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Background    Key Players    Wye Agreement    Maps    Related Sites

A chronology of recent events in the Middle East

December 15, 1999 -- After a break of almost four years, Israel and Syria resume peace talks in Washington. Syria's main demand focuses on the return of the Golan Heights, a strategic chunk of land Israel seized in the 1967 war. Israel wants Syria to cut back its armored units between Damascus and the border and to allow early warning monitoring stations in the Golan to alert Israel of any surprise attack.

November 2, 1999 -- In the first meeting of U.S., Israeli and Palestinian leaders since December 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton stepped up his pursuit of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

November 1, 1999 -- While in Oslo to honor Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met one-on-one with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Barak told Arafat he was prepared to make "courageous decisions" to move the peace process forward, according to a diplomatic official.

September 10, 1999 -- Israel transferred 7 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian civil control giving new momentum to the Middle East peace process.

September 9, 1999 -- Israel released nearly 200 Palestinian prisoners in compliance with the revised Wye River accord. All signed a pledge not to revert to violence.

September 4, 1999 -- Ending months of stalled negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat signed a breakthrough agreement to implement the land-for-security Wye River accord.

July 6, 1999 -- Fifty days after voters rejected the hard-line policies of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party in favor of a center-left coalition, former army chief Ehud Barak takes the oath of office as Israel's new prime minister.

May 17, 1999 -- Israel goes to the polls. Less than a day later, Labor candidate Ehud Barak - also Israel's most decorated soldier -- celebrates a landslide victory over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Barak pledges to unite a divided nation.

The Knesset shortly after the December 21 vote to hold early elections  

December 21, 1998 -- The Israeli Knesset votes to dissolve and hold early elections after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to win support for his peacemaking policy with the Palestinians.

November 16, 1998 -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspends West Bank troop withdrawal citing Yasser Arafat's threat to declare Palestinian independence.

November 11, 1998 -- The Israeli Cabinet approves the so-called Wye River accord, but attaches a string of conditions to its phased implementation.

November 6, 1998 -- Israeli cabinet ministers halt debate on ratification of the Wye peace agreement after a terrorist blast in a crowded open-air market in Jerusalem kills two people.

November 11, 1998 Israeli cabinet meeting  

October 26, 1998 -- Netanyahu defeats no confidence vote in a challenge by Israeli hard-liners opposed to the Wye accord.

October 23, 1998 -- Arafat and Netanyahu sign breakthrough land-for-peace deal involving the West Bank after a marathon, 21-hour bargaining session mediated by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

October 23, 1998 -- Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree on a breakthrough land-for-peace deal in the West Bank after a marathon, 21-hour bargaining session mediated by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

October 15, 1998 -- Netanyahu and Arafat begin negotiations at the Aspen Institute's Wye River Conference Center on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

October 7, 1998 -- After meeting with Netanyahu and Arafat, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announces in Gaza that a peace summit will be held in the United States.

September 28, 1998 -- Arafat and Netanyahu meet with Clinton at the White House.

arafat and netanyahu
Arafat and Netanyahu shake hands after signing the peace agreement October 23  

August 24, 1998 -- Netanyahu announces for the first time that he accepts a U.S. proposal to turn over 13.1 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, as long as 3 percent of it is designated as a nature reserve.

April 29, 1998 -- Arafat accepts U.S. proposal that Israel turn over 13.1 percent of the West Bank to Palestinians.

March 26, 1998 -- Amid fierce pressure from his party's right wing, Netanyahu turns down U.S. proposal that Israel withdraw from 13.1 percent of the West Bank.

January 20-22, 1998 -- Clinton hosts Netanyahu and Arafat at separate meetings in Washington to try to jump-start the stalled peace process.

hoist to gurney
Rescue workers hoist a victim onto a gurney after the marketplace bombing  

July 30, 1997 -- Israel suspends negotiations and seals off Palestinian territories after bombs in a Jerusalem marketplace kill more than a dozen people.

July 28, 1997 -- Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy announces the renewal of stalled peace talks.

July 16, 1997 -- U.N. General Assembly passes resolution condemning Israel for continuing to build new settlements in disputed territory.

May 7-16, 1997 -- U.S. envoy Dennis Ross fails to budge Israeli and Palestinian negotiators from their positions.

April 6, 1997 -- Clinton-Netanyahu summit over Israeli settlement-building fails in Washington.

April 2, 1997 -- The Israeli government confirms it has approved further expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

March 21, 1997 -- A suicide bomber kills himself and three Israeli women, wounding dozens of others in a crowded Tel Aviv outdoor cafe during the annual Purim celebration.

In the aftermath of the Tel Aviv cafe bombing  

March 17, 1997 -- Israel begins construction of a new Jewish housing development in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem. Arafat condemns the project as an affront to peace.

March 7, 1997 -- A crisis looms as Israel proposes withdrawing from just 9 percent of the West Bank, while Palestinians demand a 30 percent withdrawal.

January 15, 1997 -- Israelis and Palestinians sign an accord for Israeli troops to withdraw from 80 percent of the West Bank town of Hebron. The next day, the Israeli military pulls back, as agreed, to an area that includes 400 Jewish settlers.

tunnel gunfire scenes
Violence following the reopening of the tunnel  

September 24-27, 1996 -- Protests and clashes break out in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem after Israel opens a tunnel near a Muslim holy site. More than 70 people are killed.

May 31, 1996 -- Netanyahu is declared Israel's prime minister after a narrow victory over Shimon Peres.

February 25 - March 4, 1996 -- Islamic militants carry out four suicide bombings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ashkelon; 63 people die.

rabin's casket
Funeral of Yitzhak Rabin  

November 4, 1995 -- Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassinated by an Israeli ultranationalist gunman.

September 28, 1995 -- Israel and the PLO reach agreement on second stage of autonomy: The agreement calls for Palestinian elections and self-rule in most Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

April 2, 1995 -- Explosion in Gaza City apartment kills several Palestinians, including top Hamas guerrilla Kamal Kheil. Hamas, vowing revenge, blames Israel for the blast; accuses the Palestine Liberation Organization of collusion.

November 2, 1994 -- Palestinian journalist Hani Abed, an Islamic Jihad activist, is killed when his car blows up in the Gaza. Islamic Jihad blames Israel, which does not deny responsibility.

May 4, 1994 -- The PLO and Israel sign agreement on the first stage of autonomy for Gaza and Jericho.

February 25, 1994 -- New York-born Dr. Baruch Goldstein, an Orthodox Jew living in the West Bank town of Hebron, guns down 29 Palestinian Muslims while they were praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Goldstein was then bludgeoned to death by surviving worshippers.

September 13, 1993 -- After months of secret talks in Oslo, Norway, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization agree on an interim framework for autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The agreement points to a final peace agreement scheduled for 1999.

  • The Oslo peace agreement

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