A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations

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Facts for Your Files

Dec. 1, 2002: Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Review Board, stunned British MPs by insisting that a "clean bill of health" from U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix would not halt America's invasion of Iraq.

* Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting that U.N. Ambassador Yahuda Lancry's statement to the General Assembly two days earlier that Israel accepts the vision of "two states living side by side in peace and security" as a basis for a peace deal with the Palestinians, was not made with their agreement.

* In Gaza, at least 50 Israeli tanks, military vehicles, and helicopter gunships raided the northern part of Beit Lahiya under a barrage of artillery fire that knocked down two transformers, killed two and wounded 11 people.

* Israel's daily Ma'ariv quoted former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni as having said in a Nov. 29 lecture in Haifa that Interior Minister Eli Yeshai is effectively applying the Nuremberg Laws to Israel's non-Jewish citizens.

* U.S. and British warplanes bombed southern Iraq in an attack Iraqi officials said killed four people and wounded 27.

Dec. 2: Indiscriminately firing upon school children throwing stones, Israeli forces in Jenin killed Mu'taz Awdeh,18, and injured another 21 people, including 17 children, a 48-year-old woman, and an elderly man.

* Marking the first time the White House has imposed formal official sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, President George W. Bush cited the PA for not fulfilling its obligations to fight terror, but froze implementation of the sanctions for the time being.

* The U.N. World Food Program charged that, during their weekend incursion into Gaza, Israeli troops blew up a warehouse in Beit Lahiya containing 537 tons of food meant for more than 40,000 needy Palestinians.

* Adel al-Jubeir, senior foreign policy adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, told reporters that, of a total of some 300 nongovernmental Saudi charities, only a small percentage send money outside the country, totaling about $300 million out of $3 billion to $4 billion a year in charitable contributions, and that, since Sept. 11, 33 accounts containing $5.6 million have been frozen.

* The Haifa Municipality, of which Labor prime minister candidate Amram Mitzna is mayor, announced plans to demolish 54 houses in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood in order to pave a highway between Mt. Carmel and downtown Haifa, leaving 93 Arab families (632 people) homeless.

* The authenticity of an al-Qaeda statement claiming responsibility for the attacks in Mombassa, Kenya on an Israeli-run hotel and charter jet could not be confirmed.

* Israel announced plans to demolish 15 Palestinian houses on Hebron's Al-Haram Street to create a secure passage for Jewish worshippers going to pray at a biblical shrine in the divided West Bank city.

* President Bush appointed as National Security Council Mideast adviser Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative Israelist convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran/Contra hearings but pardoned by the president's father. CI Lawyers for 16 men detained by the U.S. in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, asked a federal appeals court to grant the prisoners access to the U.S. judicial system.

Dec. 3: The Jewish People Policy and Planning Institute, headed by former U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross, released a study showing the world Jewish population at 12.8 million, with 5 million in Israel and 7.8 million elsewhere. The study found that the Jewish population overseas has shrunk by 2.2 million.By the year 2020, the study predicted 6.3 million Jews and almost 2 million Arabs in Israel, with another 5.6 million Arabs in the Palestinian territories.

* Amnesty International suggested that President Bush's secret post-Sept. 11 order directing the CIA to kill Americans working for al-Qaeda anywhere in the world, if no other option is available, constitutes extra-judicial killing and is against international law. …