MIDDLE EAST HOURGLASS:

December 20, 1997: Four Israelis are injured when Arabs stone their car near Bethlehem.

21/12: Israeli police arrest two Jewish activists who allegedly planned to throw pig's head on Temple Mount during Ramadan.

23/12: Israeli police arrest two Arab bombmakers in Jerusalem.

23/12: Three IDF soldiers wounded in southern Lebanon blast.

23/12: Palestinians fire on Israeli car in Gaza Strip; no injuries reported.

24/12: Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan warns government will fall if pullback risks settlement security.

25/12: Israeli police reveal the arrest of German Hizb'Allah would-be suicide bomber.

28/12: Report: Latin Patriarch Michal Sabbah denies Christian Arabs mistreated by PA.

28/12: Report: Arafat to propose to Clinton that international force is stationed in "West Bank".

28/12: Police warn large terror attack in city centre planned.

28/12: Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon takes MKs on tour of Judea-Samaria to outline Israel's security requirements.

28/12: Netanyahu says Israel won't evacuate any settlements, which will stay under Israeli control.

29/12: Two ministers call for early elections after government defeat in two budget-related votes.

30/12: Muslim Ramadan holiday begins; Israeli police on alert for attacks.

30/12: PA lawmakers give Arafat three months to deal with corruption charges or will vote no confidence in him.

31/12: Knesset fails to pass budget by year's end.

31/12: Beit El settlement lays cornerstone for 200 new homes in memory of Tzur family members, killed by terrorists one year ago.

31/12: Terrorists open fire on civilian car in Samaria, seriously wounding young Israeli woman.

January 2, 1998: Violence in Hebron; Arabs throw two bombs into Jewish community's children's playground; no injuries caused. Settlers demand improved security.

2/1: Israeli Defence Minister Mordechai says Israel is willing to withdraw conditionally from Lebanon.

2/1: Imam tells packed congregation on Temple Mount Israel planning to destroy Al-Aksa mosque.

3/1: President Clinton invites Netanyahu to White House on January 20, Arafat on January 22.

4/1: Foreign Minister David Levy resigns in budget row with Netanyahu, pulling Gesher Party out of coalition: PM says government will survive; opponents say new elections imminent.

4/1: Twelve MKs tell Netanyahu they will topple government in event of further redeployment.

5/1: Knesset passes 1998 budget.

6/1: Israeli woman wounded by terrorists on December 31 dies.

6/1: US envoy Dennis Ross arrives in Middle East amid reports he will press Israel, PA for progress.

7/1: Major Oslo player Terje Larsen appointed Norway's advisor on "peace" process.

7/1: Israeli-Turkish-US naval exercises begin.

7/1: Defence Minister Mordechai says he'll resign if there is no further IDF pullback.

7/1: Opinion poll finds 80% of Jordanians still regard Israel as an enemy.

7/1: Government approves construction of 574 housing units in Efrat, defying US call for "time out" on settlement activity.

7/1: Internal government report says Arafat's security forces are operating in Jerusalem.

8/1: Iranian president Mohammed Khatami says he wants better ties with the US.

8/1: Roadside bomb wounds three IDF soldiers in Lebanon security zone.

9/1: Algerian press reports tens of civilians slaughtered by Muslims in Algeria.

9/1: Labour leader Ehud Barak predicts elections for prime minister in three months, says as PM he will form national unity government.

10/1: Hundreds of Arabs riot against IDF troops in Hebron; seven people are injured.

10/1: Lebanon says it will deploy its army in southern Lebanon if Israel leaves security zone.

11/1: Israeli security forces go on high alert for terror attacks.

12/1: Snowfall brings large parts of country to standstill.

12/1: New crisis sparked as Iraq bars UN weapons inspectors from site.

12/1: IDF warns settlers to increase security.

13/1: Cabinet spells out obligations the PA must fulfil before any further redeployment is agreed to.

13/1: Secretary of State Albright says at upcoming meetings Clinton will press Israel and PA to make critical decisions.

13/1: Iraq says it will not bow to US threats.

14/1: 30,000 Israeli protest in Tel Aviv against further redeployment from Judea-Samaria areas.

14/1: Cabinet defines areas in Judea-Samaria essential to Israel's security; US responds critically.

14/1: Shi'ite Amal militia claims responsibility after booby-trap bomb wounds six on Israel-Lebanon border.

14/1: PA announces it is negotiating with the Vatican over the status of holy sites throughout Judea, Samaria, Gaza and in eastern Jerusalem.

15/1: Central Bureau of Statistics reports annual inflation for 1997 at 7%, lowest since 1969.

15/1: Papal nuncio says Vatican has no intention of recognising Palestinian sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem.

15/1: PA warns no progress in Oslo process will mean renewed violence.

16/1: Popes says he hopes to visit Jerusalem soon.

17/1: Albright says no deal expected during upcoming Netanyahu and Arafat visits to Washington DC.

19/1: PA announces it captured two Hamas bomb makers on January 14.

19/1: First two of 25 super-advanced long-range F-15I jet fighters arrive in Israel.

19/1: In quick trial, PA court sentences two alleged suicide-bomb makers to 15 years' imprisonment.

19/1: PA officials express pessimism about any breakthrough in Washington talks.

20/1: Netanyahu and Clinton hold two meetings; no breakthrough reported; Clinton says he proposed "West Bank plan".

20/1: US rocked as Lewinsky scandal breaks.

20/1: National Religious Party leader and Education Minister Zevulun Hammer dies.

20/1: Under government pressure, Washington Holocaust Museum reverses earlier decision not to give Arafat official welcome.

22/1: Arafat meets Clinton; hands US leader letter specifying PLO Covenant clauses he says have been revoked; alleges Clinton accepted this.

22/1: Israel fails in attempt to launch Ofek 4 spy satellite; Ofek 3's life close to expiry; Israel's ability to watch Iran and Iraq damaged.

23/1: Arafat rejects Netanyahu's proposals; accuses PM of offering "peanuts".

23/1: IAF warplanes destroy Hizb'Allah rocket launcher; clashes kill three Hizb'Allah gunmen and wound four IDF soldiers.

24/1: New York Times reports US strike on Iraq imminent; Clinton aides in quandary lest attack be seen as effort to side-line Lewinsky scandal.

24/1: Jordan's Hussein and Egypt's Mubarak meet to discuss Oslo process.

25/1: Lewinsky affair dominates Israeli media.

25/1: Report: Conventional Syrian attack on Israel was central to Netanyahu-Clinton talks.

25/1: Netanyahu warns of sharp response if intifada is renewed.

25/1: IDF roadblocks set up at entrance to Jerusalem and other cities for fear of attacks.

26/1: Israeli police arrest two Israeli-Arab Hamas members en route from Gaza to carry out Jerusalem attack.

26/1: Netanyahu says Israel is making plans to counter future Iranian nuclear threat.

26/1: Finance Minister Yaakov Ne'eman is en route to US to discuss plans to cut civilian aid to Israel: proposal is to reduce aid from October 1999 until elimination within 10 years.


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