EVENTS OF JANUARY 1997

2 January 1997:  

Washington makes intense efforts to close a deal on Israel's partial withdrawal from Hebron to stop escalating violence after an Israeli soldier opens fire on Arabs in the West Bank city.

15January 1997:

Israel and the Palestinians reach a deal on Israel's long-delayed pullout from most of Hebron and parts of the West Bank.

20 January 1997:

Yasser Arafat tells jubilant crowds in Hebron that Israeli withdrawal from the city will be a springboard to an independent Palestinian state.

25 January 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu calls for a police investigation of the appointment of former Attorney-General Roni Bar-On.

27 January 1997:

Israeli political parties unveil an unprecedented joint agreement on the shape of a permanent peace accord with the Palestinians.

30 January 1997:

Mousa Abu Marzouk, a leader of the Islamic militant Hamas movement gives up fight against extradition from America to Israel.

 

EVENTS OF FEBRUARY 1997

19 February 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu questioned by senior police officers about high-level corruption in the appointment of Roni Bar-On. The Iranian-backed Hizbollah guerrilla group launches an Internet site and e-mail service to inform the world of its anti-Israeli activities in Lebanon.

26 February 1997:

Israel faces fresh confrontation with the Palestinians as it forges ahead with plans to build on the Har Homa site in East Jerusalem - an area captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War.

 

EVENTS OF MARCH 1997

5 March 1997:

Britain and other European members on the United Nations Security Council call on Israel to halt plans to build in East Jerusalem.

10 March 1997:

Palestinian negotiators storm out of a meeting with David Levy, the Israeli Foreign Minister, after rejecting an Israeli plan for a limited withdrawal from the West Bank.

13 March 1997:

Israel's relations with the United States comes under public strain when Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu protests at US plans to attend an international gathering called by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

14 March 1997:

A Jordanian soldier kills seven Israeli schoolgirls after firing at a bus party visiting a site on the Jordan river known as the Island of Peace.

19 March 1997:

Arafat calls for calm as Israeli bulldozers, protected by troops, start the homes project in annexed East Jerusalem.

20 March 1997:

Army alert as court refuses to halt building of Israeli homes.

21 March 1997:

Middle East crisis deepens as Palestinian leaders turn down an Israeli offer of fast-track talks.

22 March 1997:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses Yasser Arafat of giving the green light to extremists after a suicide bomber kills three Israelis in a Tel Aviv cafe.

23 March 1997:

Hamas primes 'martyrs' for suicide blitz. 

24 March 1997:

Israel tells Palestinians to wage war against Islamic extremists as a precondition for peace negotiations.

27 March 1997:

American mediator Dennis Ross returns to the Middle East in an attempt to salvage peace talks as riots spread in the West Bank.

31 March 1997:

Palestinian police contain outbreaks of violence as unrest spreads across the West Bank.

 

EVENTS OF APRIL 1997

1 April 1997:  

The Middle East crisis deepens again as Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the Arab League of "blackmail" for calling on its membership to isolate Israel.

2 April 1997:

Four Palestinians killed in a spate of incidents, including what Israel said was a failed double suicide bombing against Jews.

3 April 1997:

President Clinton pledges to do everything in his power to rescue the Middle East peace process.

7 April 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu, leaves for a crisis meeting with President Clinton to discuss his plans for intense new "Camp David" negotiations with the Palestinians.

8 April 1997:

President Clinton tries to keep the faltering Middle East peace process from collapsing in hastily-arranged White House talks with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

9 April 1997:

Three Palestinians die and nearly 100 are injured as violence erupts in the West bank town of Hebron. The clashes start after a Palestinian is shot dead - reportedly by a Jewish student.

10 April 1997:

Rioting breaks out again in Hebron as the Israeli army braced itself for fresh attacks, this time on Jewish settlers.

11 April 1997:

Palestinian leaders urge USA to involve Europe in an effort to put the Middle East peace initiative back on track.

14 April 1997:

A young Palestinian woman shoots and injures three people highlighting mounting tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

15 April 1997:

European diplomats try to arrange a high-level meeting between Israelis and Palestinians in an attempt to end the current crisis in the peace talks.

16 April 1997:

The future of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is thrown into doubt when police recommend pressing criminal charges against two of his most trusted lieutenants.

17 April 1997:

The European Union breaks an impasse by arranging a meeting between the Israeli Foreign Minister and Yasser Arafat.

21 April 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to keep his coalition government together after a report criticizes the government's "dismal" role in the failed appointment of Roni Bar-On. Despite a remaining "cloud of suspicion" over the affair the attorney-general decides not to charge Mr Netanyahu with fraud and a breach of trust due to lack of evidence.

22 April 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu continues to hold his coalition together despite appeals to the Supreme Court to overturn a decision not to prosecute him for allegations of fraud and breach of trust.

25 April 1997:

The Israeli prime minister faced international condemnation and a possible call for sanctions over his building policies in disputed East Jerusalem.

 

EVENTS OF MAY 1997

10 May 1997:  

Israel dismisses United Nations charges that it tortures terrorist suspects.

16 May 1997:

A row breaks out over the burial of murdered Palestinian Farid Bashiti, who was accused of selling land to Jews.

22May 1997:

Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, defends a decision to impose the death sentence on Arabs who sell land to Jews.

30 May 1997:

An Israeli newspaper makes the claim that Benjamin Netanyahu plans to offer the Palestinians less than 40 per cent of the West Bank.

 

EVENTS OF JUNE 1997

3 June 1997:

 Ehud Barak, is the favorite candidate as the opposition Labour party votes to choose its new leader.

5 June 1997:  

Within hours of being elected leader of Israel's opposition Labour Party, Ehud Barak went to the grave of Yitzhak Rabin to claim the mantle of the assassinated prime minister.

9 June 1997:  

Israeli and Palestinian delegations overcome a last-minute dispute to hold their first public meeting since peace talks were suspended in March.

12 June 1997:  

The United States Congress threatens to stop aid to Palestinians in protest at the killing of Arab land dealers who sell properties to Jews.

19 June 1997:  

Benjamin Netanyahu is shaken by the resignation of his Finance Minister, Dan Meridor, the second cabinet member to leave in six months.

20 June 1997:

 Benjamin Netanyahu, struggles to hold his year-old government together as members of his coalition call for fresh elections after the resignation of Dan Meridor, the respected Finance Minister.

6 June 1997: 

As Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to hold together his government, the hard-line former general Ariel Sharon demands a central role in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

 

EVENTS OF JULY 1997

2 July 1997:  

Two Israeli soldiers are injured by a pipe bomb and 28 Palestinians wounded by rubber bullets during clashes in Hebron provoked by anti-Islamic posters.

4 July 1997:  

The war of words between Israel and the Palestinians intensified after the Palestinian Authority asked Arab countries to step up propaganda against the Jewish state.

22 July 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu faces another challenge as parliament prepares to debate a proposal to make it easier to vote him out of office.

3 July 1997: 

The first meeting since April between Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian president, and David Levy, the Israeli Foreign Minister, takes place in Brussels, raising new hopes for Middle East peace.

26 July 1997:  

The future of Middle East peace talks hangs in the balance after the Jerusalem municipality approved plans to build Jewish homes in the heart of an Arab neighbourhood in annexed East Jerusalem.

30 July 1997:  

Syrian President Hafez al-Assad says there is little hope of peace between Israel and Syria during a visit to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian President.

 

EVENTS OF AUGUST 1997

4 August 1997:  

Israel's security chiefs warn of further suicide bombings after the explosions in a Jerusalem market last Wednesday which killed 15 people, and injured 157.

5 August 1997:  

Israeli troops kill five guerrilla leaders of the fundamentalist Hizbollah organisation in a night raid into southern Lebanon.

6 August 1997:  

Islamic fundamentalists of the Hamas movement warn the Israelis to brace themselves for more suicide bomb attacks.

7 August 1997:  

Yasser Arafat, warns his followers of a "big struggle ahead" as tensions with Israel rise following the recent suicide bombings in Jerusalem.

11 August 1997:  

An American initiative to restart the stalled Middle East peace process gets under way.

12 August 1997:  

America's latest Middle East peace initiative is given a boost as co-operation between Palestinian and Israeli intelligence chiefs appear to resume for the first time since the Jerusalem suicide bombing.

13 August 1997:  

Israel eases the blockade of the occupied territories in response to a call by President Clinton's peace envoy, Dennis Ross, for a reduction in "sanctions" against Palestinians.

14 August 1997:  

As the American envoy, Dennis Ross, ends his four-day mediation mission, the parties are as far apart as ever, on the core disputes threatening the future of the peace process.

18 August 1997:  

Benjamin Netanyahu thanks Yasser Arafat for helping to locate the Palestinian killers of an Israeli taxi driver.

19 August 1997:  

Israel eases its sanctions against the Palestinians announcing that it would hand over 30 per cent of frozen tax refunds to the self-rule government.

20 August 1997:  

Dozens of rockets fired from Lebanon land on northern Israel, breaking an American-brokered ceasefire with the Iranian-backed guerrillas.

 

EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 1997

5 September 1997:

A triple bombing kills at least seven people, including three suspected suicide bombers, in a market in Jerusalem.

13 September 1997:  

Madeleine Albright, the American Secretary of State, announces that senior Israeli and Palestinian officials will resume talks in Washington.

16 September 1997:  

Jewish militants celebrate their takeover of two houses in an Arab neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

19 September 1997:  

The Israeli government and Jewish militants sign a compromise to reduce the presence of Jewish militants in houses taken over in the Arab neighborhood.

26 September 1997:

Israel shrugs off controversy over its expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, provoked by plans to build 300 new homes in the settlement of Efrat.

30 September 1997:  

Israel and the Palestinians agree to resume negotiations towards a Middle East settlement after a six-month break.

 

EVENTS OF OCTOBER 1997

1 October 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu dents hopes of quick progress in the peace talks with a pledge to continue the building of Jewish settlements on disputed land.

2 October 1997:

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Palestinian suicide bombers, is released by Israel after eight years in prison. The move is seen as a peace offering after Israel's failed attempt to kill an Islamic leader.

8 October 1997:

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin announces his conditions for a truce with Israel, sparking a renewed atmosphere of moderation.

9 October 1997:

As fighting continues in southern Lebanon, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat meet for the first time in eight months.

16 October 1997:

President Clinton voices concern that Benjamin Netanyahu's proposed peace agreement could destroy Yasser Arafat.

28 October 1997:

Benjamin Netanyahu, making his opening address to the Israeli parliament, maintains his opposition to a sovereign Palestinian state and vows to continue Jewish activity in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

EVENTS OF NOVEMBER 1997

1 November 1997:

An Israeli tabloid reveals that secret talks between Israel and Syria have been progressing for 18 months.

4 November 1997:

Israel and the Palestinians begin their first formal talks in seven months after a year of argument and bloodshed.

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