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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
30 September 1996
CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF EVENTS

RELATING TO THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

September 1996





















Monitored from the media by the
Division for Palestinian Rights


2 September The President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat said that he would seek international arbitration if Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts faltered. He raised the option while Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were searching a formula for resuming full peace talks and holding the first summit between Mr. Arafat and Mr. Netanyahu. (Reuter)


3 September Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky met with Mr. Yasser Arafat in Gaza City and announced a $30 million aid package for the Palestinian Authority. At a joint press conference, Mr. Vranitzky said the funds would be provided over the next two years to help finance housing construction, education, water irrigation and restoration of historic buildings. (AFP)


4 September Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Mr. Yasser Arafat for the first time at Erez crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The meeting had been preceded by intensive contacts and mediation to finalize a framework agreement on the future of negotiations. It was reported that the two leaders agreed that outstanding issues like the redeployment in Hebron, the closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian airport would be discussed in joint steering committees. (Los Angeles Times)


5 September Senior officials from 15 donor countries met at the U.S. State Department and reviewed an international aid programme for the Palestinian self-rule areas. State Department spokesman Glyn Davis said the meeting focused on implementation of projects, budgetary issues and donor coordination. The participants agreed on steps and ways to address Palestinian economic problems, but no further details were reported. (Reuter)


6 September The Israeli authorities decided to increase the number of Palestinian workers permitted to enter Israel from 37,000 to 50,000. The Israeli decision was announced during the donors' meeting at the U.S. State Department in Washington. (AFP)


7 September The People's Committee for Aid to the Palestine Mujahedeen in Saudi Arabia donated $1.02 million to the PLO National Fund. The funds were deducted from the salaries of around 200,000 Palestinians working in Saudi Arabia, and raised from voluntary contributions from Saudis and foreign residents. (AFP)


8 September Several members of the Israeli parliamentary (Knesset) Interior Committee visited Orient House, the Headquarters of the PLO in East Jerusalem in an effort to understand the problems facing Palestinians in the city. The visit came a day after Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring, whose country heads the current European Union (EU) troika, vowed to visit Orient House despite his Israeli counterpart David Levy's pressure to boycott it. (AFP)


10 September Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls by the Clinton administration to pull Israeli troops out of the West Bank town of Hebron. According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu argued that such a step could create an "explosive" situation in Hebron that could damage the entire Middle East peace process. Netanyahu's comments came at the end of a day of talks with senior administration officials in Washington, including President Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. U.S. officials used the occasion to urge Israel to build on the "psychological breakthrough" represented by the first meeting between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat. (The Washington Post)


11 September Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed an agree- ment extending by one month the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). The agreement was signed by Eytan Ben Tsur, the Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the head of the Palestinian negotiating team Saeb Erakat. (AFP)


12 September Mr. Arafat visited Japan and met with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda, and business leaders. Mr. Hashimoto pledged to extend $3 million in emergency aid to improve services in the Gaza Strip. The aid would be disbursed through the United Nations Development Programme. (Reuter)


15 September Fifteen Arab foreign ministers held a two-day meeting in Cairo and discussed Middle East peace talks. Resolutions adopted at the meeting stated that Israel had violated peace talks agreements in the Middle East, and that Arab States would have to reconsider concessions made towards normal relations if the Israeli Government did not meet commitments made by its previous government. (AFP)


16 September Israel agreed to expand the list of merchandise which the Palestinian Authority can import from other Arab countries. The agreement would be signed in the first meeting of the Israel-Palestinian Joint Economic Committee. Israel and the Palestinian Authority also agreed to set up committees to address a number of economic issues, including the increasing number of permits for Palestinian businessmen seeking to enter Israel and taxes collected by Israel that must be transferred to the PA. (Reuter)


17 September The Israeli authorities demolished the second floor of a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem which reportedly had been built illegally. The demolition was carried out by Jerusalem municipal employees under police guard. (Reuter)

19 September Mr. Yasser Arafat and Mr. Yitzhak Mordecai, Israeli Defence Minister, met at Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. The two decided to meet again after the steering committee of the peace negotiation convenes and reaches a conclusion. Palestinian negotiator Hasan Asfour, who attended the meeting, said that the Palestinians had not agreed to reopen negotiations on the Hebron agreement and the steering committee would discuss implementing the existing agreement. (AFP)


20 September Mr. Arafat visited Germany for two days and met with German President Roman Herzog and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel. Mr. Kinkel praised what he termed Arafat's "courage" and his "level-headed composure" during the past months. He also said that agreements that had been reached between Israel and the PLO had to be carried out. Addressing German businessmen, Mr. Arafat pleaded for German economic investment in the Palestinian territories. (DPA)


24 September Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip protested against Israel's decision to open a new entrance to an archaeological tunnel along the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israeli officials said the project involved extending an existing tunnel next to the Wailing Wall by about 400 meters, uncovering archaeological remains dating back 2,500 years. The Israeli move triggered strong protests by Arab as well as Islamic countries. (The Washington Post, AFP)


25 September The United States implicitly criticized Israel for ar- chaeological excavations near Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying they "complicate" relations between Israelis and Palestinians. US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said that "the parties to the peace process should avoid creating new issues that would further complicate the negotiation and complicate the situation on the ground". (AFP)

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in East Jerusalem against Israel's decision to open a tunnel near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, site of Islam's third holiest shrine. Five Palestinians were shot dead in heavy fighting with Israeli soldiers in the town of Ramallah and about 240 others were injured. Mr. Arafat accused Israel of being responsible for the violence in the West Bank and confirmed that negotiations scheduled for 26 September had been canceled. (The New York Times)


26 September Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, who cut short his trip to Europe, called Mr. Arafat from his plane and requested an immediate meeting to discuss escalating clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. It was reported that Mr. Arafat told Mr. Netanyahu to implement the signed peace agreements in order to save the peace process. (Reuter)


27 September The League of Arab States held an emergency meeting in Cairo and called on the United Nations Security Council to halt Israel's "aggression" against the Palestinian people. (Financial Times)
28 September President Bill Clinton invited Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat, as well as to King Hussein of Jordan and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, to meet in the White House and discuss the latest development in the region. (The New York Times)


29 September After intensive diplomatic efforts by the United States, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat agreed to attend a summit in the White House to seek ways to prevent further confrontation and to advance the peace process. President Clinton announced that he would act as host to the meetings, scheduled to begin on 1 October, with American officials conferring separately with Israelis and Palestinians. It was reported that King Hussein of Jordan would attend, while President Hosni Mubarak confirmed that he would not attend the summit, making clear that in this view the talks should have been better prepared. (Financial Times)
30 September Israel deployed tanks and troops and imposed a strict ban on Palestinian travel between cities and towns. It was reported that Israel planned to send more troops into Palestinian self-rule areas to disarm about 30,000 Palestinian police. The Palestinian Authority replied that such a move would mean the final collapse of a three-year effort of peace negotiations. (The Washington Post)



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