2000 Year in Review

Jan. 6: 2nd stage of redeployment of the Israeli army takes place in West Bank. Army transfers 2% from Area B, which is under Palestinian civil authority, to Area A under full Palestinian control. The army further transfers 3% from Area C, which is under full Israeli control, to Area B.

Jan. 19: President Arafat visits Washington, meets President Clinton and asks him for an urgent and determined intervention to push the peace process forward and force the Israelis to implement agreements already signed. He calls for the support of a declaration of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital and U.S. recognition.

Jan. 26: President Arafat visits EU Headquarters in Brussels to discuss the peace process with EU Council of Ministers. He expresses support for the EU's efforts to play a bigger role in the Middle East peace process.

Jan. 31: Russia and the US co-host a meeting in Moscow of the International Group for the Promotion of Multilateral Middle East Peace Talks with the participation of 40 countries.

Feb. 2-3: The Palestine Central Council (PCC) holds a normal session in Gaza City with the participation of all factions of the PLO except the Popular Front-General Command and Al-Saiqa. The meeting unanimously reaffirms the natural right of the Palestinian people to its independent state-Palestine-with Jerusalem as its capital ,on the basis of GA resolution 181 (II) of 1947 and in realization of the Declaration of Independence of 1988 by the PNC. The Council affirms the necessity of the realization of the sovereignty of the State of Palestine in this year.

Feb. 3: The U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) holds its first meeting in 2000 to adopt the year's program of work with the presence of the U.N. Secretary-General.

Feb. 6-9: The quadrilateral Committee on Displaced Persons convenes in Cairo, at the ministerial level, to discuss the return of Palestinians who fled the West Bank and Gaza during 1967. The Committee agrees that all problems facing the Committee should be resolved in 3 months.

Feb. 9: An official Israeli report is made public, stating that Israel's security service (Shin Bet) has committed systematic torture of Palestinian prisoners and detainees during interrogations.

Feb. 15: The Palestinian Authority and the Vatican sign the Basic Agreement between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization at Vatican City following a meeting between President Arafat and Pope John Paul II.

Mar. 1-3: The U.N. Asian Meeting on the Question of Palestine, organized by the CEIRPP, is held in Hanoi, Vietnam and adopts the Hanoi Declaration.

Mar. 9: President Arafat and Prime Minister Barak meet President Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh. The two leaders reach new understandings with regard to the implementation of Sharm el-Sheikh, especially on the 3rd stage of Israeli redeployment and the need to conclude 3rd phase of redeployment by June 2000.

Mar. 21: Pope John Paul II makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting religious sites sacred to Christianity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, as well as in Israel and Jordan. The Pope holds Mass in Bethlehem with the presence of President Arafat.

Mar. 21: 3rd stage of redeployment of the Israeli army takes place in West Bank. Army transfers 1% of Area C, which is under full Israeli control, and 5.1% from Area B, which is under mixed control, both to Area A under Palestinian control.

April 26-27: The CEIRPP, in cooperation with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the League of Arab States, convenes the International Conference on Palestine Refugees at U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris.

May 8: The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) commemorates 50 years of work assisting the Palestine refugees with a special ceremony and the opening of a photo exhibit.

May 23-24: The U.N. International Meeting in Support of a Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine and the Establishment of Peace in the Middle East convenes under the auspices of the CEIRPP in Athens, Greece.

May. 26: Israel receives temporary and restricted membership in Western Euro Group (WEOG) at U.N. Headquarters in N.Y.

June 20-21: The CEIRPP convenes the U.N. Seminar on Prospects for Palestinian Economic Development and The Middle East Peace Process in Cairo, Egypt.

July 2-3: The Palestine Central Council (PCC) meets in Gaza City and affirms its determination to actualize the Declaration of Independence adopted by the PNC in 1988 with the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital and the achievement of its sovereignty on Palestinian land within the 4 June 1967 borders with the conclusion of the agreed upon transitional period of 13 September 2000.

July 11: President Clinton opens a three-way summit at Camp David and urges Prime Minister Barak and President Arafat to seek a "principled compromise" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

July 20: President Clinton leaves Camp David for the G-8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan, while President Arafat and Prime Minister Barak stay at Camp David with Secretary Albright, pending the return of the President.

July 25: The Summit at Camp David concludes without reaching an agreement.

July 28: In an Israeli TV interview, President Clinton praises Prime Minister Barak and states that he is considering moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and warns Palestinians of the consequences of unilaterally declaring a state.

Aug. 28: The Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the OIC holds its 18th meeting in Agadir, Morocco under the Chairmanship of King Mohammed VI and with the presence of President Arafat, calling for world recognition of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital and expressing its opposition to any limits on Palestinian sovereignty in East Jerusalem.

Sept. 6-8: The U.N. Millennium Summit takes place bringing together the largest gathering in history of world leaders. President Arafat delivers a statement to the U.N. General Assembly on the first day of the Summit. A reception for President Arafat is hosted by the CEIRPP.

Sept. 9-10: The PCC meets in Gaza City and decides to mandate the Executive Committee, the Presidency of the National Council, and the Legislative Council to take all necessary measures to establish the State of Palestine and to extend its sovereignty in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with the Holy City of Jerusalem as its capital, in the coming period. It also calls for issuing a constitutional declaration, adopting laws for the general elections for the Presidency and Palestinian Parliament, and submitting an application for membership of Palestine in the U.N. The Council requests the Executive Committee to submit a detailed report concerning these steps to a special session of the Central Council before 15 Nov 2000.

Sept. 28: The leader of Israel's Likud Party, Ariel Sharon, carries out a provocative visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Occupied East Jerusalem under the escort of hundreds of Israeli police, which leads to serious clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli security forces, causing dozens of injuries.

Sept. 29: Israeli police storm Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound and begin firing at the assembled Palestinians. Palestinian demonstrations spread, leading to the killing of 7 and the wounding of more than 200 Palestinian civilians by Israeli security forces.

Sept. 30: Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians spread across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, resulting in 16 Palestinian dead and more than 500 injured.

Oct. 1: The Arab League’s Secretary-General, Esmat Abdel Meguid, states that Arab countries would ask the U.N. Security Council to "create an international Investigative Committee into the crimes and carnage committed by Israeli troops against the Palestinian people."

Oct. 4: Prime Minister Barak and President Arafat hold separate meetings in Paris with U.S. Secretary Albright. They also hold a three-way meeting with Secretary Albright, which later expands to include French President Chirac and U.N. Secretary-General Annan. No formal agreement is signed, but an understanding is reached that both sides would work actively to end the current violence.

Oct. 5: President Arafat and Secretary Albright fly to Egypt at the invitation of President Mubarak. Prime Minister Barak returns to Israel and does not participate in the talks.

Oct. 7: By 14 votes in favor and one abstention (U.S.), the Security Council adopts resolution 1322 (2000), condemning the latest wave of violence in the Middle East and the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life. It urges Israel to abide by the 4th Geneva Convention and stresses the importance of establishing a mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry into the tragic events.

Oct. 10: The CEIRPP meets at the U.N. to discuss the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The Committee issues a statement, expressing grave concern at the continuing confrontation and loss of life caused by the excessive use of force by Israel.

Oct. 12: Israeli helicopter gunships fire missiles at targets in Ramallah and near President Arafat's Headquarters in Gaza. The Israeli attacks follow the killing by Palestinians of two captured Israeli soldiers in Ramallah.

Oct. 13: Palestinians clash with Israeli police outside Jerusalem's Old City in protest of exclusion from Friday prayers at Al-Haram Al-Sharif of all male worshippers aged under 45.

Oct. 16: President Clinton joins Prime Minister Barak and President Arafat in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with President Mubarak, King Abdullah II, U.N. Secretary-General Annan and EU security and foreign policy representative Javier Solana also in attendance, to try to bring a halt the ongoing wave of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Oct. 17: The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit ends with both sides agreeing on issuing public statements calling for an end to the violence, the establishment of a committee of fact-finding of the events of the past weeks and how to prevent their recurrence, and the resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement based on the Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent understandings.

Oct. 17: The 5th Special Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights convenes in Geneva to consider the severe deterioration of the human rights situation of the Palestinian people since 28 September due to human rights violations by Israel.

Oct. 18: The 10th Emergency Special Session (ESS) of the U.N. General Assembly resumes to address illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory following the failure of the Security Council to address the situation as a result of public threats by the U.S. to veto any draft resolutions.

Oct. 19: The U.N. Commission on Human Rights narrowly adopts resolution S-5/1, in which it is "gravely concerned at the widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying Power which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity," and decides to "establish, on an urgent basis, a human rights inquiry commission".

Oct. 19: Arab Foreign Ministers convene in Cairo to finalize the agenda and prepare a draft final statement for the Arab Emergency Summit. Egyptian Foreign Minster Amr Moussa states that there is "no alternative to a return of East Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty, and we will not accept non-Arab sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound."

Oct. 21: The Secretary-General briefs the 10th ESS upon his return from Sharm el-Sheikh and the Assembly adopts resolution ES-10/7, "stressing the urgent need for providing protection for the Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory". The resolution is adopted with a vote of 92 in favor, 6 against, and 46 abstentions.

Oct. 23: Israel closes Gaza International Airport for the second time since 28 September 2000, as well as increasing the restrictions on the movement of persons and goods throughout the Occupied Territory.

Oct. 28-29: The Arab Emergency Summit is held in Egypt and adopts a strong position in support of the Intifada and the Palestinian position on Jerusalem. The Summit calls upon the Security Council to provide protection to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Oct. 31: Israeli helicopters fire missiles at Fatah buildings in Nablus, Ramallah and in the Gaza Strip, and Gaza airport is closed for the third time since the outbreak of violence.

Nov. 8-16: High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson undertakes an important mission to the region to examine the human rights situation of the Palestinian people. She visits the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. Following the visit, she issues an important report on the situation.

Nov.9: President Arafat visits Washington to meet with President Clinton to discuss the sensitive situation on the ground and the difficulties facing the U.S. efforts in the peace process.

Nov.10: Security Council convenes a private meeting with President Arafat, who addresses the Council in detail about the deterioration and harsh realities of the situation on the ground and about Palestinian causalities and losses over the past few weeks. He also presents Palestinian ideas about the proposal for a U.N. force to protect Palestinian civilians.

Nov. 12-13: OIC Summit is convened in Doha, Qatar. The Summit decides to send a Ministerial Committee of the OIC to the U.N. to press for more action, especially on the issue of providing protection for Palestinian civilians.

Nov. 16: Prime Minister Barak announces that Israel has frozen transfers of funds due to the Palestinian Authority under concluded agreements "for as long as necessary" and that is preventing Palestinian laborers from getting to work because of "security considerations", further damaging the ailing Palestinian economy.

Nov.17: The Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the 4th Geneva Convention sends a note to all the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, submitting the Arab proposal to reconvene the Conference of the High Contracting Parties on Measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

Nov. 20: The Palestinian Minister for Bethlehem 2000 Affairs announces that planned festivities for Christmas are suspended as long as the violence continues.

Nov. 22: The U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) narrowly endorses the decision of the Commission on Human Rights (S-5/1), in spite of heavy lobbying by the U.S.

Nov. 27: The Security Council holds a private meeting with the OIC Ministerial Committee, and the Committee urges the Council to urgently deploy a U.N. force to protect Palestinian civilians.

Nov. 29: The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, observed annually on this date since 1978, is commemorated at the U.N. A solemn meeting is convened by the CEIRPP in the morning, followed by a debate in the General Assembly on the question of Palestine and the inauguration of an art exhibit to mark the occasion.

Dec. 4: By a vote of 170 in favor, 2 against and 5 abstentions, the General Assembly adopts resolution 55/87, which "reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to a State". The resolution is one of 20 resolutions on Palestine adopted by the 55th session.

Dec. 4: The annual pledging conference for UNRWA is held at the U.N. in N.Y. to raise funds for the agency's necessary services for Palestine refugees.

Dec. 11: The fact-finding committee agreed upon at Sharm el-Sheikh visits the Palestinian Territory and the region under the chairmanship of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.

Dec. 18: The U.N. Security Council votes on a draft resolution presented by the 6 NAM countries of the Council, in which the Council "expresses its determination to establish a U N. force of military and police observers to be dispatched throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967." The result of the vote is 8 votes in favor and 7 abstentions. The draft is not adopted due to the lack of the prerequisite 9 votes.

Dec. 23: President Clinton orally presents his ideas on a possible Palestinian-Israeli agreement to the delegations of the 2 sides gathered at a meeting at the White House.

Dec. 31: The martyrs of the Intifada of Al-Aqsa and Independence who were killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israeli security forces reaches 321 with over 10,500 Palestinian civilians injured, many sustaining permanent injuries.