On 29 September 1995, a notice in the leading Palestinian daily Al-Quds announced the following: “After Friday prayers an honorable procession composed of notables from the Bethlehem district and notables from the Hebron district proceeded to the Dīwān of Ahl al-Ḥalāʾiqa in the village of Shuyukh in order to complete the rites of tribal conciliation (ṣulḥ ʿashāʾirī) in the wake of a sad car accident.” Among the jāha, the procession of important dignitaries invited to participate by the family of the driver, was Colonel Abu Khalid al-Lahham, a former officer in the Palestinian Liberation Army and currently an adviser to President Yasir Arafat. Originally from Bethlehem, to which he has recently returned after years of exile, al-Lahham was designated to become the governor of the Bethlehem district in the Palestinian Authority (PA) after it extended its hold over the town in December, as stipulated by the Oslo B agreements of 28 September 1995.
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Author's note: I thank Elan Freedberg for assistance in the preparation of this article, and the Israel Science Foundation and the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for their financial support for the project on state building under the Palestine Authority. lAl-Quds, 29 September 1995.