MIDDLE EAST HOURGLASS

15 May 1999: Balad leader Azmi Bishara withdraws candidacy for prime minister, boosting Ehud Barak's odds of winning.

15/5: Israeli soldiers stationed in the Lebanese security zone begin voting.

15/5: Hizb'Allah gunmen overrun the South Lebanese army outpost of Beit Yahoun; one soldier killed, five wounded, one kidnapped.

16/5: Center party leader Yitzhak Mordechai and National Union head Benny Begin drop out of prime minister's race; Only Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu and One Israel's Ehud Barak remain.

16/5: Tel Aviv District Court delays trial of accused killer Samuel Sheinbein until mid-June.

17/5: Barak wins prime minister's race over Netanyahu by a 56% to 44% margin; Shas and Shinui win big in Knesset.

17/5: Netanyahu resigns Likud leadership after party drops to 19 seats.

18/5: Building resumes at Ras al-Amud, a controversial Jewish housing project in east Jerusalem.

18/5: Hizb'Allah unleashes three waves of Katyusha rockets into northern Galilee.

19/5: Convicted Shas leader Aryeh Deri steps down from Knesset seat.

19/5: Begin quits politics after disappointing election results for party.

20/5: Israel celebrates Shavuot.

20/5: Palestinian Observer to the UN, Nasser Kidwa, calls for halt to Jewish construction at Har Homa and Ras al-Amud in Jerusalem.

21/5: Ultra-Orthodox activists attack Conservative Jews at Western Wall prayer service.

22/5: Many fires blaze across northern and central Israel during heat wave.

22/5: Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak calls Barak's comments on an undivided Jerusalem "harmful".

22/5: Palestinian Authority police arrest Ghazi Hamed, a Gaza newspaper editor, on charges of reporting PA torture and corruption.

23/5: Barak announces he wants to be "everyone's prime minister"; alludes to national unity government.

23/5: US Vice President Al Gore rejects Palestinian attempts to resurrect Resolution 181 in speech to AIPAC (American Jewish pro-Israel lobby).

24/5: AIPAC drops opposition to a Palestinian state.

24/5: One Israel opens coalition talks by meeting with Meretz.

24/5: Record heat wave continues, fires burn in north and central Israel.

25/5: Shas defiant after One Israel demands party sever ties with Deri.

25/5: Deputy Health Minister Shlomo Benizri warns Shas followers may resort to violence if assaults on party continue.

26/5: Jordanian King Abdullah meets with PA chairman Yasser Arafat in Gaza to discuss ways to push peace process forward.

26/5: Two Hizb'Allah gunmen, one SLA soldier killed in security zone.

26/5: Netanyahu greets Kosovar refugees at Ben-Gurion airport.

27/5: Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic charged as war criminal by UN tribunal.

27/5: Netanyahu officially resigns from Likud, Ariel Sharon takes over interim leadership.

27/5: Palestinians, Israeli police clash at Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud construction site.

28/5: Outgoing Likud government announces expansion of Ma'aleh Adumim to borders of Jerusalem.

28/5: Polish troops remove 300 small crosses at Auschwitz; 24-foot papal cross remains.

29/5: Israeli Dakar submarine, missing for 31 years, discovered 3 km underwater near Crete.

29/5: Hizb'Allah wounds three SLA soldiers in security zone, vows to use Jezzine as base for operations.

30/5: Netanyahu admits his government held unofficial talks with Syria in past year.

30/5: President Ezer Weizman, Netanyahu want Dakar to be raised.

30/5: PA calls for "Day of Rage" to protest against settlements.

31/5: Barak team announces "door is open" for coalition negotiations with Shas.

31/5: Israeli motorists shot at by Palestinians near Kiryat Arba.

1 June 1999: SLA withdraws from Jezzine enclave, north of security zone.

1/6: Hizb'Allah launches attacks in security zone, northern Galilee; 2 SLA members killed, one injured.

1/6: Ten US Senators send US President Bill Clinton a letter urging him to move US Embassy to Jerusalem.

2/6: Sharon tells Barak that Likud must have major role in peace process if it joins coalition.

2/6: Shinui agrees to sit in coalition with ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism.

3/6: Milosevic accepts NATO peace demands in Kosovo conflict.

3/6: "Day of Rage" protests leave one dead, dozen hurt.

3/6: SLA completes Jezzine withdrawal.

4/6: Barak releases broad coalition guidelines.

4/6: Israeli police, military on alert for continued Palestinian unrest; protests in Hebron.

5/6: PA cabinet threatens to violently oppose settlements.

6/6: Barak hints narrow coalition more likely than national unity government.

6/6: Fifteenth Knesset convenes; MKs take oaths.

6/6: General Security Service head Ami Ayalon says Palestinian terrorists hold PA security positions.

7/6: Iran announces arrest of 13 Jews on charges of spying for Israel, US.

8/6: Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert announces candidacy for Likud party leadership.

8/6: Israeli security sources predict Hizb'Allah will intensify attacks in security zone.

9/6: All three religious parties announce they will not join coalition if yeshiva students drafted.

9/6: President Weizman charged with intervening in politics after meeting with Meretz's Yossi Sarid to discuss coalition.

10/6: Heavy fighting between Hizb'Allah and SLA, Israel in security zone.

10/6: Israeli Muslims attack Nazareth Mayor Ramzi Jeraishe.

11/6: Russian KFOR troops unexpectedly enter Kosovo ahead of NATO.

12/6: Arafat demands end of "occupation of Palestinian land," comparing situation to Kosovo.

12/6: Dalai Lama arrives in Israel, says path of non-violence can end Mid-East conflict.

13/6: Abu Daoud, Palestinian mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, denied entry into Israel; Germany issues warrant for his arrest.

14/6: Likud central committee unanimously chooses Sharon over Olmert as interim leader.

14/6: Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau asks the Dalai Lama to intervene on behalf of 13 Jews held as spies in Iran.

15/6: Convicted felon Aryeh Deri resigns as Shas chairman, paves way for party to enter coalition.

15/6: Barak pledges to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak he will activate peace talks once coalition formed.

16/6: Israel announces grant to British Gas of rights to explore for oil and gas along its Mediterranean coast.

16/6: Senior One Israel sources say Barak may seek expansion of cabinet from 18 to 24 seats to accommodate more coalition partners.

16/6: PA bans Palestinians from working in Gaza settlements.

17/6: Shas, One Israel negotiate; Shas wants Interior Ministry.

18/6: Clinton invokes "national security" waiver to avoid moving US Embassy to Jerusalem.

18/6: PA demands Palestinian workers cease working in all Jewish settlements.

18/6: Arsonists torch three Sacramento synagogues in a coordinated attack.


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