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

RELATING TO THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

July 1996











Monitored from the media by the
Division for Palestinian Rights



1 July More than 200 Palestinian men, women, and children demonstrated in the West Bank city of Ramallah calling for the release of more than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners held by the Israeli authorities. The demonstrators demanded that the Palestinian Authority put pressure on Israel to meet its commitment under the PLO-Israel peace agreements. (AFP)


2 July European Union officials complained that food aid sent and stamped with the EU insignia were found for sale in Israeli grocery shops in Tel-Aviv. The products were channeled by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to the Palestinian self-rule areas crossing Israeli army checkpoints. The EU representative in Jerusalem, Jeff Healy, suggested halting aid shipments to the Palestinian territories and giving food stamps instead. The issue was put before the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities for investigation. (AFP)


3 July The EU agreed to grant the Palestinian Authority a $36 million loan to assist the latter in improving the water and sewage services in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)


4 July Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian policeman from the Gaza Strip who was suspected of being involved in armed attacks against Israel before the 1993 PLO-Israeli agreement. Major-General Abdel-Razaq al-majaydeh, director of the Palestinian security forces in Gaza, condemned the arrest and called it a violation of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement. (Reuter)


5 July Palestinian youths clashed with an Israeli army patrol in the West Bank city of Hebron protesting the delay in the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the city and Israel's closure of the Palestinian self-rule areas. A nine-year-old Palestinian boy was arrested and an Israeli soldier was injured during the clash. (AFP)


6 July The President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat met with King Hussein of Jordan in the Red Sea Port of Aqaba and discussed the latest developments in the Middle East peace process. Both leaders explored means to speed implementation of agreements signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, mainly Israel's withdrawal from Hebron. (AFP)


7 July Israel's agriculture ministry blocked the entry of vegetables into Israel from the Gaza Strip. The ministry stated that the move was in response to a Palestinian Authority suspension of imports of fresh beef from Israel in the last two weeks. The dispute between the two sides erupted last month when Israel denied entry of 20,000 slaughtered sheep given by Saudi Arabia to the Palestinians. Agriculture officials from both sides were expected to meet within 48 hours to resolve the problem. (Reuter)


9 July Israeli police summoned seven members of the Palestinian Council from Jerusalem for questioning on their activities in East Jerusalem. It was reported that this was the first time that Israeli police had summoned Palestinian officials since the Israeli-Palestinian agreement in 1993. The Palestinian Council condemned the move and described it a humiliation and a violation of the agreement. (Reuter)


10 July Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made his first official visit to the United States and met with President Bill Clinton at the White House. At a news conference, Mr. Netanyahu said that he would expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state in the self-ruled areas. He assured President Clinton that he would continue to strive for peace with security with Arab States but did not offer a specific proposal to support his pledge. (Financial Times, Washington Post)


11 July Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinian workers near the village of Nazlet Issa in the West Bank injuring 30 Palestinians. It was reported that the clash came after the workers had tried to enter Israel without proper work permits. (Reuter)


13 July The Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Syria met in Muscat, Oman, and discussed the latest developments in the Gulf and the Middle East regions. The meeting came in response to the statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. They agreed to take a communal decision toward the extremist policies of Mr. Netanyahu but no details were made public. (AFP)


14 July The head of the Jewish Settlers Council, Pinchas Wallerstein, announced an action plan for the increase in the number of settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. According to the plan, the number of settlers would be increased during the next four years from 135,000 to 500,000. The plan was supported by Deputy Housing Minister Meir Porush who also declared the resumption of building settlements in the Palestinian territories. (The Washington Post, AFP)


15 July The Palestinian Council has decided to send a letter to parliaments around the world to protest Israeli violations of the PLO-Israeli agreements. The letter spells out a list of 25 alleged violations, including the delay in the Israeli military redeployment from the West Bank town of Hebron, the refusal to discuss the final status of Jerusalem and the refusal to release Palestinian prisoners. (AFP)


16 July A Palestinian man from Deir al-Hattab Village in the West Bank committed suicide by setting himself on fire after losing his job in Israel due to Israel's closure of the Palestinian territories. Two months earlier another Palestinian from Nablus area had killed himself also in despair at his lack of work. According to official Palestinian figures, unemployment in the West Bank reached 28 per cent while in the Gaza Strip it stands at 50 per cent. (AFP)


17 July The European Commission announced a grant of $21.6 million to fund projects in the private sector and the development of cities in the Palestinian territories. It was reported that about $18 million would be allocated to infrastructure projects in several municipalities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while the remaining funds would be invested in establishing private companies. (AFP)


18 July In his first official visit to Egypt, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo and discussed the need to create the proper atmosphere to resume peace negotiations on all tracks. During the meeting Mr. Netanyahu announced that his government would honor existing arrangements on Palestinian self-rule. (Financial Times, The New York Times)


19 July A confrontation took place between Israeli settlers and about 150 Palestinians from the West Bank protesting against Israeli land seizures. It was reported that settlers attacked Palestinian cameramen working for foreign news agencies, injuring one, and smashed a car and camera equipment. (Reuter)


20 July Mr. Arafat met with President Mubarak in Burg al-Arab town, near Alexandria to discuss the Middle East peace process. The latter briefed Mr. Arafat on his talk with Mr. Netanyahu and assured him that progress will be made in the peace process. Mr. Mubarak also confirmed that talks on a permanent settlement would determine the future of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. (Reuter)


22 July Israel announced a series of measures to ease its five-month closure of the Palestinian territories. About 10,000 workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would be allowed to enter Israel and all must be over age 30 and married. In addition, some 350 traders, 240 medical personnel, and ten ambulances would be allowed to enter Israel. (Reuter)


23 July President Arafat met for the first time with Israeli foreign Minister David Levy at Erez crossing point to Gaza. Both leaders agreed to continue contacts at all levels, to formalize their relations, and to create the proper frameworks for advancing the agreements between the two parties. (The New York Times, Reuter)


24 July Mr. Netanyahu told the Israeli Radio that he favored the expansion of existing settlements but not the construction of new ones. Netanyahu also said that he wanted to build hundreds of bypass roads for Israeli settlers that would allow them to avoid Palestinian areas in the West Bank. The issue of settlements would be discussed at the weekly Israeli cabinet on 26 July for the first time since the new government was formed. (AFP)


25 July Yasser Arafat arrived in Syria for reconciliation talks with President Hafez al-Assad, in his first visit since the signing of the 1993 agreement with Israel. Mr. Arafat briefed Mr. al-Assad on the situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and on his talks with Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy. The two leaders agreed to call for an urgent meeting of the Jerusalem Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to discuss Israel's decision to allow Jews to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Mr. Arafat also conveyed an offer by Mr. Levy to meet the Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara and to discuss ways on how to revive peace talks between Syria and Israel. (Reuter)


26 July Israel sealed the West Bank after a suspected Palestinian gunman killed three Israelis in a drive-by shooting near Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities announced that new measures would be taken by the Israeli government to improve security in the area of the attack. Mr. Arafat condemned the closure describing it as another violation of the PLO-Israeli agreements. (The Washington Post, Reuter)


29 July The Israeli Government has revived plans to build two highways and two bridges through the West Bank and the Golan Heights. One road is a planned four-lane highway six miles long that would enter Jerusalem from the north, extending a route from Israel's coastal plain by slicing through the West Bank. The second highway would run east from an area north of Tel-Aviv across the West Bank for 12 miles connecting with an existing road near the settlement town of Ariel. On Israel's border with the Golan Heights, two narrow bridges would be replaced over the Jordan River with wider spans to ease traffic to and from the Golan Heights and to help the growing Jewish population in the Golan. (The New York Times)


30 July Egyptian President Mubarak met with President Clinton at the White House and discussed the future of Middle East peace talks. The two leaders in a joint press conference pledged to do their utmost to revive the peace process. Mr. Mubarak criticized reported plans to expand existing settlements and build roads in the West Bank, warning they could derail the Middle East peace process. (The Washington Post, AFP)
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