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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
29 February 1996


February 1996

Monitored from the media by the
Division for Palestinian Rights

1 February Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached a preliminary agreement on facilitating shipment of Palestinian farm products from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the West Bank. The agreement was reached between Mahmud Abu Samrah, head of the Palestinian Agriculture Department and Israeli Agriculture Minister Yaacov Tzur. The latter agreed to take measures to reduce restrictions and speed up processing of vegetable shipment through the Sufa crossing point from the southern Gaza Strip into Israel. (AFP)

2 February The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, met with Mr. Lee Yoon-gu, President of World Vision Korea, in the Gaza Strip and appealed for financial aid from the Korean Government. Mr. Yoon-gu assured Mr. Arafat that he would convey the request to his Government and promised to study it positively. (Reuter)

3 February The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, attended the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Addressing more than 1,000 international participants, Mr. Arafat denounced Israeli restrictions on Palestinian trade with Jordan and Egypt and appealed to donor countries to honor pledges of aid to help Palestinians rebuild their shattered territories. Earlier in the day, Mr. Arafat met with the Prime Minister Shimon Peres. (AFP)

4 February Israeli Transport Minister Israel Kessar announced that Israel had approved a construction plan of a railroad linking Israel with the Gaza Strip. The eight-kilometer (five miles) railroad is aimed at enhancing the import and export from the Gaza Strip through the Israeli port of Ashdod. The construction was estimated at a cost of $12 million and would be completed within a year. (AFP)

7 February US Secretary of State Warren Christopher met with the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, in Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip and announced $2.7 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Christopher said that the US remained committed to efforts to mobilize international support for economic development in the Palestinian self-rule areas. Mr. Christopher was reported to have secured a renewed commitment from Mr. Arafat to seek amendment of the PLO charter. (The Washington Post, AFP)

8 February Amnesty International Secretary-General Pierre Sane met with Yasser Arafat in Gaza and discussed with him human rights issues. Mr. Sane expressed concern over measures being taken by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities concerning the Palestinian prisoners. Mr. Arafat reassured Mr. Sane that the Palestinian Authority would act in accordance with the law. (Reuter)

9 February The Israeli authorities imposed restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem until further notice. The restrictions also apply to visits by Palestinian families to their relatives jailed in Israel and prohibit private and commercial vehicles from entering Israel. (Reuter)

10 February The Palestinian Central Election Commission (CEC) declared the final results of the Palestinian elections which took place on 20 January. According to the head of the CEC, Mahmoud Abbas, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat took 87.1 per cent of the vote against 9.6 per cent for his challenger, Samiha Khalil. The breakdown of seats in the Council includes: Fatah Movement, 50 seats; independents (including seven members associated with Islamic groups), 37; and one seat for FIDA, formerly the Democratic Front. (Reuter)

12 February The Israeli army sealed off the West Bank town of Ramallah and the surrounding suburbs and designated it as military zone for security reasons. (AFP)

13 February Israeli Minister of Housing Benjamin Ben-Eliezer revealed plans to build 5,500 housing units, mostly in the Jerusalem area. Mr. Ben-Eliezer told Israeli radio that he discussed the plans with Yasser Arafat. But he did not elaborate on the Palestinian leaders reaction. (AFP)

14 February Representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority resumed their sixth round of talks in Cairo to discuss the future of Palestinian refugees. It was reported that the delegates agreed on the criteria for determining the number and type of Palestinians displaced from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 war. The next meeting would be held in the West Bank town of Bethlehem from March 21 to March 23. (Reuter)

15 February The head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), George Habash, requested permission from the Palestinian Authority to return to the Palestinian self-rule areas. The PFLP has submitted a list of all its members in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) who would be allowed to return to the Palestinian areas. (AFP)

17 February The Israeli Government has agreed to permit 154 PNC members to return to the Palestinian self-rule areas to participate in a vote on amending the PLO charter. (The New York Times, Reuter)

18 February Several hundred Israeli farmers tried to storm into the Gaza Strip to protest the sale of Palestinian products in Israel. They dumped crates of tomatoes and set them on fire. Israeli police and soldiers however prevented them from crossing the Nahal Oz checkpoint. Five Israeli farmers were arrested. (Reuter)

19 February According to a report published by an aid organization, more than 28,000 children under the age of five in the Gaza Strip were reported to be suffering from malnutrition. The report, based on a representative study of 1,500 children, said that 15 per cent of less than five-year-old children were affected, notably in the towns and refugee camps. The report stressed that the problems were caused by a constant reduction in standards of living, poor eating habits, an unbalanced share of resources, as well as poor hygiene and sanitation conditions in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

20 February Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres rejected proposals to add 4,000 housing units to the Israeli settlement of Kyriat Sefer in the northwest of Jerusalem. Mr. Peres decision came after the Meretz Party had threatened to quit the Government if new settlement construction was approved. Instead, the inter- ministerial commission on housing decided to authorize construction of 4,000 homes for ultra-orthodox families inside Israel. (AFP)

21 February The Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority discussed the partial withdrawal of Israeli troops from Hebron and agreed to set up a team to oversee the final transfer of power. But differences remained over the date for the withdrawal. The Palestinian Authority said that the handover had been firmly set for 26 March but Israeli officials said the handover would be made only late March or early April. (AFP)

23 February The Israeli authorities lifted an 11-day closure imposed on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for security reasons, and allowed more than 50,000 Palestinian workers to return to their work in Israel. (Reuter)

25 February Two suicide-bombers blew themselves up killing 25 Israelis and injuring 77 others. One explosion took place in a commuter bus in Jerusalem during the morning rush hour and the other at a bus stop in the southern town of Ashkelon. The two Palestinian men were believed to be members of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. According to a statement by the Students of the Engineer, a cell named after Yahya Ayyash, known as the Engineer, claimed responsibility for the two operations. (Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post)

26 February The Israeli army decided to keep the West Bank and the Gaza Strip sealed off for another two weeks in response to the latest suicide bombings in Israel. But some members of the Israeli Government and the opposition parties called for a permanent ban on the entry of Palestinians to Israel. (AFP)

27 February A paper published by the World Bank urged Middle Eastern and North African States to introduce reforms to attract investors to finance major infrastructure projects. It said power, telecommunication, transport, water and sanitation needs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would require an estimated $37 billion in new investments over the next decade. While governments, multilateral and bilateral donors can be expected to supply about one-third of the needed investment, the remaining two-thirds would need to be provided by the private sector. (Reuter)

28 February The Palestinian Authority announced 1 March as the deadline for Palestinian civilians to hand in all unlicensed weapons or face prosecution. The Chief of Palestinian police, Ghazi al-Jabali, issued the order a day after Israel formally submitted demands to Yasser Arafat, the Raees of the Executive Authority of the Palestinian Council, for a crackdown on armed members of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and other Islamic groups. (AFP)

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