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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights
30 June 2001
Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

June 2001


1

A public opinion poll published by Yediot Aharonot showed that 57 per cent of Israelis were in favour of “freez[ing] the settlements for a cessation of terror”, with 39 per cent against; 47 per cent thought that “Israel should initiate higher international involvement in the region”, whereas 50 per cent disagreed; 44 per cent thought “ Israel should continue the unilateral cease-fire, despite the terrorist attacks”, while 53 per cent were of the opposite opinion. (AFP, DPA, Mideast Mirror, Reuters)

A Palestinian man was shot in the back during clashes with Israeli troops at the village of Deir Istiya, south-west of Nablus, following a protest against Jewish settlement building, witnesses said. Fist-fights and stone-throwing broke out between settlers on the one hand and local Palestinian residents and Israeli peace activists on the other, after the IDF stopped around 700 Palestinians from continuing their march. The army then opened fire, injuring a Palestinian in the back, who was then taken to hospital. Five Israeli peace activists and four Palestinians were arrested, including the mayor of Deir Istiya. (AFP)

2

Chairman Arafat condemned the 1 June suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, which left 20 persons dead and scores more injured, saying he was against any killing of civilians. He sent a written order to the PA security services to implement a total and immediate cease-fire in all sectors under the PA’s control, even using force. Palestinian security said in a statement that contacts were under way with “the national and Islamic factions to obtain an immediate implementation of this decision”. (AFP, EFE, Reuters)

The Israeli army said it had imposed a blockade on all Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank and advised all Palestinians to leave Israel immediately. (AFP, Reuters)

3

Prime Minister Sharon said Chairman Arafat must take three immediate steps to carry out a promise to do his utmost to achieve a cease-fire: an end to incitement, an end to acts of terror and violence, and re-arresting “all the many terrorists freed … who stand behind terror activities today”. Mr. Sharon reiterated his stance that the PA was responsible for “acts of murder and terror” but, explaining his attitude, said that “ restraint also is a component of strength”. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Israel Radio reported that the Israeli Government had ordered the army to take action against Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, following the 1 June suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, and that such action was already underway. IDF would also operate against the PA, according to conditions on the ground, the radio added. Earlier in the day, a bomb had exploded near the car of an Islamic Jihad militant north of Nablus, in what Palestinians said was an assassination attempt. No one was injured. (AFP, DPA)

Two Palestinian brothers were killed near Ramallah, when their car overturned after it came under fire from Jewish settlers, Palestinian intelligence sources said. An Israeli police spokesman said they had no information of any shooting and at that stage they thought what had happened was a car accident. “All the efforts to calm the situation risk going up in smoke if the authorities don’t put an end to the aggressions from settlers”, a PA spokesman was later quoted by WAFA as saying. (AFP)

A conference in Cairo of Islamic theologians from 62 countries pledged support for the Palestinian uprising, saying Palestinians were exercising their "legitimate right to self-defence and self-determination”. The four-day Islamic Affairs Conference called on Islamic countries to offer maximum assistance to the Palestinians to achieve their legitimate aspirations for statehood with East Jerusalem as their capital. The theologians called on their Governments to take action to protect Islamic holy sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from “violations” by the Israelis. (Reuters)

4

PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmad Abdel Rahman said Israel should not doubt the PA’s commitment to a cease-fire. He added that, if Israel was ready for a cease-fire, it should accept international observers on the ground to determine exactly who was violating it. (AFP)

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Ambassador-at-Large Andrei Vdovin was embarking on a visit to the Middle East in order to “help the parties avoid the situation worsening and to put an end to the violence”. The decision followed telephone calls on 3 June from Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Foreign Minister Peres, Chairman Arafat and Secretary of State Powell. Reports in the Israeli and Palestinian media also said CIA Director George Tenet was due back in the region during the week to broker more security talks between the two sides; although this could not be confirmed immediately with US officials. Turkey also announced it would send two senior diplomats for talks with Prime Minister Sharon, Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat. (AFP, DPA, ITAR-TASS)

Palestinians said daily life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was grinding to a halt as Israel enforced the tightest blockade since the beginning of the intifada. Draconian new measures imposed after the 1 June suicide bombing in Tel Aviv had halted most movements of people between Israel and Palestinian areas and between many Palestinian towns. Palestinian officials said hospitals, transport firms and bakeries faced paralysis since Israel stopped supplies of petrol and cooking gas to Gaza and the West Bank. An Israeli spokesman confirmed the fuel ban but said border forces would allow the flow of food and humanitarian goods into the Occupied Palestinian Territory. As well as the tight controls on the borders between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israeli troops severely restricted movement between Palestinian towns in the West Bank. Crossings between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with neighbouring Egypt and Jordan were also banned. In Gaza a Health Ministry official said the closure affected the transfer of patients to hospitals in Israel, the West Bank and elsewhere. (Reuters)

At least 20 Palestinians were injured, four seriously, and three Israelis soldiers were lightly wounded during heavy fighting near the Rafah border crossing. An ambulance driver for UNRWA was also wounded during the fighting. (AFP, XINHUA)

Prime Minister Sharon suggested that Israel might establish a military buffer zone along the Green Line between Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to contain the ongoing violence. According to Israeli army sources, the buffer zone would be a kilometre wide east of the Green Line, along its entire length, which would be a closed military zone forbidding any Palestinians from approaching without permission. Mr. Sharon further hinted his support for a unilateral separation from the Palestinians by saying he was willing to consider a plan put forward by Likud lawmaker Michael Eitan to set up a fence all along “security lines”. (The Jerusalem Post – Internet Edition, Reuters, XINHUA)

5

In an overnight operation, the IDF arrested 10 Palestinians throughout the West Bank. Majdi Alowni, head of the PA Civil Administration in the West Bank, was among those arrested according to Palestinian sources. Israeli Radio, quoting army sources, said the Palestinians had been arrested on “suspicion of terrorist activities”. (Comtex Scientific Corporation, The Jerusalem Post – Internet Edition)

German Foreign Minister Fischer and President Mubarak agreed, during a meeting in Cairo, that Europe should play a greater and more active role in the search for peace in the Middle East. Egypt also called on Israel to make it easier for Palestinian security and other officials to travel between the West Bank and Gaza in order to help stop the violence. Earlier, Mr. Fischer had held separate talks in Jordan with King Abdullah II and US envoy Burns on ways of getting Israel and the Palestinians out of a “red zone” of violence and to fully embrace the cease-fire. (AFP, DPA)

Following separate meetings with Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat, Russian Ambassador-at-Large, Andrei Vdovin, said Russia was ready “to play an active role” in the Middle East and to help “set up an independent Palestinian State and guarantee Israel’s security”. From Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov called on “Israel and Palestine to strictly observe the resolutions on the cease-fire”. Observing the cease-fire “should be followed by realizing the proposals which, in particular, are contained in the report of the Mitchell Commission and are aimed at reducing the tension and resuming the negotiation process”, Mr. Ivanov said. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation)

President Bush announced that CIA Chief George Tenet would travel to the region to try to revive security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians. (AFP)

The head of the Fact-Finding Committee, former US Senator George Mitchell, called on the US to play a continued active role in the Middle East to help bring about a peaceful end to the conflict. Mr. Mitchell said a mission by CIA Director George Tenet would help both sides build on the announced cease-fire. While on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Mitchell said: “In my view, the US must be actively involved in the continuing search for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict”. He added that “a cessation of violence cannot be sustained unless there are other actions taken to restore confidence and resume negotiations. So I don’t think it would be the appropriate posture of the US to say well, we only will get involved to the point of security cooperation and will do nothing else. But I don’t think that’s the intention. I think [Secretary of State] Powell is very fully engaged. I think that there’s a recognition that there has to be full and active involvement on a continuous basis”. (Reuters)

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa announced that “intensive contacts are under way between the Arabs and the Swiss Government in order to hold a meeting of the members of the Geneva Convention in order to protect civilians under occupation”. He added that “Arabs are pursuing efforts to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians through the UN Security Council”. (AFP)

The Israeli Defence Ministry announced that the Government would ease its closure on Palestinian areas the following morning due to the reduction of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A statement signed by Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer said that “the movement of food supplies, agricultural produce and fuel and gas” would be allowed between Israel and the Palestinian-controlled areas. The statement also said that Palestinians, who had jobs at the Erez industrial park near the Erez/ Beit Hanoun border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, would be allowed to return to their workplace and Palestinians who were forced to stay in Egypt and Jordan due to the closure would be able to return. (AFP, XINHUA)

6

Thirteen Palestinian students were injured in clashes with the IDF during protests at an Israeli roadblock at Surda village near Ramallah, which prevented the students from reaching Birzeit University, witnesses said. Israeli Army radio reported that Jewish settlers destroyed orchards and greenhouses and burned fields of crops and uprooted trees on Palestinian farms near Ramallah. The actions were said to be in retaliation for Palestinians firing on three settlers returning from a demonstration in Jerusalem. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation)

In an interview with the German magazine Stern , Prime Minister Sharon called on the EU to provide development aid only for the “private economy and concrete projects” in the Palestinian areas, charging that EU aid was being used to buy weapons and support terrorism. (AFP, DPA)

7

The Palestinian Authority cabinet, meeting in Ramallah under Chairman Arafat, gave its full support to Mr. Arafat’s earlier declaration of immediate and unconditioned cease-fire with Israel. (DPA)

The PA called for a “more effective” US role in the Middle East. “We’re demanding a more effective US role and more intervention because the absence of an American role does not serve the peace process, especially at this time”, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Advisor to Chairman Arafat, told AFP.

CIA Director George Tenet met separately with Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon. PA Gaza Security Chief Abdel Razeq Al-Majeida outlined the Palestinian security demands: “an end to Israeli attacks and aggression against our people, a lifting of the closure and siege and the reopening of [Gaza] airport and all border crossings”. About 2,000 Palestinian participated in a Hamas rally in Ramallah burning a US flag and a picture of Mr. Tenet. In Nablus about 500 people demonstrated, burning Mr. Tenet in effigy. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation)

Israeli bulldozers and tanks moved some 200 metres into Palestinian-controlled territory in the Brazil refugee camp near Rafah, destroying a security position, two other buildings, and razing several hectares of farmland, a Palestinian security official told AFP. An exchange of fire ensued for about an hour but no one was reported injured. In Hebron, the IDF fired tear gas and rubber bullets at teenagers during clashes that left two Palestinian boys slightly injured. (AFP, AP, DPA)

PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath told reporters that the PA would not arrest militants “unless we have real information, hard information, that some people are preparing something, in other words as a pre-emptive and not just a punitive [action] for those who were implicated 10 years ago, the usual suspects”. He described Israel’s demands that it arrest around 300 militants as “ irrational” and “unproductive”. (AFP, Ha’aretz—English Internet Edition)

8

Israeli and Palestinian security officials met for three hours in Ramallah. CIA Director Tenet, submitted a document, called “a menu for a cease-fire” to the two sides, outlining a cease-fire arrangement conducive to a renewal of diplomatic talks in another few weeks. Beyond the call for an immediate cessation of violence, leading features in Mr. Tenet’s four-point plan included, for the Israeli side, a redeployment of IDF troops to positions they held before 28 September 2000 and removal of closures. For the Palestinian side the plan called for the arrest of 20 to 30 Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, who had been involved in terror attacks, confiscation of mortars and other illegal firearms and an end to anti-Israel incitement. Other terms reported by Israel Radio included a resumption of joint security patrols and an agreement by the sides to exchange information on suspected militants. Both sides agreed to continue the security talks under Mr. Tenet’s auspices. (DPA, XINHUA)

US Middle East envoy William Burns met with Chairman Arafat in Ramallah. Mr. Burns had earlier met with Foreign Minister Peres in Tel Aviv. Israel Radio reported that Mr. Burns was carrying a timetable to guide the Israelis and Palestinians out of the present crisis. (AFP)

Palestinian officials said they were optimistic about new Russian and European involvement in Middle East peace efforts, after a meeting between Chairman Arafat and Russian envoy Andrei Vdovin. “This is the first time we see real cooperation between Russia, the US and the EU, and this may create a good opportunity to push the situation forward”, Mr. Arafat’s adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, told reporters after the meeting. Mr. Vdovin, said Russia was continuing to coordinate its efforts with the US, the UN, the EU, and other international parties. (AFP, XINHUA)

Jewish settlers moved five mobile homes onto a Palestinian-owned hill outside the village of Al-Khader, near Bethlehem, creating another illegal outpost, according to local residents. The hill, Khillat al-Ain, is located two kilometres from another outpost established a week earlier by armed settlers on the hill known as Batn al-Maasi. (AFP)

9

At least 16 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli army gunfire, after crowds briefly succeeded in opening the road between Ramallah and the university town of Birzeit, closed by the Israeli army for a week, witnesses said. Israeli troops opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians who had formed human walls lining each side of the road, letting more than a score of vehicles pass through the Israeli checkpoint before the army intervened. (AFP)

Three Bedouin women were killed by Israeli fire. They were in their tent, near the “Netzarim” settlement in the Gaza Strip, when an Israeli tank shell hit them. Four other members of the same family were wounded in the attack, two of them seriously. Prime Minister Sharon later expressed “regret” for the action saying it had been a “mistake”. (AP, DPA, XINHUA)

10

The Israeli side decided to accept Mr. Tenet’s cease-fire plan, on the condition that the Palestinian Authority completely stopped the violence, including stone-throwing, which it said was not covered by the cease-fire in the past, and fully implemented all other elements of the plan. The Palestinians were opposed to the demand that they arrest Hamas and Islamic Jihad members. PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath said the PA would not “serve as policeman for Israel”. (AFP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

Visiting EU High Representative Solana and Swedish Prime Minister Persson held separate talks with Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat. After the meeting, Chairman Arafat told reporters that EU observers were already working in Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Bethlehem, helping to oversee the ceasefire. (AFP, Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post – Internet Edition)

The PA said in a statement that a 44-year-old Palestinian, Sabri Amin Mahmud, had died of kidney failure after the Israeli army refused to allow him through a checkpoint near Nablus. The man instead had to take an alternate route to the Nablus hospital, which turned a 15-minute trip into a three hour one. (AFP)

11

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said that the Jordanian-Egyptian proposal for renewing negotiations between Israel and the PA had ended its role. “At the time of the argument over the initiative, the Mitchell Commission recommendations were released, and they were similar to the Jordanian-Egyptian proposal”, Maher said in an interview to the international Arab newspaper Al Hayat. “The Mitchell recommendations focus on a subject that interests us very much – the settlement freeze”, Mr. Maher said. (Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition)

A security meeting in Jerusalem between Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs and CIA Director George Tenet ended inconclusively. Mr. Tenet presented the two sides with a revised proposal, which took some of the parties’ reservations into account. The Israelis insisted on a complete halt to violence before they would carry out any measures, while the Palestinians demanded that Israel take political measures at the same time. The Palestinian delegation included Preventive Security Service Chiefs Mohammad Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub, and Intelligence Chief General Amin Hindi. The Head of Shin Bet, Avi Dichter, and senior IDF officers represented the Israeli side. Secretary of State Powell spoke by telephone with both Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat following the meeting. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation, Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition, XINHUA)

Following the security meeting, Prime Minister Sharon’s office announced that the Israelis accepted Mr. Tenet’s proposal for a complete and unconditional cease-fire. A Palestinian Authority statement said, while it approved Mr. Tenet’s recommendations raised at the meeting, “the Israeli-proposed amendments” included in Mr. Tenet’s paper were “unacceptable”. In particular, the statement said the Palestinians objected to an Israeli proposal for a buffer zone between Israel and the Palestinian territories, and rejected Israeli demands for the arrest of militant activists. In addition, they sought an immediate lifting of the blockade on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and objected to Mr. Tenet’s proposal for an agreement on the issue to be reached in a week. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and security officials Mohammad Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub and Amin Hindi all met with Mr. Tenet to present their response of “conditional approval” to the US cease-fire plan. (AFP)

Israel should make a “full freeze of settlement activities” as part of a cease-fire, EU Special Envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos said after talks with Foreign Minister Maher. (AFP)

An Islamic Jihad activist was seriously injured in a car blast, while driving inside the Tulkarm refugee camp. A passer-by was also injured according to witnesses. The group said it was an Israeli assassination attempt. A 23-year old Palestinian policeman died of wounds suffered after being shot by the IDF during clashes near Al-Bireh. (AFP)

Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian house in East Jerusalem, sparking brief clashes between the owners and police, witnesses said. Some of the 16 residents of the three-storey home threw stones at the police who fired tear gas canisters back at them, witnesses said, adding that no one had been injured. The owner of the house said he had not been warned about the demolition order and said he was in the process of gaining authorization for the building. (AFP)

President Bush signed a waiver postponing for six more months any relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a memorandum sent to Secretary Powell, President Bush said his Administration “remain[ed] committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem”, while citing “national security interests” in justifying the delay. (AFP, Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition)

12

An IDF spokesman confirmed that troops stationed in the Gaza Strip were using the “fléchette” shells, which split into hundreds of tiny metal darts. Responding to a report in Ha’aretz , the IDF insisted that use of this type of shells was legal, but Palestinian National Security Service Commander Saeb Al-Jaz said international conventions forbade their use. (DPA)

13

After an overnight meeting with CIA Director George Tenet, Chairman Arafat decided to agree in principle to Mr. Tenet’s ceasefire plan. “President Arafat and George Tenet arrived at an agreement on the US proposal on the basis of recommendations from the Mitchell report”, Chairman Arafat’s advisor Nabil Abu Rudeineh told AFP in Ramallah, where the meeting had been held. (AFP, DPA, New York Times)

The cease-fire plan proposed by CIA Director George Tenet took effect at 03:00 p.m. local time (1200 GMT). Shortly after getting the Palestinian conditional acceptance for the plan early in the day, Mr. Tenet hosted an inaugural session of an Israeli-Palestinian-US Security Committee, which would oversee the implementation of the plan. The talks between Palestinian and Israeli security officials took place at an undisclosed location “It was a productive, constructive discussion,” a senior US diplomat said. “We are now looking for mutual steps on the ground to fulfill immediate requirements of the work plan”. Mr. Tenet thereafter left the region. (Reuters, XINHUA )

The following are the key points of Mr. Tenet’s cease-fire plan between Israel and the Palestinians, as reported by TheJerusalem Post.

The Palestinians are called upon to:


Israel is called upon to:
Both sides are called upon to:
After having accepted the plan, Chairman Arafat reportedly addressed a “ side letter” to Mr. Tenet, in which he objected to the establishment of buffer zones, and said that the Palestinians would prevent attacks in the future, but not arrest those who had taken part in attacks in the past. (The Jerusalem Post – Internet edition)

President Bush welcomed the Israeli and Palestinian acceptance of the cease-fire plan and said he wanted to see both sides take “additional steps” to end the bloodshed. He described Mr. Tenet as “cautiously optimistic” about the plan. (AFP, Reuters)

Secretary Powell told Foreign Minister Peres during a 45-minute meeting on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels that both Israel and the Palestinians must make a “one hundred percent effort” to achieve a lasting peace after accepting the cease-fire plan, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said. Secretary Powell also stressed the critical importance of action on the ground to achieve the cessation of violence and the return to normal life, and discussed confidence-building measures in the Fact-Finding/Mitchell Committee Report and the eventual return to negotiations, Mr. Boucher said. Mr. Arafat’s adviser Nabil Abu Rudeineh told the Palestinian news agency WAFA that General Powell had discussed the cease-fire, as well as the timetable for implementing the recommendations of the Fact-Finding/Mitchell Committee Report, with Chairman Arafat over the telephone. Chairman Arafat had earlier met in Ramallah with David Satterfield, Deputy to US Middle East Envoy William Burns, to discuss the resumption of the peace process. (AFP, DPA)

The Israeli Defence Ministry announced that Israel would begin lifting its restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and start redeploying its troops in the Occupied Palestinian Territory within the next 48 hours. “The Israeli army will facilitate within 48 hours traffic movements in the territories and the passage of goods,” a statement said. “During those 48 hours, Israel will also alleviate the living conditions of the Palestinians and modify its military presence on the ground”, the statement added. “Other measures of pacification are also to be carried out in common by the Palestinians and Israel next week,” it said. (AFP)

Russia urged Israelis and Palestinians to build on their cease-fire and use it to re-launch negotiations on a political solution to the Palestinian problem. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “essential that, despite continual hesitations and the opposition of extremists, Israelis and Palestinians consolidate that, which they have mutually undertaken”. (AFP)

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met President Mubarak in Cairo for talks on recent developments in the Middle East. Mr. Annan said that Israel and the Palestinians now had to move on to the “diplomatic process” to make sure their cease-fire would hold in the long term. He also said that while the thorny issue of Israeli settlements was being reviewed by the different parties trying to defuse Israeli-Palestinian tensions, priority should be placed on ending the violence. He added that he understood the plight of the Palestinian people and the difficulties they were going through, noting that an easing of the suffering could be achieved after the parties begun to implement the confidence-building measures contained in the Fact-Finding/ Mitchell Committee Report. (DPA)

Israeli Public Radio said a Defence Ministry investigation found “serious defects” in the actions of the troops involved in the killing of the three Bedouin Palestinian women on 9 June. “They didn’t follow orders, they didn’t communicate properly with one another and as a result of the misunderstanding, a tank team fired shells some one and a half kilometres away from the target”, the radio said. Ha’aretz quoted military sources as saying “this was a serious professional mistake which should not have happened”. (AFP, DPA)

14

The IDF said it had fully reopened the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and withdrawn two tanks from positions around Ramallah, one at the Ayosh junction and another at the Surda checkpoint. A ReutersTV cameraman in Gaza said Israeli tanks had pulled out near the Jewish settlement of “Netzarim” and that Palestinian traffic was flowing freely in the flashpoint area. Palestinian witnesses near Nablus said Israel had pulled back three tanks stationed east of the city and returned them to a nearby base. The area was now open for traffic, they said. Later in the day Prime Minister Sharon said that the Israeli army would not pull back its forces in areas where the fire had not ceased, specifically Rafah and the cities of Ramallah and Nablus, where shots had been fired at IDF. (DPA, Reuters)

A joint statement issued after the EU-US Summit in Sweden called for full implementation of the Fact-Finding/Mitchell Committee Report “including ending the violence, taking confidence-building measures and resuming negotiations”. The statement also stressed that the two parties would “continue to cooperate closely to promote peace in the region'”. (DPA, Reuters)

Prime Minister Sharon discussed implementation of the Tenet cease-fire document with Foreign Minister Peres, Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer and top Israeli security officials. The Prime Minister clarified various aspects of the government policy on the issue, namely that serious shooting incidents and incitement should be ended by the Palestinians, who should be judged on their performance on the ground and not on their declarations of acceptance of the cease-fire. The six-week cooling-off period stipulated in the Mitchell report would start only when there was complete quiet. Security forces and the IDF would operate according to the principle that in places where terrorist actions were still being perpetrated, there would be no easing of measures. Prime Minister Sharon directed the security establishment officials to act in such a fashion so as to do their utmost to assure the Tenet cease-fire initiative’s chances for success. (As communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

15

The joint Israeli-Palestinian-US security committee met in Jerusalem to assess the status of the cease-fire. The security chiefs were to decide on the next steps. The meeting was held under US chairmanship. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians staged protests against the cease-fire in Halhul, Hebron, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Hospital sources said 14 Palestinians had been wounded in Ramallah, five by Israeli rubber-coated bullets. They said Israeli soldiers had shot and wounded seven Palestinians in Hebron, six with rubber bullets and one with a live round. Near Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians said Israeli forces had fired on demonstrators, wounding six, one critically. Israeli military sources said soldiers had fired at the legs of the demonstrators. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition, Reuters).

16

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met separately with Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat, urging them to “seize the moment” and work towards a lasting peace. During his meeting with Prime Minister Sharon, the Secretary-General proposed that a meeting be arranged between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat. Mr. Sharon had reportedly ordered Mr. Peres not to take part in a three-way meeting while violence continued, saying it would be construed by the Palestinians as weakness. According to Ha’aretz , in his discussions with Messrs. Sharon, Peres and the former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, the Secretary-General raised the idea of a plan that would improve confidence between the two sides. The first element would be the establishment of a team that would supervise the implementation of the cease-fire. He suggested that the US head the supervisory committee. The second element would be to establish a time frame so that both sides would know when talks on a final status agreement would begin. The third element would be creating a permanent third party presence in the area, most likely American. The fourth element was a Peres-Arafat meeting. Reportedly, Mr. Sharon did not reject a Peres-Arafat meeting in principle but said “… in the current situation with Arafat not implementing the cease-fire… [a]ny such meeting would give him a good excuse why not to enforce the cease-fire”. (AFP, AP, BBC, Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post – Internet Edition)

Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) proposed that an international committee be established to follow up on the Mitchell report implementation. The committee could comprise representatives from the parties of last October’s Sharm el-Sheikh summit and members of the Mitchell Committee, he said. (XINHUA)

17

Israeli soldiers shot dead a 12-year-old boy and wounded three other Palestinians, one seriously, during clashes with stone-throwers near the western part of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said that dozens of young Palestinians had hurled stones at Israeli troops near the “Neveh Dekalim” settlement. (AFP, BBC, DPA, XINHUA)

In the first joint patrol in months, Israeli and Palestinian liaison officers conducted a joint tour of an area around the “Netzarim” settlement in the Gaza Strip to inspect implementation of the cease-fire. (AFP, Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition)

18

Israel reopened two main roads in the West Bank but tightened its closure in other respects. Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on a main road near the Kalandia refugee camp in the West Bank allowed Palestinian traffic to pass freely instead of checking each car and causing long lines of traffic, as they did previously. Palestinians complained, however, that soldiers were still performing extensive security checks at most points, causing hours-long traffic jams. Also, Palestinian witnesses said Israeli bulldozers had removed rubble and cement blocks barring the main routes into Halhoul and Qalqilya, though dozens of army checkpoints and barriers still blockaded other entrances. In Jenin, Israeli bulldozers sealed back-roads, which Palestinians used to circumvent checkpoints. Three roadblocks were erected and several trenches were dug in the Jenin area. Nablus remained closed by the IDF in response to the killing of a Jewish settler on an access road to the city. At least seven major West Bank urban areas, including hundreds of villages, remained cut off from each other. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army had reoccupied an area near Wed Silka, south of Deir el-Balah, and had set up a military position and an observation post, in violation of the cease-fire. (AFP, AP, Reuters, XINHUA)

At an Arab League ministerial committee meeting in Amman, Chairman Arafat called for immediate deployment of international observers to end “a very dangerous” situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He also called on Arab countries to render financial help to the Palestinians to cover for the losses incurred by Israeli blockade, which amounted to some US$4.5 billion. The ministerial meeting was attended by Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa and foreign ministers or representatives of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority. Participants reaffirmed support for the rights of the Palestinians, including the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. They said Israel should implement agreements it had reached with the Palestinians to release Palestinian prisoners, it should allow the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland and stop Jewish settlement activities on Palestinian and other occupied Arab lands. The final statement called on Israel to lift its blockade against the Palestinians and to withdraw its troops from the Palestinian areas it captured since the beginning of the intifada. It also backed a call by Chairman Arafat for the deployment of international observers to help prevent a possible collapse of the fragile cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians. (AFP, Reuters, XINHUA)

Palestinian Red Crescent officials said 520 Palestinians had died in the intifada since late September 2000. Another 14,461 Palestinians had been wounded in the clashes with Israeli troops. According to the Red Crescent, 120 of those who were killed could have been saved but did not receive medical treatment in time because of Israeli highway blockades. (EFE)

Palestinian and Israeli security officials met under US auspices in Tel Aviv, in a bid to work out a timetable for consolidating a cease-fire, Israeli public television reported. The two sides reportedly remained at odds, with the Israelis demanding a complete end to violence and the Palestinians calling first for an immediate end to Israel’s blockade on the Occupied Territory. (AFP, Reuters)

Following the killing of two Jewish settlers in Palestinian shooting attacks, dozens of settlers torched two cars, uprooted dozens of trees and hurled stones at houses in the village of Madama, south of Nablus, in an apparent act of revenge. The Israeli army also imposed a curfew on two Palestinian villages between Nablus and Tulkarm, near the area where the two deadly attacks had occurred. In Hebron, settlers blocked a road leading north for several hours and staged a protest prayer there, witnesses said. (AFP, Reuters)

19

Prime Minister Sharon held security talks with senior ministers facing mounting calls from angry Israelis, including hardliners in his Likud party, to put an end to the week-old truce after the killing of the two settlers the previous day. He convened a three-hour meeting with security officials and ministers including Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, after warning the bloodshed was creating an “unacceptable situation” for Israel and that he would not hold back indefinitely from launching attacks in retaliation. (AFP)

The IDF dug at least three trenches around Tulkarm, close to the border with Israel, and strengthened the blockades on Nablus and Jenin, witnesses said. The IDF said it had eased its blockades of the cities under the recent US-brokered cease-fire but had tightened them again because the shots that killed the settlers on 18 June came from these areas. (Reuters)

At a joint news conference in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Chairman Arafat called for the urgent dispatch of international observers to monitor the Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire in “sensitive” areas. Mr. Arafat blamed Israeli settlers acting with the protection of some Israeli forces for the violence and pledged that the Palestinians would “do their utmost” to prevent violence and to maintain the cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians, calling on Israel to do the same. “We won’t tolerate any act or stance that goes against the cease-fire and the report of the Mitchell [Fact-Finding Committee report]”, Mr. Arafat added. Prime Minister Aznar assured Chairman Arafat of Europe’s support for the Middle East peace efforts. The Mitchell report could not be implemented piecemeal, Mr. Aznar stressed, calling on Israel to stop building new settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He also called for a resolution to the “insupportable” situation of the Palestinians under the economic blockade. (AFP, DPA, EFE, Reuters)

Four Palestinian boys were seriously wounded by live Israeli army gunfire in clashes in the Gaza Strip, witnesses and hospital officials said. The boys, aged between 12 and 16, were hit after they had thrown rocks at Israeli soldiers near Khan Yunis. Their lives were not in danger, the sources said. A 16-year-old Palestinian died overnight of wounds he had suffered on 17 June, hospital officials in Khan Yunis said. (AFP, Reuters)

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A statement issued at the end of an Israeli security cabinet meeting under Prime Minister Sharon said the Palestinian Authority had yet to fulfil its cease-fire obligations but Israel would nevertheless continue its efforts at implementing the relevant Tenet document. At the same time, the statement said Israel would make clear at a meeting with Palestinian security officials scheduled for later in the day that a “redeployment plan” would be implemented “only after a cessation of terror”. Israel reserved the right of “self-defence” in view of continuing attacks but no specific retaliatory measures were announced. Reacting to the Israeli security cabinet decisions, Chairman Arafat said upon his return to Ramallah from Egypt that Israel was trying to deceive international public opinion by professing support for the cease-fire, while the Israelis were “still firing from their tanks and machine-guns and [were] still using internationally-banned weapons, and the settlers [were] pursuing their crimes under the protection of the Israeli army”. (AFP, EFE, Reuters, XINHUA)

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli troops near a military checkpoint north-west of Ramallah, Israeli Army Radio reported. The shooting occurred near the settlement of “Kiryat Sefer”, the radio said, adding that the troops had opened fire on the man because he was acting suspiciously. A Jewish settler was shot dead by Palestinian gunmen near the settlement of “Homesh”, south of Jenin, the same area where two Jewish settlers had been killed by Palestinians in separate incidents on 18 June, settler sources said. According to AFP , the death toll since late September 2000 had risen to 619, comprising 486 Palestinians, 114 Israelis, 13 Arab Israelis and six Europeans. (AFP, Reuters)

Despite thousands of unsold apartments and Palestinian demands for a settlement freeze, recent Israeli Lands Authority documents showed that the Israeli Government planned to build hundreds of new settler homes, Israeli Army Radio reported. It said that more than half of new tenders for home building were earmarked for construction in settlements. For May alone, tenders had been issued for the construction of more than 700 new homes in the West Bank. The figures, obtained and made public by Knesset Member (Meretz) Mussi Raz, showed that new tenders had been issued despite last month’s 44 per cent drop in home sales in settlements and the fact that 2,200 apartments were standing empty and unsold on settlements, the radio said. (Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post – Internet Edition)

21

IDF officials said they had been given the green light by the Israeli security cabinet, which met the previous day, to resume targeted attacks on Palestinian militants. (AFP)

Israeli Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evy and National Infrastructures Minister Avigdor Lieberman joined 15 Knesset Members in signing a petition calling for an “all-out war” until the Palestinian Authority was “defeated and dismantled”, Ha’aretz reported. (AFP)

At a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher in Washington, Secretary Powell referred to the cease-fire brokered by CIA Director Tenet and the Fact-Finding Committee’s report (the Mitchell report) and said that there were “concrete pieces that are out there right now waiting to be connected”. He said he considered it appropriate to make a trip to the region the following week, as these pieces were “ starting to come together”, adding that he hoped to use those elements “to keep the process moving forward”, despite continuing incidents of violence. Mr. Powell noted that there had been some improvement in the situation with respect to security coordination and some dropping of the level of violence, although he said it was nowhere near the level hoped for. Responding to Minister Maher’s call to implement swiftly both the military measures contained in the cease-fire agreement and the political steps foreseen by the Mitchell report, Mr. Powell agreed and said a critical component for bringing the two sides back to talks was the establishment of a timetable for implementing the Mitchell recommendations. He noted, however, that the establishment of such a timetable was not a precondition for his trip to the region. (AFP, XINHUA)

At a news conference in Gaza, PA Finance Minister Mohammad Nashashibi said Palestinian losses due to Israeli closures and military operations since late September 2000 to mid-June 2001 had reached US$5.2 billion. The losses had occurred in all sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing industries, electricity, water, construction, trade, transport and communications, monetary brokerage, tourism and foreign exchanges. Besides, the PA had shouldered additional heavy burden in the sectors of health, security, civil services, education, infrastructure and compensations to workers who lost their jobs, which had amounted to US$686 million, he added. The Minister said the losses resulting from production suspension had reached US$3.57 billion, while the losses of national wealth stood at US$670 million, the additional burdens US$686 million, funds frozen by the Israeli side US$190 million and annual subsidies to families of persons killed, disabled and detainees US$80 million. The PA had started to work with international tribunals to force Israel to pay compensations for all the losses suffered by the Palestinian economy, he pointed out. The losses exceeded the total PA income for five years, Mr. Nashashibi said, and urged the Arab countries and international donors to provide assistance. As for the Palestinian revenues of taxes and customs withheld by Israel, the Minister said contacts were underway to release the funds and expressed hope that the money would be transferred to the PA within the coming ten days, if the situation continued to improve. (DPA, XINHUA)

22

Jewish settlers protested against Palestinians in the West Bank, blocking traffic, burning crops and beating up journalists, Palestinian witnesses said. The settlers brandished placards calling on the Israeli authorities to end their restraint. Near Ramallah, some 100 armed settlers blocked roads and burned fields. Palestinian cars were stoned east of Bethlehem. In the Hebron area, two Palestinian journalists were beaten. In Nablus, settlers set fire to olive trees, then set upon a car belonging to the fire department and attacked its driver, a local official said. Israeli army radio said troops had arrested two settlers near Ramallah and confiscated their weapons. (AFP, DPA, Reuters, XINHUA)

UNRWA issued an appeal for US$77 million in emergency aid to provide food, medicines and work for more than 200,000 refugee families in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Ongoing violence and the deterioration of the Palestinian economy was having an increasingly negative effect on the health of the refugees UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told a news conference in Geneva. More than half of refugee families were under the subsistence level, he added. The Agency was struggling with a severe cash shortage and might not be able to pay its bills after October because contributions had been some US$67 million short of the regular annual budget requirement of US$311 million for 2001. Mr. Hansen said he would meet Arab State representatives in the following days in a bid to get them to live up to commitments to raise their contributions to the UNWRA budget to 7.8 per cent from less than two per cent currently. He said UNRWA had received some US$200,000 in emergency funding from Saudi Arabia for medical supplies but was unable to distribute it because of the Israeli blockade. Mr. Hansen had had talks with Israeli authorities, seeking to ease the “unacceptable” restrictions on the movement of UNRWA vehicles in and out of the Occupied Palestinian Territory . (DPA, Reuters)

Israeli troops shot and wounded six Palestinians during clashes in the West Bank following Friday prayers, hospital sources said. Five people were hurt in incidents at the entrance to El-Bireh, near Ramallah, and the sixth person was wounded in Al-Khader, near Bethlehem. There were also confrontations in Nablus and in Hebron, with no casualties. At least one Israeli soldier was killed and one seriously wounded in a bomb blast in the north of the Gaza Strip, on a road near the “Dugit” settlement. Subsequently, three Palestinians were seriously injured in retaliatory shelling by Israeli tanks. (AFP, DPA)

In a meeting with Secretary Powell in Washington, PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath appealed to the US to back third-party monitoring on the ground in order to monitor the cease-fire and deter flare-ups. Mr. Shaath said Secretary Powell had taken no position on his appeal but had appeared “open to studying it”. He added that the Palestinians wanted as short a cooling-off period as possible, believing that the confidence-building steps should overlap and would, by themselves, contribute to a cooling off. (AFP, Reuters)

23

US special envoy William Burns met Chairman Arafat and other senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah. Mr. Burns stated after the meeting that it was obvious that there could not be a military solution to the problem but security could be reestablished only through the political process. He underlined the importance the US Administration attached to both sides fulfilling their obligations. PA Minister and negotiator Saeb Erakat told reporters Chairman Arafat for his part had stressed to Mr. Burns the “aggressions and crimes” being committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. He had also underscored the Palestinian insistence on a timetable for carrying out the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Committee’s report. (AFP)

Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar, current chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Qatari News Agency reported. The Emir sent letters on this issue to the five permanent members of the Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, as well as the chairmen of the Non-Aligned Movement and the European Union, the news agency added. In the letters, Sheikh Hamad underlined the need to provide international protection to the Palestinian people in the face of Israeli aggressions and implement the relevant UN resolutions to pave the way for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. In a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Qatari leader stressed the importance of holding an emergency meeting of the contracting parties of the 1949 Geneva Convention to put an end to Israeli violations. (XINHUA)

One Palestinian was killed and two other wounded near the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The IDF said the three had tried to infiltrate Israel carrying a revolver and several grenades. Separately, Palestinian sources said Israeli tanks and bulldozers destroyed 20 houses after they made an incursion into Palestinian territory in the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian official said there had been no reason for the attack. The IDF said it had conducted “ engineering work” along the border with Egypt after a spate of grenade attacks against Israeli military patrols and claimed that only four houses in Rafah had been bulldozed. At least five Palestinians were wounded near Ramallah when Israeli troops opened fire with rubber-coated bullets and tear gas on protesters who were demonstrating against settlers’ burning of olive groves, witnesses said. (AFP, Reuters)

24

Prime Minister Sharon’s aide Zalman Shoval told Israel Radio that Israel demanded total peace from the Palestinians for 10 days before moving to a six-week cooling-off period, as a prerequisite for starting the phase of confidence-building measures, including a freeze on settlements, and finally beginning political discussions. Mr. Shoval added that the Palestinians “must also carry out a whole series of obligations, in particular confiscate weapons held illegally and destroy the infrastructures of the terrorists”. The radio said Israel’s terms had been spelled out by Prime Minister Sharon and other senior Israeli officials in talks overnight with US envoy William Burns. (AFP, DPA)

Fatah activist Usama Fathi Jawabra, 29 years old, was killed when a public telephone booth he was using in Nablus exploded. Fatah accused Israel of assassinating Mr. Jawabra, an allegation denied by Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. (AFP, AP, Reuters)

During his meeting with Prime Minister Sharon, who stopped briefly over in London on his way to the US, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair “emphasized that progress on security was important, not just of itself, but as a means of moving on to peace negotiations”, a Downing Street spokesman said. Mr. Sharon said pressure should be increased on Chairman Arafat “to prevent terror” and reiterated that Israel would not conduct negotiations under fire. “Until there is a complete cessation of terror, violence, and incitement, we cannot move on to the second part of the Mitchell plan, which is the cooling off period”, Mr. Sharon said. (AFP, Reuters, XINHUA)

25

Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said he had ordered 15 unauthorized Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be dismantled for security reasons. “I will try to accomplish it through dialogue and, if not, then by force”, the Minister was quoted as telling the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defence committee. Meanwhile Peace Now issued a statement condemning the issue of tenders to construct 38 new buildings in the West Bank’s “Maale Adumim” settlement located between Jerusalem and Jericho. (AFP)

The 28th conference of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) opened in Bamako, Mali, with the Palestinian intifada at the top of the agenda. (Reuters)

Twelve Palestinians and five Israelis were wounded as a result of an intense exchange of fire in Hebron. The fighting started when Palestinian gunmen fired on the Jewish settlement in the centre of the city to avenge the killing of a Fatah activist who died in a telephone booth explosion in Nablus the previous day. Palestinian radio reported that Israeli tanks shelled Palestinian houses in Hebron, wounding several people, among them a 10-year-old boy and a pregnant woman. (DPA, Reuters)

Responding to questions at the National Press Club in Washington, former US Senator George Mitchell said President Bush should invite Chairman Arafat to Washington. He added that he thought this was what the US Administration intended to do, “at the appropriate time”. Mr. Mitchell encouraged Secretary Powell to continue to do his best to gain full implementation of the Fact-Finding Committee’s recommendations. Regarding the cease-fire he said that it was “obviously not fully effective” and called on both parties to take prompt steps to strengthen it, after which there should be “prompt movement to the next steps”. “The greatest danger of all is that the culture of peace nurtured over the previous decade is being shattered”, Mr. Mitchell noted and warned that “In its place, there is a growing sense of futility and despair, and a growing resort to violence”. He also said an Israeli freeze on building work at Jewish settlements would be “a very significant step forward to rebuilding confidence and to resuming meaningful and serious negotiation”. (AFP, DPA, Reuters, XINHUA)

26

Israel tightened its blockade of Hebron following the fierce exchange of fire the previous day. Witnesses said the IDF had moved piles of rocks and mounds of earth into place to enforce the blockade around the city. Palestinian areas near the Jewish settlements were under curfew, with every shop shuttered and no one on the streets. Other major West Bank cities remained under various levels of blockade. Tulkarm had been under a tight closure since a shooting attack on settlers nearby the previous week. Lesser restrictions were in force in Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin, while Ramallah, Qalqilya and Jericho continued to see a relative easing of blockades. (AFP, Reuters)

Following his meeting with President Bush in Washington, Prime Minister Sharon said a “completely quiet” 10-day period was necessary before the “cooling-off period” between Israelis and Palestinians stipulated by the Mitchell report could begin. He repeated that Israel would “never negotiate under fire”. The Prime Minister acknowledged that he and President Bush disagreed on the issue of settlements but said no rift had developed. “I think the important achievement is that there is full trust between the sides [Israel and the US], and that, in my view, is more important than agreement”, he said. Mr. Sharon added that while his coalition Government would not build new settlements, it would construct housing in existing ones, without expropriating more land, to accommodate the “natural growth” of their populations. Israeli army radio reported that President Bush had asked for an immediate and total halt to settlement construction. In his statements to reporters, Mr. Bush acknowledged there was “a level of frustration” but said progress was being made and praised Mr. Sharon’s “patience”. He said Secretary Powell would visit the region to “make sure there is a realistic assessment of what is going on”. (AFP, Reuters, XINHUA)

Prime Minister Sharon had put forward to President Bush a plan to allow the Palestinians to establish “a State with limited sovereignty”, Israeli media reported. Under the plan and the accompanying map, the Palestinians would be able to establish a small but territorially-contiguous State in part of the West Bank. The new State would enjoy economic cooperation with Israel but would be subject to various security restrictions. The plan, for instance, would forbid the Palestinian State to maintain an army. It would allow Israel to maintain control of East Jerusalem, as well as of security zones in the Jordan valley and along the 1967 border line between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Prime Minister reportedly offered his plan to refute criticisms that he had been trying to avoid peace talks with the Palestinians. In an official response, the Palestinian leadership said Mr. Sharon’s plan and map included “colonialist and settlement aims” meant to perpetuate the occupation and “completely violate[d] UN Security Council [resolutions] 242, 338, 425 and 252, which speak of a complete Israeli withdrawal from all of the occupied Palestinian territories to the June 4, 1967 border”. (Ha’aretz – English Internet Edition, XINHUA)

27

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and EU special Middle East envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos called from Moscow on the Israelis and the Palestinians to implement as soon as possible the package of reciprocal measures for a cease-fire, confidence-building and resumption of the negotiating process. In subsequent statements, Mr. Moratinos acknowledged the US maintained the main role in seeking a settlement in the region but said he hoped to “boost concertation” between Russia and the EU in seeking an end to the crisis and stressed it was time “for strong action by the international community in the Middle East”. Minister Ivanov said the Russian, US and EU “approaches to fundamental matters” on resolving the Middle East crisis were “identical”, adding that Russia would be following closely Secretary Powell’s visit to the region, hoping for its success. Mr. Ivanov stressed Russia’s support for the Fact-Finding/Mitchell Committee recommendations and said Moscow’s main task would be to promote their implementation. (AFP, ITAR-TASS)

Secretary Powell urged Israel and the Palestinians to immediately implement the Mitchell Committee report recommendations in their entirety. Following talks with President Mubarak in Alexandria, Mr. Powell told reporters during a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher that political negotiations could only resume once calm had been restored. He insisted that “quiet” and a “cooling off period” were essential if Israel and the Palestinians were to move on to political negotiations. Mr. Powell acknowledged that the level of violence had subsided but added that more had to be done. He said there would be a timetable for the parties to implement the Mitchell Committee report, but did not elaborate. For his part, Minister Maher called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations contained in the Mitchell Committee report, adding that should lead as soon as possible to a resumption of negotiations and stressing that security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians should be accompanied by some movement on the political front. (DPA)

The OIC Foreign Ministers’ conference ended in Bamako, Mali, with a renewed call for member States to cut ties with Israel in support of the Palestinian intifada. “The conference decided to stop all political contacts with the Israeli Government as long as the aggression and blockade against the Palestinian people and its National Authority continue”, said the final communiqué. The conference criticized the US for failing to back a proposal for a UN monitoring force that would help protect the Palestinians in the Occupied Territory and urged the removal of Jewish settlements. Moreover, “The conference emphasized that there can be no just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East area as long as Israel has not withdrawn from all the Palestinian and other Arab territories it occupied”. (Reuters)

According to WAFA, UN Special Coordinator Terje Rød-Larsen, speaking to representatives of UN entities working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said that the Palestinian economy was losing US$7 to 10 million a day as a result of the Israeli blockade on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He added that the current unemployment rate was 60 per cent in the Gaza Strip and 40 per cent in the West Bank, compared with levels of 11 per cent before the intifada. Mr. Rød-Larsen was quoted as saying that the “current situation was unprecedented since the [signing of] the Oslo peace accords in 1993”. (AFP)

Israeli television reported that Shin Bet Head Avi Dichter, PA West Bank Preventive Security Chief Jibril Rajoub and a US representative, held talks in Tel Aviv aimed at stabilizing the ceasefire between the two sides but apparently made no significant progress. An announcement following the meeting merely said that the talks would be continued. News reports later said that the Israeli side had accused the Palestinians of not doing enough to stop the violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while the Palestinians had charged that Israel had not carried out its commitments, such as loosening the army blockade of Palestinian towns. (AFP, DPA)

UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said the refusal of the Israelis to allow free passage to UN vehicles transporting first aid materials to Gaza was leading to a near shortage of medicines, vaccines and other emergency products and described the blockade as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Convention of Vienna. Mr. Hansen said Israeli troops had not directly prevented UNRWA trucks carrying aid from entering the Palestinian areas but their check posts had forced convoys to be unloaded for time-consuming inspections. (AFP)

28

At a press conference following his meeting with Chairman Arafat in Ramallah, Secretary of State Powell said he had agreed on the need for international observers to monitor future Israeli-Palestinian steps toward peace implementation. “I think if we get into the confidence-building measures, there will be a need for monitors and observers to go to points of friction and make independent observations”, Mr. Powell stated, without getting more specific as to the mandate or composition of such a group. He also said he had outlined the need for a “calendar timeline so we don’t get stuck” in trying to move forward with the Mitchell report implementation. Chairman Arafat suggested that observers should be provided by the US, the EU, the UN and others and pledged that the Palestinians would honour their commitments under the Mitchell plan. (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Secretary Powell secured Israeli and Palestinian support for a seven-day period of “total calm” before moving forward with a six-week “cooling-off period” stipulated by the Mitchell Report. Mr. Powell and Prime Minister Sharon announced the agreed schedule at a joint press conference in Jerusalem. Secretary Powell said that if the six-week period were peaceful, the Israeli and the Palestinians would then enter into the confidence-building phase of the Mitchell report. It was not immediately clear when the seven days of quiet would begin or who would decide when or if it was violated, but Secretary Powell suggested it would be Mr. Sharon who had the final say. “It is the Prime Minister who bears ultimate responsibility as to what direction his country will move in with respect to the beginning of the Mitchell committee sequence”, he said. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz–English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

In his joint press conference with Prime Minister Sharon, Secretary Powell clarified earlier remarks, in which he had been quoted as saying he backed the deployment of international observers to reinforce confidence-building measures. “If the two sides, in the consequence of putting together the trilateral security committee, should decide to put out some observers for a certain purpose, and both sides agree on it, that was it” he said. Mr. Powell also said the question of whether to send international observers to the region had not been raised with either Mr. Sharon or Chairman Arafat. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer insisted that Mr. Powell’s comments had not reflected a shift in the Administrations’ policy. He said the Administration’s stance had been that the Palestinians and the Israelis both had to agree to any monitoring. (DPA, Newsday)

29

In Lisbon for the Socialist International’s 50th anniversary conference, Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat held talks at the Portuguese Prime Minister’s residence. The talks were also attended by Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjørn Jagland, chair of the Socialist International’s Middle East committee. No official statement was issued after the meeting. In earlier statements Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres had underlined the need for “an effective and immediate cease-fire as well as an end to the violence” and had stressed that it was “indispensable to talk and apply the Mitchell plan entirely, including the very important question of freezing settlement building”. Mr. Peres told journalists after his meeting with Chairman Arafat that it was not a negotiation but only a conversation, noting at the same time that “even a conversation can serve to clarify certain points”. (AFP, Reuters)

At least 27 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire from Israeli troops in clashes across the West Bank, the Palestinian Red Crescent said. The IDF opened fire at around 1,000 Palestinians demonstrating just outside El-Bireh, lightly wounding five people with rubber-coated bullets and another person in the hand with a live round. In Al-Khader, near Bethlehem, four Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated bullets after a bomb went off near an Israeli army jeep. Hospital sources had said earlier that one Palestinian required emergency surgery after being shot in the clashes. Palestinian and Israeli sources said a number of other Palestinians were wounded across the West Bank, particularly outside Tulkarm. An Egyptian policeman was shot dead by a stray Israeli bullet near the border with the Gaza Strip at Rafah, local Egyptian officials said. Israeli troops were firing on Palestinian demonstrators on the Gaza Strip side of the border town when a stray bullet hit a rank-and-file policeman on the Egyptian side, the officials said. (AFP, Reuters)

30

Speaking at the Socialist International conference in Lisbon, Chairman Arafat called for “an urgent international initiative to establish the suitable mechanism for convening serious and definitive negotiations under international sponsorship” and stressed that peace with Israeli must be based on “a total Israeli retreat from all Palestinian and Arab territories up to the borders of June 4, 1967”. Mr. Arafat also reiterated his call for international observers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and welcomed a “greater European involvement”. He said he hoped the Lisbon meeting “would constitute an important contribution to stopping [Israel’s] military aggression”. For his part, Foreign Minister Peres noted Israeli citizens’ own suffering in Palestinian attacks and added that Israelis did not want to be the occupiers but a majority wanted to live in peace with the Palestinians. He urged European countries “to help all parties to negotiate peace” and expressed his belief that the main stumbling block to a peace agreement was security, not occupation saying “Give us security, you can have freedom”. Mr. Peres stressed that Israel was committed to freezing all settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (AFP, Reuters)


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