a stronger American presence at the negotiating table. (The New York Times)


The PA Central Bureau of Statistics reported that by mid-2000, there would be some 3.2 million Palestinians, with 53 per cent under the age of 18, and 24.6 per cent of those children living in poverty. Sixty-three per cent live in Gaza and 36.1 per cent in the West Bank. The situation in the refugee camps is reported to be particularly difficult, with some 37.3 per cent of the children there living in poverty. (Ha’aretz)


The IDF recently conducted extensive military exercises simulating armed conflict with Palestinians. (Arutz7)


US State Department Spokesman James Rubin said that the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams had exchanged papers outlining each side’s proposals for a framework agreement on permanent status. He added that tough issues and gaps remained, but work would continue at Bolling Air Force base to overcome those gaps. Prime Minister Barak, who met with President Clinton during the past week, and Chairman Arafat have reportedly set 13 May as a target date for an outline accord on a final peace treaty. The next day, PA negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo welcomed the direct role played by the US in the second round of negotiations and said he hoped the American dynamism would increase to help bring negotiations to a conclusion. (AFP)


The Palestinian Council held a meeting to welcome Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who was the first Chinese Head of State to visit the Palestinian territory. In his statement, Chairman Arafat expressed his belief that China, as a country with increasing international influence, would continue to help the realization of peace [in the Middle East] based on relevant UN resolutions. (XINHUA)

A senior Israeli official said Prime Minister Barak was prepared to promise Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state as part of a final peace agreement with the Palestinians, expected in May, and in exchange for concessions on territory. When asked about this, Chairman Arafat said: ''It's not true. Such reports in the Israel media aim to weaken our morale, and our stand is firm and clear: land for peace according to the Arab-Israeli agreements.''Two French newspapers also reported that Mr. Barak was prepared to offer the Palestinians five Arab villages in the Jerusalem area, and a 12 percent further redeployment from the West Bank, to advance the negotiations. Citing a ''senior Palestinian source,'' the newspapers said Mr. Barak would announce that to his Cabinet on 16 April. However, an adviser to Mr. Barak said such an announcement was unlikely. (The New York Times)

Near the “Brakha” settlement in the West Bank, six armed Israeli settlers assaulted a 71-year-old Palestinian woman, threatening to bury her alive. A passing Palestinian motorist stopped the attack, taking the woman to a hospital for treatment for bruises and shock. (LAW)


Prime Minister Barak said that Israel would not annex Palestinian villages near Jerusalem but would seek to annex most Israeli settlements in a final agreement,saying: ''We have always prayed toward Jerusalem and have never directed any prayer toward Aizariya and Abu Dis. The annexation of those 50,000 to 70,000 Palestinians serves neither the security nor any other national interest of Israel." Mr. Barak added that Israel might make a "down payment" on future land transfers, possibly handing over Palestinian villages near Jerusalem. Yediot Aharonot later reported that the idea of a “down payment” came from Washington. (The New York Times)

Senior Israeli officials confirmed that under the right conditions, Israel would formally recognize a Palestinian State. The five officials who have made statements since 15 April are Internal Security Minister Ben Ami, Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon Peres, Minister without Portfolio Haim Ramon, Education Minister Sarid, and Deputy Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh. (The Washington Post)


Palestinians marking Prisoners’ Day clashed with Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem during a demonstration demanding the release of 1,635 Palestinian prisoners held in 11 Israeli jails. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, lightly wounding six protesters. The Palestinian Prisoners and Human Rights Association (Addameer), said detainees would go on a hunger strike and boycott court sessions at some point in further protest. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Barak told Israeli TV that a future Palestinian State should have territorial continuity, and be more than an autonomous area with increased powers or a protectorate. He added that he favoured a separation between Israelis and Palestinians, with each living in their own place, in mutual respect and cooperation. He reiterated that he would not accept a return to the borders in force in June 1967, and that he intended to annex those parts of the West Bank where most Jewish settlers lived. He would also not accept a foreign army on the west bank of the Jordan River. (AFP)

The UN Human Rights Committee adopted resolution 2000/6 “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine,” demanding a halt to Israeli settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Thirty-one of the fifty-three member countries voted in favour, while the United States voted against and 19 countries, including seven EU states, abstained. (Foundation for Middle East Peace)


The IDF demolished three Palestinian houses in the village Issawiya, in “Area C” outside Jerusalem. (LAW)


In Washington, President Clinton held three-hour talks with Chairman Arafat on final status negotiations, saying that at the request of both sides, the US would take a more active role in Mideast peace talks, but that both sides must make the necessary compromises. Mr. Clinton, speaking just before greeting Mr. Arafat, said there were ''risks and difficulties'' for both sides. But if they were willing to work at resolving the differences, he said, ''I will do whatever we can.'' Mr. Arafat also had lunch with the Secretary of State Albright in the garden of her Georgetown home.The US said that the negotiations were set to resume after Passover ended on 27 April,and as there had not been enough progress in the Bolling sessions to meet the target date of 13 May, all efforts would be directed toward the 13 September deadline. (The New York Times)


The IDF demolished at least five Palestinian houses, 21 tents and a water reservoir near the villages of Issawiya and Anata in north-eastern Jerusalem. The houses were built on land designated as state land, which is included in the blueprint for “Ma'ale Adumim” but which Palestinians wanted to use to expand Issawiya. (Foundation for Middle East Peace, LAW)

King Abdullah II of Jordan paid his first official visit to Israel, saying in his one public statement here: ''The Palestinian issue is a central one in the Israeli-Arab conflict, and I am very hopeful that this year will witness a breakthrough that will give hope to the Palestinians, and the justice they seek, and for the Israeli people, the security they desire.'' In an interview with Israeli TV, he further said: ''When we look at Jerusalem, I believe on the political levels that Jerusalem has enough room for a Palestinian and an Israeli capital. On the religious side, I believe that Jerusalem should be a city for all of us -- an open city.'' (The New York Times)


Western European and Other Group (WEOG) at the UN offered Israel full but temporary membership in the group while it continues to work for admission to the Asian grouping. (Middle East International)


The IDF demolished six more houses in Issawiya after Palestinian families rebuilt the homes that had been demolished several days earlier. (Foundation for Middle East Peace)


PA and Israel resumed negotiations on the framework agreement on permanent status in Eilat. Talks are to last 10 days, and will be suspended for Holocaust Memorial Day before resuming in Taba. The first session was delayed by five hours to protest Prime Minister Barak's authorization of new settlement construction just a few hours before the meeting. Peace Now reported, and the Israeli Ministry of Housing confirmed that it had opened competition for bids to develop 174 housing units in “Ma'ale Adumim,” formally ending the freeze on new tenders ordered by Mr. Barak in December 1999. (Foundation for Middle East Peace, Ha’aretz, The New York Times)

IDF troops in Hebron forcibly removed Israeli settlers from a new outpost in the middle of a Palestinian neighbourhood. (The New York Times)


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