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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights
30 November 1994
CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF EVENTS

RELATING TO THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE


November 1994




















Monitored from the media by the
Division for Palestinian Rights

1 November A three-day Middle East and North Africa economic summit concluded in Casablanca, Morocco, with an initial agreement to establish regional chambers of commerce and offices of tourism staffed by Israelis and Arabs. The agreement is part of a five-page "Casablanca Declaration" outlining plans to cement peace talks between Arabs and Israelis with foreign participation in capital and expertise; the summit was attended by representatives of 61 countries and 1,114 businessmen. (The New York Times)
2 November Speaking in Jerusalem to a young leadership of the United Jewish Appeal, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that the Likud government made a major mistake by establishing settlements of 30 to 80 families in areas densely populated by Palestinians. As a result the bulk of the army is stationed in the West Bank for the purpose of protecting Jewish settlers, he concluded. According to Rabin, in order to protect 450 Jewish settlers in Hebron, which has a Palestinian population of 100,000, there was a need for three Israeli army battalions to be there at all times. (Xinhua)

A Palestinian journalist linked to the Islamic Jihad of the Gaza Strip was killed when his car exploded as he opened its trunk in the town of Khan Yunis, south of Gaza. Islamic Jihad leader Abdullah Shami said that only Israel could do such an expert job in rigging the car bomb that killed Hani Abed. Israeli officials would not comment on the accusation. But they did nothing to discourage inferences that they were prepared to assassinate someone like Abed who was a leader in the Islamic Jihad group. (The New York Times)

The Israeli army reopened the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which were sealed off two weeks ago when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and 22 others aboard a Tel Aviv bus. (AFP) 3 November Thousands of Palestinians attending the funeral of an Islamic Jihad activist, murdered a day earlier, vowed to take revenge on Israelis and booed PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat out of the ceremony. "Death to Israel", "Death to America", and "This is your peace, Arafat. It's all liquidations and assassinations," the mourners shouted. In a statement issued later, Islamic Jihad leaders apologized for the treatment of Arafat and expressed their sorrow for the incident. (The Washington Post)

Israeli soldiers wounded four Palestinians in Nablus when they opened fire on a crowd protesting the killing of Hani Abed, an Islamic Jihad leader in Khan Yunis. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Tansu Çiller became the first Turkish premier to visit Israel when she arrived at the head of a 200 delegation of ministers and businessmen. She was received in a welcoming ceremony by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. (AFP)

Omani Trade and Industry Minister Maqbal Ibn Sultan Said, in an official statement, said that his Government has not taken any decision to open an interests bureau in Israel. An Israeli official had said a day earlier that Israel would establish official relations with Oman and Qatar in the following few weeks. Oman was the first Gulf State to host an Israeli delegation, which attended multilateral talks on water resources in April. (AFP) 5 November Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller visited Chairman Yasser Arafat in his Gaza Headquarters, the first visit to the Palestinian self-rule areas by a foreign head of government. It was reported that her visit to Gaza after meeting with Prime Minister Rabin in Jerusalem was seen as a show of support for the Palestinian Authority. During the visit, Chairman Arafat said that Turkey pledged $50 million for Palestinian housing and infrastructure. Turkey has also expressed interest in sending forces to join an international team to monitor Palestinian elections to a self-rule council. (AFP)

An annual business conference opened in Jerusalem, with some 3,500 business leaders from the United States, Europe, Africa, Israel and Arab countries. During the two-day conference, participants were expected to discuss new business opportunities in trade, tourism, energy, banking, investment and other fields. The conference was the third such meeting to be held in Jerusalem but was the first attended by businessmen from Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia and Morocco. In the conference hall, Palestinians from the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus displayed their products alongside Israelis. (Reuters) 6 November Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin chided his Turkish counterpart Mrs. Tansu Çiller for paying a visit to the Palestinian leadership at the Orient House in East Jerusalem. "It is a very regrettable decision," Rabin told reporters after Mrs. Çiller met Faisal Husseini, the PLO chief in East Jerusalem. During the meeting, Palestinian officials refused to allow Israeli agents guarding Çiller to enter the East Jerusalem Headquarters. Mr. Husseini told the press: "We took the initiative of inviting Mrs. Çiller. It was not the first time and will not be the last time we do this." Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres pointed out that the Palestinians do not enjoy diplomatic status at the Orient House and cannot ban access by the Israeli police. (AFP)


7 November Egypt has decided to open a representation office in Gaza and Jericho, Egyptian and Palestinian officials said. Egyptian officials said that the office would act as a diplomatic mission. "Chairman Arafat and Palestinian officials look at the Egyptian decision highly as it is considered a positive step and strong support to the Palestinian cause," the Palestinian representative in Cairo said. (Reuters)

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin met with Omani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yussuf Ibn Alawi Abdallah in Muscat and discussed the Middle East peace process. Israeli officials said that Mr. Beilin, in his visit to Oman, would secure an accord on the launching of interest sections in Muscat and Tel Aviv, the first step to full diplomatic ties between the two countries. But Omani officials did not mention such an agreement. (AFP)

Experts from Israel and most Arab countries met informally in Amman, Jordan to discuss a proposal for creating a conflict prevention centre in the Middle East. The working group of defence officials and politicians will also prepare for a larger arms control meeting in Tunis in December. The talks, sponsored by the United States and the Russian Federation, were part of the multilateral peace talks on arms control and regional security. (Reuters)

Israeli military authorities reopened the Ibrahimi mosque amid strict security that satisfied neither Moslems nor Jews, underscoring the conflict between the faiths over the shrine. The tomb is the traditional burial site of the biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Moslems know it as al-Haram al-Ibrahimi for the prophet Ibrahim. The mosque was, on 25 February of this year, the site of the massacre of 30 Palestinians by a Jewish settler. It was closed since then for new security arrangements. Arabs and Jews are united in criticism of security arrangements, limits on numbers of worshippers, complete physical separation of the faiths and bans on access to certain parts of the compound. (The New York Times)

The construction of a memorial to Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 30 Palestinians in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron on 25 February 1994, is going ahead, with private funds from France and the United States, one of the project organizers said. "We are carrying on building this monument to the memory of Dr. Baruch Goldstein to pass on his message to future generations," said the organizer. The Israeli army last week ordered the destruction of the memorial but rescinded the order to a stay on construction at the grave on the edge of Kiryat Arba just outside Hebron. (AFP)

The Israeli Parliament (Knesset) voted in the first reading (out of three) a bill to curtail Palestinian activities outside the self-rule areas, particularly in Jerusalem. The bill, according to Prime Minister Rabin, includes a clause banning institutions of the Palestinian Authority from operating on territory under Israeli sovereignty. The vote on the bill came two days after Palestinians welcomed Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller to the Orient House, the de facto PLO headquarters in East Jerusalem, provoking Israeli anger. (AFP)

A three-day meeting of the multilateral group on water of the Middle East talks started in Athens. This is the sixth meeting of multilateral talks on water, attended by 45 delegations, including 13 delegations from the Middle East, a total of 160 experts. The meeting will discuss the recommendations of the working group on water which met in Oman last April, including a proposal for establishing a data bank on water in the Middle East. (Al-Ittihad) 8 November Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met for two hours with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Erez border crossing to the Gaza Strip. It was reported that Mr. Rabin, accepting PLO demands, agreed to set up three committees to negotiate, simultaneously, elections, a military redeployment in the West Bank and the devolution of powers in health, taxation, social welfare and tourism in the West Bank. Following the meeting, Mr. Rabin announced that "the Palestinians would be given responsibility for running their daily lives in the West Bank by the end of the month". He also was quoted as saying that, "Two weeks from now, we will enter negotiations on elections, redeployment, security to Israelis and settlers, external security, legal reviews and other issues." Mr. Arafat described the meeting as "positive and fruitful" and said that he expected to meet with Mr. Rabin again between 20 and 22 November. (AFP)

Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian bystander during clashes with protestors in the center of the West Bank town of Ramallah. The army said that it was checking the report. (AFP)

The Arab League strongly condemned the Israeli move to divide the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron between Jews and Moslems. In a statement by its Secretariat in Cairo, the League said that the Israeli move was an outright provocation to the sentiments of Moslems all over the world and a violation of international agreements and conventions. "The move aims at stripping the Ibrahimi mosque of its Islamic and 1300-year-old heritage and reaffirming Israel's objectives of tightening its grip on it," the statement added. The League appealed to the international community to "take all measures to maintain the unity of the mosque and its Islamic nature". (Xinhua)

A spokesman of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned the Israeli arrangements in the Ibrahimi mosque as a violation of international agreements and conventions and appealed to the international community to stop Israel from implementing the new arrangements in the mosque. (Al-Hayat)

According to Mr. Ryad Zaanun, in charge of the health department in the Palestinian self-rule areas, some 20 cholera cases have been reported in the Gaza Strip and one child has died from the disease. He reported that all patients have been treated except a two-year-old child who died. "We examined water, fruits and vegetables in the Gaza Strip and disinfected them with chlorine," he said. Israel banned the import of food from Gaza until further notice which, according to Palestinian sources, would cost producers some $300,000 a day. (AFP)

According to Nabil Shaath, member of the Palestinian Authority and senior negotiator, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and other Palestinian opposition factions, have set up intensive dialogue with the Palestinian Authority on how they will take part in social and political institutions in the self-rule areas. (AFP)


9 November The representative of Morocco, Mohammed Abdel-Salam Si Nasser, presented his credentials to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in a ceremony, and read out a statement of greeting from King Hassan. Palestinian officials voiced hope that the opening of a Moroccan liaison bureau in Gaza was a first step to establishing an embassy in a future independent Palestinian State. According to the Israeli-Palestinian self-rule agreement, the bureau does not technically enjoy diplomatic status. (AFP)

The European Union opened an office in Gaza city to monitor and implement a $620 million development programme for the self-rule areas over the next five years. During a signing ceremony presided by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, the European Commission Director-General for North-South Relations, Juan Prat, signed over a $60 million grant for infrastructure projects in 1995. Prat and Palestinian economic official AbdelRahman Hamed also signed for another $310 million in loans for the same period. (AFP)

Mr. Ahmad Qurei, head of the Palestinian Authority's Economic Department, met in Jerusalem with Israeli Finance Minister Avraham Shohat and discussed economic cooperation between the two parties. Following the meeting, Mr. Shohat announced the transfer of 11.5 Shekels ($3.8 million) to the Palestinian Authority, which were tax revenues of Palestinians working in Israel. It was reported that during the meeting, Mr. Qurei present Mr. Shohat with a list of 35 demands on economic issues. Mr. Shohat promised to pass on the demands to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. (Xinhua)

Israel, Jordan and the PLO agreed in Athens to launch talks aimed at drawing up a "water charter" to manage vital water resources in the Middle East. They reached this agreement after three days of multilateral talks on water resources, which were part of the Middle East multilateral peace talks. (AFP) 10 November Israel and most Arab countries ended three days of talks in Jordan on recommendations for reducing risks of conflict in the Middle East. The working group of middle-ranking army officials and diplomats is part of the Middle East multilateral peace talks. "As a result of the meeting, there is a bright prospect for serious agreements to reducing the chance of conflict at sea and on the ground and to arrive at a culture of common preparation towards security in the region," the representative of the United States to the talks remarked during the closing session. The recommendations made at the meeting will be taken up by the main group on arms control, which is scheduled to meet in Tunis on 15 December. Turkey, the PLO, Egypt, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, Yemen, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Canada, France and Australia attended the talks, sponsored by the United States and the Russian Federation. (Reuters)

King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin exchanged their ratified peace treaties in a ceremony in Tiberias on the Galilee sea shore. The peace treaty between both countries was signed on 26 October on the border between the two countries near the Red Sea. "This is an honourable peace, a peace that will last," said King Hussein during his first visit to Israel. The King's visit was the second visit by an Arab head of State to Israel after the 1979 visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. "I hope that it will serve as an example to the other countries with which we are negotiating - Syria and Lebanon - and they will be convinced by what we have achieved together," said Prime Minister Rabin in his reply to King Hussein. (AFP)

Earlier in the day, Israel and Jordan, represented by their transportation ministers, opened the second border crossing, the Sheikh Hussein bridge, over the Jordan River south of Lake Tiberias. The border gives Jordan access to the Mediterranean through the Israeli port of Haifa. The first border crossing between the two countries was opened in August at the Arava area just north of Aqaba and Eilat. (Xinhua)

Israeli border police shot and killed a Palestinian woman near the West Bank village of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. (AFP)

According to the daily Al-Hamishmar, Israel and the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros established full diplomatic ties. An agreement on establishing relations was signed in Paris by Israel's Ambassador to France, Yehuda Lankri and the Foreign Minister of the Comoros, Said Mohamed Sagat. According to Al-Hamishmar, the Comoros is the fifth member of the Arab League to establish official ties with Israel. 11 November A Palestinian teenage suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up, killing three Israelis and wounding about a dozen people, apparently in revenge for the assassination of Hani Abed, an Islamic Jihad leader, some days earlier. Israeli security sources reported that the suicide bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body at Netzarim junction along a road leading to a Jewish settlement guarded by Israeli soldiers south of Gaza city. It was reported that two armed and masked persons from the Islamic Jihad announced in Gaza that the movement carried out "the first revenge attack for the death of Hani Abed". According to Kol Yisrael, the three dead were Israeli soldiers on reserve duty at the army post and six Israelis were among those hurt, including two soldiers and two border police. Several Palestinians who were in a car near the army post were also injured. It was also reported that four of the injured were listed in critical condition. (Reuters, Israel Line)


12 November The Palestinian Authority condemned, during its weekly meeting, the suicide bombing which killed three Israeli soldiers a day earlier near Netzarim settlement in the Gaza Strip. In a statement, the Authority said that "what happened is unacceptable because it aims to embarrass the Palestinian Authority and to block what has been achieved toward realizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people". A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad said that the group would seek dialogue with the Palestinian Authority "despite a crackdown (by the Authority) on its members". (Reuters)

PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat approved the appointments of two religious court judges, including a member of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the occupied West Bank. The presiding judge of the Sharia Court, under the Palestinian Authority, said that the appointment of Mahmud Salama and Hammed Betawi was done on grounds of merit. Betawi was deported by Israeli authorities to Lebanon for his links with Hamas. (AFP)


13 November A leading figure of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Hanich, said that bloodshed among Palestinians over the peace agreement with Israel must be averted through an agreement between Islamic movements and the PLO. He said that dialogue with the Palestinian Authority "should be comprehensive and guarantee democracy, political freedom and fair elections". A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority said in reply that "Hamas leaders know that an agreement with the PLO guarantees them a wide margin of freedom of political and ideological activity, within the law and without the use of arms". (Reuters)

Israeli authorities handed over the management of social welfare to the Palestinian Authority in Hebron, taking another step towards implementation of early empowerment for the Palestinians in the West Bank. It was reported that by the end of November, Palestinians are expected to take control of health and taxation in the West Bank. (Xinhua)

PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat welcomed a pledge by King Hussein of Jordan to hand over control of Moslem sites in Jerusalem to the Palestinians. King Hussein said that Jordan "would continue administering the sites until the Palestinian people and their representatives recover sovereignty over their land". The Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, signed on 26 October, recognized Jordan's "historic role" in administering the holy places in East Jerusalem, a clause that angered the Palestinians. (AFP)


14 November The Israeli Government has eased restrictions on the use of force by interrogators to extract confessions from Palestinian suspects. The Jerusalem Post reported that a secret ministerial committee, which oversees the General Security Services (Shin Beth), had taken the decision at the request of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Human rights groups have charged that Israeli interrogators already regularly torture Palestinians both physically and morally. "Nothing must be allowed to interfere with the prevention of murder," Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said to the newspaper. (AFP)

Palestinian police arrested Sheik Abdullah Shami, the head of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, and banned demonstrations, as part of measures taken by the Palestinian Authority to curb militant activities by the Jihad and Hamas military wings. During the previous two days, Palestinian police also arrested some 180 members of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Freih Abu Medeen, in charge of the Justice Department of the Palestinian Authority, said that the Islamic Jihad had "crossed a red line" and "it appears that Islamic Jihad is posing a challenge to law and order". In an interview with the daily Yediot Ahronot, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat said that the Palestinian Authority in Gaza will do "everything to try to stop them with the means in our disposal. We will not allow the law to be broken," he added. (AFP, Xinhua)

The Israeli Housing Ministry has given the green light for the construction of 1,050 Jewish homes in the West Bank settlement of Betar, south of Bethlehem. According to an Israeli official, construction is already underway and 250 units were sold in the preceding two weeks at the settlement. It was reported that the population of Betar was expected to double from the present 1,200 families to a total of 12,000 persons within two years. The Ministry stated a few weeks earlier that thousands more houses would be built along the West Bank border with Israel, effectively ending a building freeze announced by Prime Minister Rabin shortly after he returned to power in June 1992. (AFP)


15 November The Palestinian Authority took control of tourism and social welfare affairs in the West Bank in two separate ceremonies in Bethlehem and Ramallah. The transfer of power to the Palestinian Authority was done within the context of the Cairo agreement between Israel and the PLO on Gaza and Jericho. (Reuters)

Two Israelis were wounded by a petrol bomb which was thrown at their car near Betonia, and a Palestinian was injured by Israeli army gunfire in Nablus. (Reuters)


16 November The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem) disclosed in a new report that Israel is still routinely torturing Palestinian suspects, particularly those who oppose the peace agreement between Israel and the PLO. It charged that beating, prolonged denial of sleeping, torture, blackmail and other methods banned by international conventions to which Israel is a signatory, are routinely used by the Israeli authorities. "We appeal to the Government of Israel not to succumb to terrorism, not to adopt its ways," the Centre's director told a press conference. (AFP)

According to the Kuwaiti Information Minister, Saud Nasser al-Sabah, Kuwait is prepared to deal with Israel and lift the direct Arab trade boycott of Israel. "The existence of Israel has become a fact and as long as our security and stability are linked to the United States and its interests, it is only natural to be linked with Israel, America's ally," he said. (AFP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Moustapha Niasse, the Senegalese Foreign Minister, met in Dakar and signed a general cooperation agreement between the two countries. This was preceded by the signing of economic cooperation agreements between the two countries' private sectors and chambers of commerce. It was reported that the two countries are preparing for the opening of embassies in Dakar and Israel. (Israel Information Service)


17 November An Israeli delegation headed by the Foreign Ministry's Secretary-General, Uri Savir, arrived in Amman for talks on the implementation of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty signed on 26 October. (Xinhua)

Israeli police banned all demonstrations in East Jerusalem as Palestinians celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence adopted by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988. (AFP)

Israel's Supreme Court gave the army the green light to demolish the family home of the Palestinian who carried out the suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv bus in October. Four of the five justices rejected an appeal by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel which argued that destruction of the home would punish innocent relatives living in the house. (Reuters)


18 November Twelve Palestinians were killed and 200 injured (exact numbers are not available) during clashes between Palestinian police and supporters of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad outside a mosque in Gaza city. Witnesses said the firing erupted when police took loudspeakers off a truck ready to be used at an unauthorized rally by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Angry onlookers attacked the police with stones who then opened fire. The Palestinian Authority said that the police had been compelled to respond after "some groups incited by external parties started shooting from the mosque after Friday prayers. The shooting started suddenly and was aimed at policemen who were at the scene." Hamas leaders blamed Palestinian police for the deaths, but added that it did not want to trigger a civil war. (Reuters, AFP)

The United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, Mr. Terje Roed Larsen, said that the peace efforts in the Middle East could collapse unless international donors made good on their aid pledge to the Palestinian Authority. In a press conference in Jerusalem, he was quoted as saying, "My assessment is that both the peace process and the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority are losing ground day by day and the reason is that nearly nothing has been delivered on the ground." "The economic and social underpinnings of the peace process, which was supposed to be up now supporting the peace agenda are about to tilt. And if these underpinnings fail, the peace process will fail as well," Mr. Larsen said. (Reuters)


19 November The Israeli army killed 3 Palestinians and wounded at least 9 others during clashes with Palestinian protesters near the settlement of Netzariam in the Gaza Strip and in Tulkarm in the West Bank. (Xinhua)

Pope John Paul repeated a Vatican call for international guarantees to protect the city of Jerusalem as the common patrimony of the world's major religions. In a speech accepting the credentials of Jordan's first ambassador to the Vatican, the Pope said that international guarantees are needed to protect the city's "holy places, the life of its communities, their respective quarters and, naturally, free access to all believers". (Reuters)


20 November Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin arrived in Washington on a four-day visit to meet with President Clinton and other US officials. It was reported that Mr. Rabin will also meet with Republican leaders in a bid to maintain current US annual assistance at $1.8 billion in military aid and $1.2 billion in economic aid. (AFP)

The European Community signed a $12 million agreement with the Palestinian Authority for the rehabilitation and training of freed prisoners. According to Mrs. Intissar al-Wazir, in charge of the Social Welfare Department of the Palestinian Authority, about 6,000 Palestinian prisoners have been released from Israeli jails since the signing of the Declaration of Principles between the PLO and Israel. Israel says it is still holding 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, detained for alleged anti-Israeli activities. (AFP)


21 November PLO Chairman and Head of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, appointed a five-member judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the clashes on 18 November between Palestinian police and Hamas supporters which resulted in the death of 12 persons. The Chief Justice of Gaza civilian courts was appointed to head the commission. The Palestinian Authority had earlier agreed to set up both a judicial inquiry and a fact-finding commission of 20 Gaza notables and Islamic figures. (Reuters)


22 November A delegation from the Israeli Foreign Ministry held talks in Amman with the Jordanian Foreign Ministry. It was decided to establish a joint steering committee to deal with all development programmes for the Jordan Valley, the Arava, and the Gulf of Elat. The various government ministries, which have formulated development plans, will be represented in the steering committee which will convene, alternatively in Jordan and Israel. (Ha'aretz)

US President Clinton told Israeli Prime Minister Rabin during their meeting in the White House that the United States will transfer the remainder of its funds pledged to the Palestinians before the meeting of the donor countries scheduled for the end of the month. The President added that the United States will also urge other donor countries to quickly complete their transfer of funds to the Palestinians. (Israel Line, AFP)


23 November The Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a plea to block a military decision to seal the homes of three Hamas members who kidnapped and killed an Israeli soldier in October. The families of the three maintained in court that the kidnappers had no intention of killing their hostage and that he died in the battle with the soldiers. (AFP)

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian gunman in the center of the West Bank town of Jenin after he and another gunman ambushed the soldiers. The other man fled the scene. (Reuters)


24 November The Israeli Government approved a plan to build 30,000 housing units in Jerusalem over the next five years. Nearly 14,000 units will be built in East Jerusalem. A spokeswoman of the Israeli Land Authority said that the plan was in part intended to cure a housing shortage and "thus keep Israelis from leaving the city". (Yediot Ahronot)

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat met in Oviedo, Spain in an attempt to renew their cooperation for the peace process. The two leaders attended a ceremonial meeting during which they received the Prince of Asturias peace prize for their efforts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. (Xinhua)


26 November US President Bill Clinton sent a letter to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat expressing support and pledging to back peace efforts in the Middle East. The letter was delivered to Mr. Arafat by US Health Secretary Donna Shalala who was on a visit to Gaza during which she toured health facilities. (AFP)


27 November A Jewish rabbi was killed and an Israeli policeman wounded in an attack on their car near Hebron. Military sources said that the car driven by the rabbi, who was head of a religious seminar in the settlement of Utniel, overturned after it was fired on. Israel Radio said that the military arm of Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (Israel Information Service)

The Governments of Israel and Jordan declared the establishment of diplomatic relations. In a joint declaration they said that "In accordance with the Peace Treaty that was signed on 26 October 1994, and decisions to build and develop relations of friendship and cooperation, hereby declare, as of today, the establishment of diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level". (The New York Times, Israel Information Service)


28 November PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met in Brussels to discuss the second phase of self-rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which includes holding elections and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the West Bank towns. The two had arrived in Brussels to participate in a two-day donors' meeting to discuss channeling aid to the Palestinian Authority in the self-rule areas of Gaza and Jericho. Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Mr. Peres said that the peace process should not be abandoned half way. Mr. Arafat described the meeting as "very fruitful". (Reuters, Xinhua)


29 November The chief of the European Union delegation to the occupied territories signed a $12 million grant with the Palestine Housing Council for the construction of 300 housing units in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A grant of $40 million has been given by the EU to the Council since 1992 for the construction of 1,200 units. (AFP)

Israeli security forces sealed the homes in East Jerusalem of three Palestinians, suspected of being involved in the kidnapping and killing of an Israeli soldier in October. The houses were sealed after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected petitions by family members. One of the suspects was killed during an attempt to free the soldier while the other two are still to be sentenced. (Reuters)

Israeli police arrested 10 Jewish settlers as they attempted to invade the Moslem-designated area in the Ibrahimi Mosque of Hebron. Among those arrested was Yehuda Etzion, who was jailed for attempting to blow up the Dome of the Rock in East Jerusalem in 1984 and was granted amnesty after four years in jail. (AFP)

The World Bank and donor countries signed an agreement in Brussels with PLO Chairman Arafat on grants and loans to the Palestinian Authority totalling $58 million. It was reported that an additional agreement on a $122 million grant would be signed the following day. The agreement was signed at the end of a two-day conference aimed at creating thousands of new low-paying jobs, paying the salaries of Palestinian policemen, building roads, sewers and other infrastructure projects. Of the $58 million grant signed by the World Bank, $30 million was contributed by Saudi Arabia, $18 million by Denmark, and $10 million by Switzerland. (The New York Times)


30 November A Palestinian, said to be a Hamas member, axed a female Israeli soldier in Afula, northern Israel. It was reported that the soldier died from her wounds after she was brought to the hospital in critical condition. (Reuters)


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