February 20Ehud Barak, head of the Central Command, declares that the character of Palestinian enemy has changed: “No longer is the [IDF] pitted in battle in the territories mainly against terrorism, but against indigenous ideologies and ideas that flourish, not die when countered with force.”
March 26About one thousand Palestinian prisoners jailed in the Kfar Yona, Nablus, and Hebron prisons go on a hunger strike to protest their detention conditions. Within a week, the number of prisoners on strike will rise to four thousand.
April 11Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein of Jordan sign the London Agreement. The agreement outlines a framework for an international conference under UN supervision whose purpose is a solution of the “Palestinian problem.” The agreement further stipulates that the Palestinians would be represented in the conference by the Jordanian delegation and that the PLO was not to attend. The agreement is seen as a last-chance attempt to promote the “Jordanian option,” the resolution of the Palestinian issue through a form of “power sharing” between Israel and Jordan over the West Bank population. In May, Prime Minister Shamir will veto the agreement in the Israeli Cabinet.
MayThe Defense Ministry bows to settlers’ pressure and executes a list of reprisal measures handed to it by a body called “Citizens of Yesha [acronym for Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip]” following attacks on settlers. The list includes the mass arrest of prominent Palestinian leaders, closure of universities, and curfews.
May 14Head of the Central Command Barak reveals that the IDF had recently developed improved, nonlethal riot-control techniques for use against Arab demonstrators.
June 7It is revealed before the Knesset Financial Committee that the Civil Administration collected $235 million in direct and indirect taxes from the Occupied Territories, a sum exceeding its annual allocated budget.
June 8Israeli military authorities ban fishing in the Gaza Strip by Palestinian residents for an indefinite period of time. Between fifteen hundred and two thousand families in the region, mainly in the Shati refugee camp, depend on fishing for their livelihood.
AugustA computerized database on the Palestinian population is set up by the Civil Administration. It will serve as a basis for issuing movement permits and exit permits in the future.
OctoberThe Landau Commission, which was appointed to examine the interrogation methods used by the Shabak, permits the use of “nonviolent psychological pressure of a vigorous and protracted interrogation” and “moderate physical pressure.” The commission states that the interrogators act within the provisions of the “necessity defense,” which, if proven, relieves them of any criminal responsibility.
December 6Israel detaches the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem from the Arab electricity grid and connects them to the Israeli electricity grid, thus further blurring the Green Line. A short time later, the franchise license of the East Jerusalem electric company expires, and for the first time, the Israeli electric company supplies electricity to the entire Occupied Territories.
December 9The first intifada erupts. Following a traffic accident in which an Israeli truck driver kills four residents of the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, and the rumor spreads that he did so in a deliberate act of revenge, widespread demonstrations break out. These are accompanied by harsh clashes with the army in the Gaza Strip and later in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It takes Israel a few weeks before it realizes that a new phase in Palestinian resistance has begun.
DecemberThe Israeli movement The Twenty-First Year: Against the Occupation is founded. It supports acts of practical opposition to the occupation, such as refusal to serve in the Occupied Territories, a boycott of products made in the settlements, and a cessation of trips and excursions in the Occupied Territories.
The National Insurance Institute starts to implement a decision designed to encourage Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to move to the West Bank. Some thirty thousand Palestinians, who are holders of Jerusalem identity cards, but who no longer live in the city, start receiving old-age pensions, maternity grants, and other allowances that are not normally granted to Palestinian residents of the territories.
In order to promote support in the West Bank, Jordan creates a propaganda machine, including radio and television programs and a newspaper, that stress Jordanian-Palestinian “unity of fate.” Jordanian measures are complemented by Israeli censorship of attacks on King Hussein in the Palestinian press.