Chronology: Arab-Israeli Affairs

The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2002 | Go to article overview
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Chronology: Arab-Israeli Affairs

April 16, 2001 - July 15, 2002


BBC, British Broadcasting Company (,

FT, Financial Times

NYT, The New York Times

WSJ, The Wall Street Journal

WP, The Washington Post

Arab-Israeli Affairs

See Also, Information Technology, Palestinian affairs, petroleum affairs, Regional Affairs, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Apr. 16: Heavy shooting broke out near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, as the Israeli siege there entered its third week. Witnesses saw bullets, flares, and what looked like smoke bombs fired near the building in the fiercest exchange of fire since the standoff began. [BBC, 4/16]

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he was ready to attend a peace conference in which Palestinian leader Yasir `Arafat could participate. [BBC, 4/16]

In the Jordanian newspaper al Arab al-- Yawm, Palestinian Cabinet Minister Nabil Sha`ath criticized sharply Arab governments for failing to do more to help the Palestinians. [BBC, 4/16]

Apr. 17: US Secretary of State Colin Powell met with `Arafat as he wrapped up his 10-- day peace mission without clinching a ceasefire or securing a full Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian areas. Speaking after talks in Ramallah with the besieged `Arafat, Powell said a "ceasefire" was "not a relevant term at the moment - it would become relevant when the incursion ends and the withdrawals are completed." ' `Arafat condemned Israel's crackdown in the West Bank and his own isolation; the Israelis control his access to electricity, food, and water. He also thanked Powell for his efforts. [BBC, 4/17]

About 150 Israeli-Arab medics gathered at the main Walajeh checkpoint and argued with the commanding Israel Defense Force officer to let them through to the Jenin refugee camp. The IDF, however, declared the whole of Jenin a closed military zone and did not allow anyone apart from soldiers and settlers to enter. [BBC, 4/17]

Apr. 18: Israel began withdrawing its forces from Jenin and Nablus. Commenting on the aftereffects of the Israeli invasion, UN special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said the devastation was "horrific beyond belief" and criticized Israel for not allowing in rescue teams. [BBC, 4/18]

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Mu `asher met `Arafat in the latter's headquarters. The Israelis had so far allowed only Powell, US envoy Anthony Zinni, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Mahir to visit `Arafat. [BBC, 4/18]

Apr. 19: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faysal said oil should not be used as a weapon or means of expressing support for the Palestinians. Speaking after talks with his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, during a visit to Moscow, he said oil was not a tank or a cannon, but an essential resource for economic development. [BBC, 4/19] The Israeli army said that despite its withdrawal, it would continue to surround Jenin and its refugee camp to prevent terrorist attacks. [BBC, 4/19]

A Palestinian suicide bomber exploded his car near the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, killing himself and injuring a soldier. Israeli troops staged an incursion near al-Qarara following the attack. This came after the soldiers killed three Palestinian men during an overnight incursion into the Rafah camp. [BBC, 4/19]

Apr. 21: Ariel Sharon said the first stage of Israel's offensive in the West Bank was over, but vowed that the campaign against militants would continue. His comments came hours after Israeli tanks and troops pulled out of Nablus and most of Ramallah. They then redeployed around other West Bank cities. [BBC, 4/21]

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem announced that Israel was illegally transferring hundreds of Palestinians arrested in the West Bank to a notorious prison camp in Ketziot, in the Negev desert. [BBC, 411


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