Menu JTA Search

Time Line of Recent Developments

The following is a time line of key events leading up to the emergency Middle East summit meeting convened by President Clinton this week in Washington:

Sept. 28, 1995 — Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat sign the Interim Agreement, which extends Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and sets the stage for an Israeli withdrawal from six West Bank towns.

Nov. 4, 1995 — Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by Yigal Amir, a 25-year-old religious Jewish law student, after a Tel Aviv peace rally. Shimon Peres steps in as prime minister.

Jan. 21, 1996 — Palestinians in the territories vote for the first time to elect an 88-member legislative body. Arafat is elected leader of the Palestinian Council with 90 percent of the vote.

Feb. 25, 1996 — Twin Hamas suicide attacks rock Israel. A bus bombing in Jerusalem kills 26 innocent people. In Ashkelon, a soldiers’ hitchhiking post is blown up, killing one more. Israel closes off the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A day after the suicide-bombings, a car driven by an Arab American tourist plows into a group of people at a Jerusalem bus stop, killing one and injuring 22. The driver is subsequently shot by two bystanders waiting at the bus stop.

March 3, 1996 — A week after the first attack, a second and nearly identical Hamas bus bombing in Jerusalem kills 19 innocent people. The Israeli Cabinet votes for a plan to separate the Israeli and Palestinian populations.

March 4, 1996 — A suicide bomber kills 13 innocent people at Dizengoff Center in the heart of Tel Aviv on Purim###eve.

Israel breaks off peace talks with Syria after Damascus refuses to condemn the suicide bombings.

March 13, 1996 — Leaders of 29 nations, including the United States, Israel and 14 from the Muslim world, meet at an anti-terror summit in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheik.

April 11, 1996 — Israel launches “Operation Grapes of Wrath,” a series of air assaults and raids on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, in retaliation for the fundamentalist group’s repeated Katyusha rocket attacks on northern Israel. Seven days later, Israel shells the Kana U.N. camp in southern Lebanon, killing at least 91 refugees. A cease fire goes into effect on April 27.

April 24, 1996 — The Palestine National Council votes to amend those portions of the charter that call for the destruction of Israel.

May 29, 1996 — Israelis narrowly elect Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.

June 22-23, 1996 — Egypt hosts the first Arab League summit in six years to develop a united front against the new Netanyahu government’s approach to the peace process.

July 23, 1996 — Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy meets with Arafat in what is the Palestinian Authority leader’s first meeting with a senior official in the Netanyahu government.

Sept. 4, 1996 — Netanyahu meets with Arafat. Both sides agree to discussions on redeployment from most of Hebron, the last West Bank town to be turned over to the Palestinians.

Sept. 25, 1996 — Palestinian rioting erupts in response to the opening of a new entrance to an ancient tunnel alongside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. In three days of violence, 15 Israelis and 57 Palestinians are killed, most of them during exchanges of gunfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian police. Hundreds of people are wounded.

Oct. 1, 1996 — U.S. President Clinton convenes an emergency Middle East summit meeting in Washington to salvage the Middle East peace process. In attendance are Netanyahu, Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declines to attend.

NEXT STORY