DevMode
1.4.96 Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres announces that he would submit the permanent-status arrangement with the Palestinians to a referendum in Israel. The Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Yasser Arafat, responds that this is contrary to the Oslo agreements.
The Israeli security authority confirms the entry of an additional 3,000 Gaza workers into Israel.
The B'Tselem human-rights organization announces that, since the start of the closure on the territories, eight Palestinians have died for lack of medical treatment.

7.4.96 Settler leaders meet (in Israel and in the UK, with PM Peres's knowledge) with senior members of the PNA in order to prevent violence between the parties. The possibility of setting up an emergency "hot line" is discussed. The Council of Jewish Communities in the occupied West Bank claims that these meetings were "harmful."
The PNA tries to mobilize money abroad, including in S~lUdia Arabia, as a result of its evaluation that the closure on the Palestinian territory will continue until the Israeli elections at the end of May 1996.

11.4.96 The IDF demolishes five houses which they claim were built illegally in Hebron. Residents are informed that it was intended to demolish another 23 houses.

20.4.96 Peres and Arafat meet for the first time since the terror attacks of February-March. They agree, according to Abu Mazen, that the redeployment in Hebron would take place at the end of May, before the Israeli elections.

21.4.96 Netanyahu says that "if I will form the government, I will consider meeting Arafat." He adds that the discussion with the Labor party is not on the Oslo agreements but on the continuation of Oslo and the permanent¬status arrangements.

23.4.96 The Labor party recommends removing the item denying the establishment of a Palestinian State from its election platform.

24.4.96 The PNA abolishes the items in the Charter negating Israel's right of existence. The formulation of the resolution was coordinated with Israel. Peres calls it a "historical decision," while Netanyahu calls it "a positive step but the Charter must unequivocally recognize Zionism and IsraeL" On the morrow, the Peace Watch organization says that "the PNA did not change the Charter but determined that the change will be made in the future." MK Beni Begin says that "they are deceiving the Israeli public over the Charter."

27.4.96 Arafat is invited to the USA in the wake of the change in the Charter. Palestinian' Legislative Council (PLC) member Ziad Abu Zayyad announces that there was no doubt about the abolition of the Charter.

1.5.96 A Palestinian stabs a 72-year-old settler from Kiryat Arba in the Hebron market. Settlers overturn stalls in the market. A few days later the Palestinian is caught by the Palestinian authorities and stands trial.

2.5.96 Israel withdraws the special status granted to two PNA ministers, Urn Jihad and Abdul-Rahman, since they are accused of bringing Hamas activists from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
The writer Emile Habiby dies at the age of 74. The words "He remained in Haifa" are inscribed on his gravestone. The poet Mahmoud Darwish comes to Israel with a special permit from the Prime Minister's Office for 48 hours, and eulogizes Emile Habiby.

4.5.96 Netanyahu: "If elected, I will thicken the Jewish settlement in Hebron."
The head of the Security Services in Gaza, Muhammad Dahlan, says, "We have arrested all the members of Ezzeddin AI-Qassam, apart from their leader Muhammad Deif."

5.5.96 In Taba, negotiations are opened between Israel and the Palestinians on permanent-status negotiations. The Palestinians demand a state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

8.5.96 A confrontation takes place between Palestinian police and IDF soldiers in Netzarim in the Gaza Strip.

12.5.96 Hosni Mubarak, King Hussein and Yasser Arafat meet in Cairo, stressing Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.

13.5.96 Yeshiva (religious seminary) student, Ya'akov Boim, is killed and three wounded in an attack near the settlement of Beit E1. The Palestinian police arrests 20 suspects in the attack, which was carried out from a moving car.

14.5.96 All the relaxations in the closure for workers from Gaza are annulled. The closure is to continue until after the Israeli elections.

18.5.96 Several Hamas leaders are arrested in Hebron. The movement's spokesperson, Dr. Mahmoud A-Zahhar, calls for no attacks in Israel until the elections.

25.5.96 An agreement is signed between Israel and the PNA on the Dahaniya airfield. Israel will maintain full security control over the airfield. It subsequently refuses permission for two new helicopters to land and they return to Egypt.

26.5.96 Tens of Palestinians block with their bodies the progress of a bulldozer paving the way to the area where the Jewish settlement of Har Homa ijabal Abu Ghneim) is due to be established in Southeast Jerusalem.

27.5.96 Netanyahu: "I will not respect the commitment to discuss the status of Jerusalem in permanent-status arrangements with the Palestinians."

29.5.96 In the Israeli elections, Chairman of the Likud, Binyamin Netanyahu, is elected prime minister, defeating Shimon Peres. '

5.6.96 Meeting in Aqaba, Mubarak, Hussein and Arafat announce that a Palestinian State will be established. Arafat: "I will shortly announce the establishment of the state, with holy Jerusalem as its capital."

6.6.96 Border Policemen shoot to death a 23-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem and wound his brother. They claim that the victim intended to attack them with his revolver.
Later, it is discovered that he was unarmed. He was shot at night, in an ambush by the Israeli police, as he was checking for suspicious noises outside his home.

9.6.96 An Israeli couple is killed when their car is attacked near Beit Shemesh.

16.6.96 A Palestinian armed with a revolver kills an Israeli policeman in a toy shop in the West Bank village of Birya. The. Palestinian police arrest a suspect and Sa'eb Erekat condemns the murder.

22.6.96 At an Arab summit meeting in Cairo, Mubarak brings together Arafat and Assad for a meeting. The Palestinians: "This is recognition by the Syrian president of the legimitacy of Arafat as the chairman of the PNA and his leadership in the Oslo agreement." The summit warns Israel against going back on its commitments and delaying negotiations.

25.6.96 The Israeli police arrest Abbas Zaki, a member of the PLC, at the Allenby bridge. He is questioned on his involvement in a demonstration a few days earlier in the village of Samu' in the West Bank. During the demonstration, vehicles and equipment belonging to the Jewish National Fund which were to pave a road there, are set alight.

2.7.96 The government of Israel and the PNA both complain that the other party is breaking the interim agreement in security and in civilian affairs.
The Palestinians complain primarily about the delay in redeployment in Hebron, the closure,. the failure to release political prisoners and expropriation of land in the West Bank. The Israelis complain about disturbances and anti-Israeli incitement, the activities of the Palestinian Preventive Security Forces in Area C, the arrest of Israelis by Palestinian policemen, and non-payment of debts by Palestinians to Israelis.

9.7.96 The Israeli prime minister, making his first official visit to the USA, rejects Clinton's demand not to establish new settlements and says he will delay the redeployment from Hebron until "a formulation for assuring security" is found. He speaks of the need for democratization and human rights in the region.
At a meeting the following week with Mubarak, who describes the talks as reassuring, Netanyahu commits himself to "continuing the Olso track."

10.7.96 Four Israeli farmers are believed guilty of physical brutality against two Palestinian children suspected of picking some tomatoes from their fields.

23.7.96 The first meeting between Foreign Minister David Levy and Yasser Arafat. They decide to set up two committees to discuss the continuation of the implementation of the interim agreements. Arafat promises to stop PNA political activities in East Jerusalem.

25.7.96 Three Israelis are killed by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorists near Beit Shemesh.

30.7.96 The body of IDF soldier Ban Sa'adon, missing since 1989, is found on the basis of information provided by the PNA, and returned to Israel.

31.7.96 It is made public - by the Israeli media - that before the elections, an understanding was reached between Yossi Beilin and Abu Mazen on the establishment of a Palestinian State in most of the West Bank, the annexation of 10% of the area (where 70% of the settlers live) and on making the Palestinian capital in the Abu Dis neighborhood which is outside the Jerusalem municipal border.

2.8.96 The Israeli government decides to "defreeze" building in the settlements, without building new settlements. No practical steps are taken.
Arafat threatens to ask for international mediation concerning Israeli defaulting on agreements.

13.8.96 Netanyahu informs Arafat that there will be no progress in the interim agreement without the closing of three PNA institutions in East Jerusalem. Two weeks later, the PNA announces their closing.

15.8.96 Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai presents a plan which will constitute the basis for negotiations on redeployment in Hebron. The settlers in Hebron accuse the government of adopting the Labor government's plan.

20.8.96 First meeting of the steering committee for monitoring the implementation of the interim agreement, headed by Dan Shomron and Sa'eb Erekat.

21.8.96 Arafat calls for "civil struggle" against the Israeli government, and for Palestinian building in Area C.

22.8.96 Mubarak threatens to cancel the International Economic Conference planned for November 1996 in Cairo, if the peace process does not make progress.

28.8.96 Claiming that it was renovated illegally, the Jerusalem municipality demolishes a building in East Jerusalem intended to serve as a sports center for a voluntary Palestinian association.

29.8.96 A general strike is declared in the territories against plans to broaden settlement and against the demolition of houses. Arafat calls for' mass attendance at the Friday prayers in Jerusalem in spite of the closure. Massive Israeli security measures prevent many West Bank residents from attending.

4.9.96 Netanyahu and Arafat meet at the Erez Checkpoint and shake hands for the first time. They announce the renewal of the discussions on implementing the Oslo agreement.

8.9.96 Members of the Interior Committee of the Knesset visit Orient House and meet with Faisal Husseini in order to discuss complaints by East Jerusalem residents concerning the refusal of the municipality and the Ministry of the Interior to grant them building permits.

15.9.96 The foreign ministers of the Arab League states decide in Cairo to condition their connections with Israel on progress in the peace process.

18.9.96 The Israeli defense minister tells Arafat, at a meeting between them, that the redeployment in Hebron will be implemented only following changes in the existing plan.

19.9.96 Israel confirms plans for the construction of about 2,000 housing units in settlements in the occupied territories.

24.9.96 At Netanyahu's order, in the middle of the night, the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs opens a tunnel near the AI-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City, "in order to facilitate the movement of visitors in the tunnel." The decision is made by Netanyahu contrary to the recommendations of the Israeli security forces and without coordination with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians and the Arab states respond angrily. Arafat calls the opening "a blow at the Muslim holy places" and calls for an international struggle against the decision.
A general strike is declared in East Jerusalem and there a~e stormy demonstrations. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is closed and the Western Wall area evacuated.

25.9.96 Five Palestinians (including two policemen) are killed and there are hundreds of wounded in the territories in protest demonstrations over the opening of the tunnel. Thirteen Israelis, mainly soldiers, are slightly wounded by gunfire.

26.9.96 Sixty-nine Palestinians and eleven Israeli soldiers are killed in fighting in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hundreds are wounded. A state of emergency is declared in the territories.
There is an impression on both sides that the situation is out of control.
Members of the joint patrols are firing at each other and Palestinians besiege IDF positions. In the middle of the day Arafat begins to broadcast on the Palestinian TV a call for a cease-fire, except in self-defense. In Israel there is a discussion of whether Arafat lost control over his armed forces, or whether the flare-up is a demonstration of strength in reaction to the tunnel opening.

27.9.96 Seven Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers are killed in fighting, but it then begins to die down. The Israeli government decides not to close the tunnel and attacks the Labor government "for having armed the Palestinians." The joint patrols are stopped and in the IDF there is talk of a "crisis of confidence" over security cooperation.
Clinton invites Netanyahu, Arafat, Mubarak and Hussein for a Washington summit so as to overcome the crisis.
In this period, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 52 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli security forces, 10 children under the age of 16 and 13 Palestinian policemen. Also two Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians. Within the Green Line, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians, six Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians and one member of the Israeli security forces was killed by Palestinians.

All figures from B'Tselem

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