MIDDLE EAST HOURGLASS:

April 24, 1997: Israel slams UN emergency session on Har Homa as "relic of the cold war era"; attacks PLO for "incitement to violence".

24/4: Report: Israeli units helped train Peruvian commandos who stormed Japanese Embassy, successfully freeing hostages held for four months.

25/4: Terrorists kill two women near Jericho.

25/4: UN condemns Israel over Har Homa.

26/4: Hamas spokesman Mahmud Zahar says Hamas has asked Yasser Arafat to resume intifada.

27/4: Egypt's Hosni Mubarak visits Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, launching drive to mobilise Arab world and overcome Oslo deadlock.

27/4: Arab dies in riot near Hebron.

27/4: Poll shows 51 per cent of Israelis support establishment of Palestinian state.

27/4: Labour party leadership hopeful and Oslo architect Yossi Beilin meets Arafat in bid to save stalled process.

27/4: US Congressman Jim Saxton urges President Bill Clinton to stop funding the PA until it fights terror and violence.

28/4: EU ambassadors prepare to return to Tehran, three weeks after leaving over charges that Iran's rulers ordered assassinations abroad.

28/4: American first lady Hillary Clinton says she has become an "eager student of Islam".

29/4: Report: Syria is preparing to arm Scud missiles with VX nerve gas; Israel warns Syria it has weapons many times more deadly than VX.

30/4: PM Binyamin Netanyahu says Oslo process is not dead.

30/4: Turkey's Defense Minister Turhan Tayan visits Israel, discusses military ties.

30/4: PA-controlled Muslim wakf rejects order by Jerusalem municipality to stop building toilets adjacent to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

30/4: Knesset votes against a further public investigation into the "Bar-On" corruption claims.

30/4: US State Department labels Iran chief terrorism sponsor in 1996. Five of seven countries on annual list of terror-sponsors are enemies of Israel: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria.

May 1, 1997: British vote Labour into government: Tony Blair is new prime minister.

1/5: US embassy in Tel Aviv won't confirm reports that ambassador Martin Indyk is leaving.

1/5: EU suspends return of envoys to Iran after Tehran refuses to allow German ambassador back.

2/5: Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai says threat of chemical and biological warfare are more realistic than ever.

4/5: Media report meeting being arranged between Arafat and Israeli president Ezer Weizman.

4/5: Report: Israel has turned down three Syrian proposals for restarting talks; each had preconditions unacceptable to Jerusalem.

4/5: Israel's government announces it will ease law which removes residence permits from Arab Jerusalemites who no longer reside in the city.

5/5: Holocaust Memorial Day: Special focus on the 1,5 million child victims.

5/5: PLO announces it a capital offence for any Arab to sell land to Israelis; in contravention of Oslo PLO "police" arrest east Jerusalem Arab for attempting to sell land in Hebron to an Israeli.

6/5: Israeli President Ezer Weizman meets Arafat at Israel-Gaza "border". Arafat promises security talks will resume, and that he will fight terrorism from wherever it comes--including Israel's confiscation of land and demolition of housing.

6/5: Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan refuses to attend scheduled meeting with Netanyah after disagreement over water sharing.

6/5: Israel's civil administration demolishes three illegally-built Jewish homes near the settlement of Yitzhar, south of Shechem.

7/5: Evicted Yitzhar families rebuild three demolished homes as IDF looks on.

7/5: Washington Post reports the FBI is investigating whether senior US official has been passing sensitive information to Israel, which denies any espionage is taking place.

7/5: US mediator Dennis Ross returns to region in another bid to get Oslo back on track.

8/5: Reports: "No progress in Ross talks".

8/5: PLO said to be hunting Armenian churchman after he sells property in eastern Jerusalem to Israelis for a seminary.

8/5: "Mini-crisis" between Israel and Jordan reportedly resolved after Netanyahu holds secret meeting with King Hussein.

8/5: Ariel Sharon says he will not meet Arafat "a war criminal [and] a murderer who ordered the murder of civilians, women and children".

9/5: Jerusalem Arab landdealer known to have had dealings with Israelis found murdered. Israel accuses Arafat's personal guard, Force 17.

9/5: Hizb'Allah fires mortars at SLA position in southern Lebanon; no casualties reported.

9/5: UN human rights committee accuses Israel of torturing terror suspects; Israel rejects charge.

9/5: IDF soldier injured by rioting by Hebron Arabs.

11/5: Memorial Day: Israel remembers fallen soldiers and terror victims.

11/5: Ross resumes talks with Netanyahu, but government officials say breakthrough unlikely.

12/5: Israel celebrates 49th Independence Day; Arafat bemoans Palestinian "holocaust".

12/5: President Weizman expresses disappointment that his efforts to restart Israel-PLO talks by meeting with Arafat have failed.

13/5: Labour Party convention effectively nixes effort to declare former premier Shimon Peres party president.


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