MIDDLE EAST HOURGLASS:

May 14, 1997: Labour Party convention adopts platform recognising Palestinians' right to a state with limited sovereignty.

15/5: Three Israeli soldiers killed by Hizb'Allah in Lebanon. IDF artillery bombards area.

15/5: US special envoy Dennis Ross leaves region after failing to restart Israel-PLO talks.

16/5: Yasser Arafat sends letter to Bill Clinton criticising Ross and asking the president personally to intervene to break Oslo deadlock.

16/5: Second Arab land dealer found murdered in Ram'Allah.

17/5: US Secretary of State Madeline Albright: I won't visit Middle East until Israel and PLO are "ready to make decisions".

18/5: US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk says Oslo process has broken down.

19/5: Terrorist dies in failed attempt to ram and blow up Israeli naval vessel off Lebanon.

19/5: Addressing Knesset opening, PM Netanyahu blames PLO for deadlock in Oslo process.

20/5: IDF chief warns Knesset committee Arab anger is mounting as stalemate continues.

20/5: Israel denies truth of US report claiming thousands of Jewish homes in Judea-Samaria and Gaza are unoccupied; and therefore further building is unnecessary.

20/5: Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai says Iran has been shipping large quantities of arms via Syria to Hizb'Allah.

20/5: PA jails Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab for televising proceedings of PA legislative council.

21/5: Israel names prime minister's political advisor, Dore Gold, as new ambassador to UN.

22/5: Albright urges US Congress not to cut aid to the PA.

22/5: Netanyahu-Hosni Mubarak summit date set for May 27 at Sharm e-Sheikh, Sinai.

24/5: Israeli government denies reports that Israel will agree at Sharm e-Sheikh summit temporarily to halt construction at Har Homa.

24/5: "Moderate" Iranian cleric Mohammed Khatami elected president.

25/5: Right-wing lawmakers warn Netanyahu not to compromise on Har Homa during summit.

26/5: Palestinian human rights group accuses PA of human rights violations, including torture.

26/5: Poll finds 91% of Palestinian Arabs regard US role as broker biased in favour of Israel.

27/5: Sinai summit fails to secure breakthrough in Oslo process. Mubarak will convey new proposals put forward by Israel to Arafat.

27/5: US Congressmen Jesse Helms and Benjamin Gilman pledge to withhold aid to PA to protest its support of the death penalty for Arabs who sell land to Jews.

27/5: Journalist Daoud Kuttab freed by PA police.

29/5: Israeli press carries maps it claims represent Netanyahu's proposals for final Israel-PLO agreement. Netanyahu denies map's authenticity.

29/5: IDF soldier killed in Hizb'Allah mortar attack in southern Lebanon.

30/5: Third Arab land-dealer suspected of selling land to Jews murdered; Israeli police foil effort by six Palestinians to abduct another land-dealer.

June 1, 1997: Egyptian emissary Osama el-Baz meets PM Netanyahu with proposals for package that will facilitate a Netanyahu-Arafat summit.

2/6: Arabs clash with IDF troops outside Gush Katif settlement of Morag as Jews renew fencing on Israeli-controlled land.

3/6: Ehud Barak becomes new Labour party leader.

4/6: Netanyahu presents 'Allon-Plus" proposal (see page 2); Arafat rejects plan.

5/6: World donors decide against suspending aid to PA pending outcome of investigation into massive financial irregularities.

6/6: EU "peace envoy" Miguel Moratinos announces that the US and EU will give Egypt two weeks to break impasse in Oslo process.

8/6: PLO-Israel talks resume in Cairo; no progress.

9/6: Netanyahu says building in Jerusalem and on Har Homa will continue.

10/6: US Congress passes non-binding resolution to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital.

11/6: PLO condemns Congressional resolution.

12/6: Egyptian mediator el-Baz fails to restart Oslo talks.

12/6: Arabs riot violently outside Gush Katif communities in Gaza - one dies, two are injured.

14/6: Violent clashes between IDF troops and Arabs break out in Hebron.

15/6: Tank mine kills IDF soldier in Lebanon.

15/6: Israeli High Court rejects petitions targeting Netanyahu in the "Bar-On affair".

15/6: Hebron rioting continues.

17/6: Finance Minister Dan Meridor resigns after disagreement with PM Netanyahu.

17/6: Hebron riots enter fourth day.

18/6: Egyptian mediation effort looks to restart after Israeli and Egyptian officials meet in Cairo.

18/6: Turkey's Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbekan resigns.

19/6: Israel reportedly asks France to help broker an agreement for an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

19/6: Israeli cabinet crisis sparked by Meridor's resignation continues.

20/6: Report: Iran and Hizb'Allah plan to attack Israeli, Turkish and US targets.

20/6: Disaster averted after thief steals bag containing bomb from Tel Aviv beach, calls police.


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