MIDDLE EAST HOURGLASS:

November 25, 1998: Two Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon.

26/11: PM Netanyahu cuts short London visit to return home to convene cabinet for review of Lebanon withdrawal.

26/11: Two more Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon.

26/11: Some Israeli MKs call for strikes on Syrian targets in Lebanon; others call for unilateral IDF pullout from Lebanon.

26/11: IDF troops clash with Palestinians rioting over Israel's refusal to release Arab killers of Jews as part of Wye deal.

28/11: Dozens hurt when police and Arabs clash in Jerusalem over prisoner release controversy.

28/11: Police intervene after hundreds of ultra-orthodox Jews surround Beer Sheva Messianic centre during Shabbat services, hurling stones and abuse at worshippers.

29/11: Texas governor George Bush in Israel on three-day "learning" visit.

29/11: US urges restraint in Lebanon amid calls in Israel for strikes against Lebanese civilian infrastructure.

29/11: Leaders of northern Israeli towns stress their opposition to unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

29/11: PA security forces stop transport of construction materials to Gaza settlements; IDF closes PA VIP crossing in response.

29/11: Arrow II anti-missile missile system enters production stage.

29/11: London Sunday Times reports PA misspent $20 million in EU aid on luxury housing for Arafat's officials.

30/11: President Clinton promises PA further $400 million in aid at donors' conference, which raises $1.3 billion.

30/11: Arafat tells donors' conference "Holy Jerusalem" remains top priority for PA. US officials play down his remarks.

30/11: Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai says settlement security to be beefed up.

December 1, 1998: Lack of rain leads water board to cut by half pumping from Kinneret.

2/12: Masked man stabs Arab to death in Jerusalem's Abu Tor neighbourhood. Police suspect Jewish nationalist serial attacker.

2/12: Police and Arabs clash at Arab victim's funeral in eastern Jerusalem.

2/12: Palestinian journalists film Arab attack on Jews in car near Ram'Allah; mob beats soldier, sets car alight.

2/12: Netanyahu reacts to mob attack: vows no further withdrawals unless PA halts violence, stops demanding release of Arab terrorists, and renounces intention to declare state next May.

4/12: Arab protests over prisoner releases spread throughout territories; US says Israel has kept to Wye in its release of prisoners, and that PA is courting disaster with its proclaimed intention to declare its state.

5/12: Netanyahu awaits David Levy's response to offer of finance ministry portfolio under stipulated conditions.

6/12: Israeli government officials offended by Clinton's plan to divide time equally between Israel and Gaza.

6/12: David Levy refuses to join government, boosting early election calls.

6/12: Thousands of Palestinian prisoners go on hunger strike to demand release.

7/12: FM Sharon tells Madeleine Albright the next stage of redeployment, scheduled for December 18, will not take place.

7/12: Widespread Arab rioting in Judea-Samaria leaves scores of Palestinians and a number of Israelis injured.

8/12: US mediator Dennis Ross assures Israel that Clinton administration will only accept "unmistakable and unambiguous" nullification of PLO Charter clauses.

9/12: Netanyahu tells US the PA needs to change its conduct if Oslo is to progress.

9/12: One Arab is killed and 100 are wounded in riots throughout Judea-Samaria and Jerusalem. DM Mordechai calls on Arafat to take immediate action to stop rioting.

9/12: Historic High Court ruling gives government one year to show why ultra-orthodox Jews should continue to be deferred from conscription.

10/12: Netanyahu tells reporters Israel will not be swayed by US pressure to accept expected PNC vote on PLO Charter.

10/12: Iranian Embassy in Moscow denies Tehran is actively recruiting Russian germ-warfare scientists.

10/12: Pentagon announces small Patriot-missile battery is being sent to Israel for "exercise" during Clinton's visit.

11/12: Two Palestinians die in more rioting.

11/12: House Judiciary Committee considers whether to vote for Clinton's impeachment.

12/12: Hamas threatens to attack Israel if group leader Sheikh Yassin is not released from PA house arrest by December 25.

12/12: PA tells Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry Sharansky he is unwelcome at opening of Karni Industrial Park, towards which Israel paid $60 million.

12/12: PA says it has told Fatah to quell rioting during President Clinton's visit.

12/12: Clinton arrives, Netanyahu tells him PA is systematically violating the commitments made at Wye River.

13/13: Arab girl stabs Jewish high-school girl in back near Sebastiya.

13/12: Netanyahu says Israel will not proceed with further redeployment even if PNC nullifies Charter clauses.

13/12: Netanyahu pleads for Jonathan Pollard's release on humanitarian grounds; Clinton says review is underway, pledges to work for Egypt's release of Azzam Azzam.

14/12: Three US campaign specialists who helped bring Clinton to power arrive in Israel to assist Labour Party's Barak in readiness for next elections.

14/12: Arafat asks four Arab girls to plead with Clinton for the release of their fathers from Israeli jails.

14/12: Palestinian gathering in Gaza Strip "affirms" amendments Arafat says have been made to the Charter.

14/12: Clinton blesses vote, commends Palestinian efforts to determine their own destiny on their "own land"; equates suffering of Palestinian children of captured terrorists with that of Israeli children of terror victims; Israel outraged.

14/12: Netanyahu acknowledges vote; says more needs to be done before further redeployment can take place.

15/12: Clinton, Arafat, Netanyahu meet at Erez checkpoint; no breakthrough achieved.

15/12: After visiting Bethlehem and Masada, Clinton departs Israel.

15/12: Chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler submits report to Security Council accusing Iraq of obstructing inspections.

16/12: UNSCOM pulls arms inspectors out of Iraq.

16/12: Report: Finance Minister Ne'eman has resigned; DM Mordechai considering following suit.

16/12: US, Britain launch missile strikes against Iraq.

17/12: Netanyahu says Israel knows how to protect itself against an Iraqi attack.

17/12: Operation Desert Fox continues

17/12: Settler movement starts effort to save Netanyahu from no-confidence vote.

17/12: Patriot batteries deployed near Tel Aviv and Haifa; 67 gas mask distribution sites are open to public.

17/12: Palestinians protesting attacks on Iraq burn US flags; clash with IDF.

17/12: Barak accuses Netanyahu of bringing Israel-US relations to new low.

19/12: US House of Representatives impeaches Clinton, who vows he will not resign.

19/12: US, Britain end Operation Desert Fox.

21/12: France, Germany call for restructuring of UNSCOM in Iraq.

21/12: Knesset passes first reading of early elections bill, setting the stage for an election, possibly in April 1999.


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