ok, be honest....who else never knew the Netanyahu lived in Philly during his high school years?
ok, be honest....who else never knew the Netanyahu lived in Philly during his high school years?
Im watching his next press conference. I want to see if this dude drops any jawns.
ok, be honest....who else never knew the Netanyahu lived in Philly during his high school years?
Im watching his next press conference. I want to see if this dude drops any jawns.
He just drops bombs now. There's ethnic cleansing to be done, dontcha know?He was probably good buddies with Phrank Rizzo.
Lerxst1992 said:Hamas wants to throw the Israelis out of West Bank and E Jerusalem, which was once part of the Kingdom of Israel, but the Israelis are not throwing out the Palestinians. That’s a pretty huge double standard for people using the word occupy.
And when was this "Kingdom of Israel"?
Lerxst1992 said:Hamas wants to throw the Israelis out of West Bank and E Jerusalem, which was once part of the Kingdom of Israel, but the Israelis are not throwing out the Palestinians. That’s a pretty huge double standard for people using the word occupy.
JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed Tuesday to “rally international support” to aid Gaza following a devastating war there while keeping any assistance out of the hands of its militant Hamas rulers, as he began a regional tour to shore up last week’s cease-fire.
The 11-day war between Israel and Hamas killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished coastal territory. The truce that came into effect Friday has so far held, but it did not address any of the underlying issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something Blinken acknowledged after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” he said.
“The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions.” He added that the U.S. would work with its partners “to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance."
Blinken will not be meeting with Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and which Israel and the U.S. consider a terrorist organization.
Blinken addressed the larger conflict, saying "we believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity.”
But the top U.S. diplomat faces the same obstacles that have stifled a wider peace process for more than a decade, including a hawkish Israeli leadership, Palestinian divisions and deeply rooted tensions surrounding Jerusalem and its holy sites. The Biden administration had initially hoped to avoid being drawn into the intractable conflict and focus on other foreign policy priorities before the violence broke out.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, is fighting for his political life after a fourth inconclusive election in two years. He faces mounting criticism from Israelis who say he ended the offensive prematurely, without forcibly halting rocket attacks or dealing a heavier blow to Hamas.
Netanyahu hardly mentioned the Palestinians in his remarks, in which he warned of a “very powerful" response if Hamas breaks the cease-fire.
Netanyahu spoke of “building economic growth” in the occupied West Bank, but said there will be no peace until the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” The Palestinians have long objected to that language, saying it undermines the rights of Israel’s own Palestinian minority.
The war was triggered by weeks of clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a site revered by Jews and Muslims that has seen several outbreaks of Israeli-Palestinian violence over the years. The protests were directed at Israel’s policing of the area during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
The truce remains tenuous since tensions are still high in Jerusalem and the fate of the Palestinian families is not yet resolved.
The evictions were put on hold just before the Gaza fighting erupted, but the legal process is set to resume in the coming weeks. Police briefly clashed with protesters at Al-Aqsa on Friday, hours after the cease-fire came into effect.
Adding to the tensions, an Israeli soldier and a civilian were stabbed and wounded in east Jerusalem on Monday before police shot and killed the assailant in what they described as a terrorist attack.
Then, early Tuesday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed by undercover Israeli forces near the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to the Wafa news agency. Pictures circulating online appeared to show the man bloodied and lying in the street. The Israeli army referred questions to the Border Police, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Blinken will head to Ramallah later Tuesday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has no power in Gaza and was sidelined by recent events. Abbas heads the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank but whose forces were driven from Gaza when Hamas seized power there in 2007.
Abbas, who called off the first Palestinian elections in 15 years last month when it appeared his fractured Fatah movement would suffer an embarrassing defeat, is seen by many Palestinians as having lost all legitimacy. A crowd of worshippers at Al-Aqsa chanted against the Palestinian Authority and in support of Hamas on Friday.
But Abbas is still seen internationally as the representative of the Palestinian people and a key partner in the long-defunct peace process. The Palestine Liberation Organization, the umbrella group led by Abbas, recognized Israel decades ago, and the Palestinian Authority maintains close security ties with Israel.
Blinken will also visit neighboring Egypt and Jordan, which have acted as mediators in the conflict. Egypt succeeded in brokering the Gaza truce after the Biden administration pressed Israel to wind down its offensive.
The administration had been roundly criticized for its perceived hands-off initial response to the deadly violence, including from Democratic allies in Congress who demanded it take a tougher line on Israel. Biden repeatedly affirmed what he said was Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks from Gaza.
The administration has defended its response by saying it engaged in intense, but quiet, high-level diplomacy to support a cease-fire.
Blinken has said the time is not right for an immediate resumption in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but that steps could be taken to repair the damage from Israeli airstrikes, which destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged infrastructure in Gaza.
The narrow coastal territory, home to more than 2 million Palestinians, has been under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep Hamas from importing arms, while the Palestinians and human rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment.
Associated Press writers Josef Federman and Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this report.
GENEVA (AP) — The top U.N. human rights body on Thursday passed a resolution aimed to intensify scrutiny of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, after the U.N. rights chief said Israeli forces may have committed war crimes and faulted the militant group Hamas for violations of international law in their 11-day war this month.
The 24-9 vote, with 14 abstentions, capped a special Human Rights Council session on the rights situation faced by Palestinians. The session and the resolution were arranged by Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries, which have strongly supported Palestinians in their struggles with Israel.
The resolution, which was denounced by Israel, calls for the creation of a permanent “Commission of Inquiry” — the most potent tool at the council's disposal — to monitor and report on rights violations in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. It would be the first such COI with an “ongoing” mandate.
The commission is also to investigate “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict” including discrimination and repression, according to the text. Amid signs that the resolution would pass, its authors added more teeth to its language with a late revision on Wednesday.
The revised text calls on states to refrain from “transferring arms” — the recipients were not specified — when they asses “a clear risk” that such weapons might be used to commit serious violations of human rights or humanitarian law. That appeared aimed to countries that ship weapons to Israel.
“Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide.”
The Palestinian Authority welcomed the resolution, saying it amounted to “international recognition of Israel's systemic oppression and discrimination against the Palestinian people.”
“This reality of apartheid and impunity can no longer be ignored,” it added.
China and Russia were among those voting in favor. Several Western and African countries voted no.
British ambassador Simon Manley said the commission’s “overly expansive mandate ... risks hardening positions on both sides,” and Austrian ambassador, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, said the session "continues the regrettable practice of singling out Israel for criticism in the Human Rights Council.”
Russian envoy Olga Vorontsova said the resolution “has the goal of establishing all of the facts behind all alleged violations in the latest period.” Venezuelan Ambassador Hector Constant Rosales said a resolution “condemning the genocidal action of the Israeli government” was urgently needed.
Israel had called on “friendly” countries to oppose the meeting, and the United States — while not a member of the 47-member state body — did not take part, even in its status as an observer state. An array of countries denounced the latest violence and urged efforts to address the roots of the Mideast conflict.
After the vote, the U.S. mission in Geneva said the United States “deeply regrets” the move to create an “open-ended” Commission of Inquiry. It said some unspecified member states of the council “have chosen to engage in a distraction that adds nothing to ongoing diplomatic and humanitarian efforts” in the region.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke early in the session, called on Israel to allow an independent probe of military actions in the latest spasm of deadly violence, which left devastation and death in the Gaza Strip before a cease-fire last week.
The 11-day war killed at least 248 in Gaza, including 66 children and 39 women. In Israel, 12 people also died, including two children.
“Air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure," Bachelet said.
“Such attacks may constitute war crimes,” she added, if deemed to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians. Bachelet urged Israel to ensure accountability, as required under international law in such cases, including through "impartial, independent investigations" of actions in the escalation.
Bachelet said Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire during the conflict was also a clear violation of the rules of war, and she derided the group's tactics that included locating military assets in densely populated civilian areas, and firing rockets from them.
"These rockets are indiscriminate and fail to distinguish between military and civilian objects, and their use, thereby, constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law,” Bachelet said. “However, the actions of one party do not absolve the other from its obligations under international law.”
She cautioned violence could erupt again unless the “root causes” are addressed.
The day-long virtual debate involved personal accounts from Palestinians — like one of a young woman journalist from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, an early flashpoint that triggered the violence — as well as the statements from the council’s 47 member states and also observer states.
Israel — backed at times by the United States — has long accused the council of anti-Israel bias and has generally refused to cooperate with its investigators.
Israeli Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar said Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and its allies — had fired 4,400 rockets at Israeli civilians from “from Palestinian homes, hospitals, and schools. Each one of these rockets constitutes a war crime.”
“What would you do if rockets were fired at Dublin, Paris, or Madrid,” she asked.
Riad al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister, sought to highlight years of suffering by Palestinians in the lands controlled or occupied by Israel.
"The Israeli war machinery and terrorism of its settlers continue to target our children who face murder, arrest and displacement, deprived of a future in which they can live in peace and security,” al-Maliki said.
Deja vu all over again. UN condemns Israel -> Israel condemns UN condemnation -> Incomplete hypothetical about "what would you do" missing context. Here's hoping the world has become liberal enough to not just forget for another few years the way Israel likes it.
Naftali Bennett, an ultranationalist, and Yair Lapid, a centrist, have moved closer to forming a fragile coalition government that would oust the longtime prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
By Patrick Kingsley
JERUSALEM — The longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, Benjamin Netanyahu, faced the most potent threat yet to his grip on power Sunday after an ultranationalist power-broker, Naftali Bennett, said his party would work with opposition leaders to build an alternative government to force Mr. Netanyahu from office.
If the maneuvering leads to a formal coalition agreement, it would be an uneasy alliance between eight relatively small parties with a diffuse range of ideologies. The prime minister’s post would rotate between two unlikely partners: Mr. Bennett, a former settler leader who rejects the concept of a sovereign Palestinian state and champions the religious right — and Yair Lapid, a former television host who is considered a voice of secular centrists.
“I will work with all my power to form a national unity government together with my friend Yair Lapid,” Mr. Bennett said in a speech Sunday night.
He added, “If we succeed, we will be doing something huge for the state of Israel.”
Mr. Bennett’s announcement came shortly after an armed conflict with Palestinians in Gaza that many thought had improved Mr. Netanyahu’s chances of hanging on to his post.
Because of the profound ideological differences within the emerging coalition, which would include both leftist and far-right members, its leaders have indicated their government would initially avoid pursuing initiatives that could exacerbate their political incompatibility, such as those related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and focus instead on infrastructure and economic policy.
If forced from office, Mr. Netanyahu is unlikely to leave politics. Either way, however, he has left a lasting legacy. He shifted the fulcrum of Israeli politics firmly to the right — Mr. Bennett’s prominence being a prime example — and presided over the dismantling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, all while scoring groundbreaking diplomatic agreements with four Arab states, subverting conventional wisdom about Israeli-Arab relations.
By frequently attacking the judiciary and remaining in office while on trial for corruption, Mr. Netanyahu also stands accused of undermining central tenets of liberal democracy.
And he is not going without a fight: Immediately after Mr. Bennett’s announcement, Mr. Netanyahu responded with a speech of his own, calling on right-wing lawmakers within the opposition alliance to abandon Mr. Bennett for his own right-wing bloc.
“This is not unity, healing or democracy,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “This is an opportunistic government. A government of capitulation, a government of fraud, a government of inertia. A government like this must not be formed.”
Ideological differences between the opposition parties were the main reason Mr. Bennett waited for so long since a general election in March to throw his lot in with Mr. Lapid. He was under pressure from his own party not to break with Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing and religious alliance, a factor he hinted at in his speech on Sunday.
“This is the most complex decision I’ve made in my life, but I am at peace with it,” said Mr. Bennett.
Any agreement reached in the coming days would need to be formally presented to Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, by Wednesday night. It would still then need to be endorsed by a vote in the Knesset, the Hebrew name for the Israeli Parliament.
Under the deal being discussed, Mr. Bennett would lead the government first, probably until the fall of 2023, while Mr. Lapid would most likely serve as foreign minister, according to two people involved in the negotiations. The pair would then swap roles until a new general election in 2025. Mr. Bennett’s party won fewer seats than Mr. Lapid’s in a March election, but he holds significant leverage during the negotiations because no government can be formed without him.
Their government would rely on the support of a small Arab Islamist party, Raam, to give it the 61 seats needed to control the 120-seat Parliament. Raam is not likely to play a formal role in the coalition, but is expected to support the new government at the Knesset confidence vote.
Mr. Netanyahu would remain as caretaker prime minister until the parliamentary vote.
The negotiations for this coalition were almost derailed by the recent conflict with Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip. That made Mr. Bennett leery of forming a government reliant on Raam, which has roots in the same religious stream as the Gaza militants.
If approved, the deal would mark the end of the Netanyahu era — at least for now. Supporters of the proposed coalition hope it could break the deadlock that has stymied government action for more than two years.
Mr. Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party, has been in office since 2009, following an earlier stint between 1996 and 1999. His 15 years in power make him Israel’s longest-serving leader; it is one year longer than the combined terms of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.
Near the end of Mr. Netanyahu’s tenure, he secured a major diplomatic prize with a set of eye-catching normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab states. They shattered assumptions that Israel would stabilize its relationship with the Arab world only once it made peace with the Palestinians.
Under Mr. Netanyahu, Israel also scored diplomatic victories with the United States: The Trump administration moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, closed its consulate for Palestinian affairs, shut down the Palestinian mission in the United States, and took a more combative line against Israel’s enemy Iran.
But the Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed under Mr. Netanyahu’s watch, with formal negotiations petering out seven years ago. And tensions with Israel’s Arab minority increased, leading to widespread Arab-Jewish mob violence during the recent conflict.
His government also enacted a law in 2018 that downgraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel and said that only Jews had the right to determine the nature of the Israeli state.
Through an electoral agreement with far-right politicians, which ultimately allowed them to enter Parliament, Mr. Netanyahu also contributed to a rise in far-right influence on public discourse.
And by clinging to power while standing trial on corruption charges, critics said, he undercut the rule of law and undermined democratic norms — all while being unable to give his full attention to governing, distracted as he was by such a serious court case.
Mr. Netanyahu has denied the charges and defended his right to clear his name without leaving office.
The case, and the polarizing effect it has had on the Israeli electorate, played a major role in Israel’s political instability over the past four years.
Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to stay in office divided voters less by political belief than by their attitude toward him. In particular, it split the Israeli right, and made it harder for both Mr. Netanyahu and his opponents to form a working majority.
That led to four inconclusive elections in two years, each of which ended with no faction being big enough to win power alone. The deadlock left the country without a state budget, among other problems.
A desire to avoid a fifth election was a primary reason behind Mr. Bennett’s decision, he said. “It is either a fifth election or a unity government,” he said.
After the first two elections in 2019, Mr. Netanyahu was left in charge as a caretaker prime minister. Following the third vote, in March 2020, he formed a government of national unity with his main rival, Benny Gantz, a shaky deal that collapsed last December when the two factions failed to agree on a state budget.
A similar deadlock initially emerged after the most recent election in April. Mr. Rivlin, the president, granted Mr. Netanyahu, whose party finished first, an initial mandate to try to form a governing coalition. But he failed after a far-right group refused to enter a coalition reliant on Raam, which holds the balance of power.
That gave Mr. Lapid — whose centrist party, Yesh Atid, or There Is a Future, came in second — the chance to form a government instead. His efforts were initially stymied by the outbreak of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, which prompted his likely coalition partner, Mr. Bennett, to back out of coalition talks.
But a cease-fire made it easier for the pair to restart negotiations, leading to the move on Sunday.
Mr. Lapid, 57, is a former broadcaster who entered politics in 2012 and served as finance minister under Mr. Netanyahu in 2013.
He was best known for moves to reshape a welfare system that gives money to devout Jewish men who study religious texts instead of seeking paid employment. Subsequent administrations reversed most of Mr. Lapid’s changes.
During the campaign, Mr. Lapid, 57, pledged to preserve checks and balances and to protect the judiciary.
Mr. Bennett, 49, is a former Israeli Army commando and software entrepreneur. He lives in Israel, but once led the Yesha Council, an umbrella group representing Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.
Until January, his party was in a formal alliance with Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right leader. Mr. Bennett opposes Palestinian statehood and favors formally annexing large parts of the West Bank.
Isabel Kershner and Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.
Patrick Kingsley is the Jerusalem bureau chief, covering Israel and the occupied territories. He has reported from more than 40 countries, written two books and previously covered migration and the Middle East for The Guardian. @PatrickKingsley
Make sense of the day’s news and ideas. David Leonhardt and Times journalists guide you through what’s happening — and why it matters.
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt and Israel held high-level talks in both countries Sunday to shore up a fragile truce between Israel and the Hamas militant group and rebuild the Gaza Strip after a punishing 11-day war that left parts of the seaside enclave in ruins.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry received his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, in Cairo. The meeting is part of an effort to build on an Israel-Hamas cease-fire reached May 21 and to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been dormant for more than a decade, Shukry's office said. Egypt has not said how it would be able to restart talks.
The hours-long visit was the first public one by an Israeli foreign minister to Egypt since 2008, according to the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.
Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said Shukry called for establishing an atmosphere to relaunch “serious and constructive” negotiations between the two sides. He also urged both sides to refrain from “any measures” that could hamper efforts to revive peace talks.
They also discussed the release of Israeli soldiers and citizens being held by Hamas, Israel's top diplomat said.
"We all need to act to prevent strengthening extremist elements that threaten regional stability, and to ensure the return home of the missing persons and prisoners held by Hamas," Ashkenazi said.
He also criticized the Palestinian Authority over its moves at the International Criminal Court and the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying such activity damages the chances of future cooperation.
Ashkenazi alleged that Palestinian war crimes complaints against Israel —filed over its military conduct since a 2014 war with Hamas and ongoing settlement construction — are an obstacle to political dialogue. The ICC is investigating both Israel and Hamas for possible war crimes. Hamas is under investigation for random rocket fire toward Israeli communities.
Despite cease-fire talks, Hamas and the smaller militant group Islamic Jihad have staged weapons parades in a show of force. On Sunday, thousands attended a Hamas rally in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, where masked militants displayed rockets, launchers and drones.
Hamas is holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in a 2014 war. It also is holding two Israeli civilians who were captured after entering Gaza.
As part of the cease-fire efforts, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted Abbas Kamel, Egypt's intelligence chief, in Jerusalem. Netanyahu said he had raised the issue of returning the remains of soldiers and the two civilians as well as Israeli demands to prevent Hamas from gaining strength or diverting resources meant for the civilian population.
An Egyptian official said Kamel would also meet with Palestinian officials in the West Bank before heading to Gaza for talks with Hamas leaders. The intelligence agency, which is Egypt’s equivalent of the CIA, usually handles Egypt's ties with Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in Gaza.
Egypt's state-run MENA news agency said Kamel would convey a message from el-Sissi to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, affirming “Egypt's full support to the Palestinian people.”
It said Cairo would host talks among Palestinian factions to achieve unity between those in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied areas of the West Bank. The report did not provide further details.
During a visit to the region last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was seeking to bolster Abbas and weaken Hamas as part of the cease-fire efforts.
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas' forces in 2007, leaving the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in charge of administering autonomous zones in some 40% of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, is branded a terrorist group by Israel, the U.S. and other Western countries.
Discussions with Israeli officials have touched on a set of measures that would allow materials, electricity and fuel into the territory, as well as the possible expansion of maritime space allowed for Gaza fishermen, the Egyptian official said.
“The role of the Palestinian Authority is central in the talks,” he said. “Egypt is seeking to have it deeply involved in the reconstruction process.”
The Egyptian official, who had close knowledge of the proceedings that led to the cease-fire, spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to brief reporters.
The 11-day war killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused heavy destruction in the impoverished coastal territory. Preliminary estimates have put the damage in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Egypt was key in mediating a deal between the two sides.
The official said Egypt has offered guarantees that rebuilding funds will not find its way to Hamas, possibly going through an international committee led by Egypt or the United Nations that would oversee the spending.
Kamel has also discussed the situation in Jerusalem and ways to ease tensions in the holy city. That would include understandings at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli police repeatedly clashed with Palestinian demonstrators, and how to prevent the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, the official said.
Egypt last week invited Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for separate talks in Cairo to consolidate the Cairo-mediated cease-fire and accelerate the reconstruction process in Gaza.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected to visit Cairo this week, according to the group's spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou, who also said Hamas is open to discussing a prisoner swap with Israel.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents on Wednesday announced they have reached a deal to form a new governing coalition, paving the way for the ouster of the longtime Israeli leader.
The dramatic announcement by opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, came shortly before a midnight deadline and prevented the country from plunging into what would have been its fifth consecutive election in just over two years.
“This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn’t. It will do everything to unite Israeli society,” Lapid said.
Under the agreement, Lapid and Bennett will split the job of prime minister in a rotation. Bennett will serve the first two years, while Lapid is to serve the final two years. The historic deal also includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, which would make it the first Arab party ever to be part of a governing coalition.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the Knesset, or parliament, in a vote that is expected to take place early next week. If it goes through, Lapid and a diverse array of partners that span the Israeli political spectrum will end the record-setting 12-year rule of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, desperate to remain in office while he fights corruption charges, is expected to do everything possible in the coming days to prevent the new coalition from taking power. If he fails, he will be pushed into the opposition.
Netanyahu has attempted to put pressure on hard-liners in the emerging coalition to defect and join his religious and nationalist allies. Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, may also use his influence to delay the required parliamentary vote.
Lapid called on Levin to convene the Knesset for the vote as soon as possible.
Netanyahu has been the most dominant player in Israeli politics over the past three decades — serving as prime minister since 2009 in addition to an earlier term in the late 1990s.
Despite a long list of achievements, including last year’s groundbreaking diplomatic agreements with four Arab countries, he has become a polarizing figure since he was indicted on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in 2019.
Each of the past four elections was seen as a referendum on Netanyahu’s fitness to rule. And each ended in deadlock, with both Netanyahu’s supporters as well as his secular, Arab and dovish opponents falling short of a majority. A unity government formed with his main rival last year collapsed after just six months.
The new deal required a reshuffling of the Israeli political constellation. Three of the parties are led by hard-line former Netanyahu allies who had personal feuds with him, while the United Arab List made history as a kingmaker, using its leverage to seek benefits for the country's Arab minority.
“This is the first time an Arab party is a partner in the formation of a government,” the party's leader, Mansour Abbas, told reporters. “This agreement has a lot of things for the benefit of Arab society, and Israeli society in general.”
Lapid, 57, entered parliament in 2013 after a successful career as a newspaper columnist, TV anchor and author. His new Yesh Atid party ran a successful rookie campaign, landing Lapid the powerful post of finance minister.
But he and Netanyahu did not get along, and the coalition quickly crumbled. Yesh Atid has been in the opposition since 2015 elections. The party is popular with secular, middle-class voters and has been critical of Netanyahu’s close ties with ultra-Orthodox parties and said the prime minister should step down while on trial for corruption charges.
Bennett, meanwhile, is a former top aide to Netanyahu whose small Yamina party caters to religious and nationalist hard-liners. Bennett was a successful high-tech entrepreneur and leader of the West Bank settler movement before entering politics.
It is far from certain that their coalition will last that long. In order to secure the required parliamentary majority, Lapid had to bring together eight parties that have little in common.
Their partners range from a pair of dovish, left-wing parties that support broad concessions to the Palestinians to three hard-line parties that oppose Palestinian independence and support West Bank settlements. Lapid's Yesh Atid and Blue and White, a centrist party headed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and the United Arab List are the remaining members.
The coalition members are hoping their shared animosity to Netanyahu, coupled with the agreement that another election must be avoided, will provide enough incentive to find some common ground.
“Today, we succeeded. We made history,” said Merav Michaeli, leader of the dovish Labor Party.
The negotiations went down to the wire, with Labor and Yamina feuding over the makeup of a parliamentary committee.
Earlier this week, when Bennett said he would join the coalition talks, he said that everyone would have to compromise and give up parts of their dreams. During the recent election campaign, Bennett had publicly vowed never to share power with Lapid or an Arab party. But facing the prospect of another unwanted election, Bennett, like the others, found flexibility.
In order to form a government, a party leader must secure the support of a 61-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament. Because no single party controls a majority on its own, coalitions are usually built with smaller partners. Thirteen parties of various sizes are in the current parliament.
As leader of the largest party, Netanyahu was given the first opportunity by the country’s figurehead president to form a coalition. But he was unable to secure a majority with his traditional religious and nationalist allies.
Netanyahu, who in the past has incited against Israel’s Arab minority, even attempted to court the United Arab List but was thwarted by a small ultranationalist party.
After Wednesday's coalition deal was announced, that party, the Religious Zionists, angrily accused Bennett of betraying Israel's right wing.
“We won't forget and we won't forgive,” said Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionists.
After Netanyahu’s failure to form a government, Lapid was then given four weeks to cobble together a coalition. That window was set to expire at midnight.
Lapid already faced a difficult challenge bringing together such a disparate group of partners. But then war broke out with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on May 10. The fighting, along with the eruption of Arab-Jewish mob violence in Israeli cities during the war, put the coalition talks on hold.
But after a cease-fire was reached on May 21, the negotiations resumed, and Lapid raced to sew up a deal. He reached a breakthrough on Sunday when Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu, agreed to join the opposition coalition.
AP correspondent Ilan Ben Zion contributed reporting.
what are the chances this passes Parliament?
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents pushed Thursday for a quick parliament vote to formally end his lengthy rule, hoping to head off any last-minute attempts to derail their newly announced coalition government.
The latest political maneuvering began just hours after opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, declared they had reached a deal to form a new government and muster a majority in the 120-member Knesset, or parliament.
The coalition consists of eight parties from across the political spectrum with little in common except the shared goal of toppling Netanyahu after his record-setting 12 years in power. The alliance includes hard-liners previously allied with Netanyahu, as well as center-left parties and even an Arab faction — a first in Israeli politics.
Netanyahu lashed out at his foes on Thursday, signaling that he will continue to exert pressure on former allies who joined the coalition. “All members of Knesset who were elected with right-wing votes need to oppose this dangerous leftist government," he wrote on Twitter.
Bennett, who is slated to become prime minister, has come under heavy pressure from Israeli hard-liners who accuse him of betrayal. He heads Yamina, a small right-wing party that appeals to religious, nationalist voters. But he has also said that all members of the emerging coalition will have to be flexible and pragmatic.
In a televised interview, Bennett said he would never agree to freeze construction in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, which is seen by the Palestinians and much of the international community as a major obstacle to peace.
“There will be no freezes,” he said, acknowledging the international community will push for one. "Look, there will be pressures. We will have to manage,” he told Channel 12 TV.
“My attitude on this topic is to minimize the conflict. We will not solve it,” he said, adding that it was more realistic to improve business ties and the quality of life for Palestinians.
Israel's political drama has riveted Israelis at a time when tumult has not been in short supply: four inconclusive elections in two years followed by an 11-day war in the Gaza Strip last month that was accompanied by mob violence between Jews and Arabs in cities across the country. The country also is emerging from the coronavirus crisis that caused deep economic damage and exposed tensions between the secular majority and the ultra-Orthodox minority.
Yet the political debate has focused squarely on Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges — and whether he should stay or go.
“We never had a coalition like this," said Hillel Bar Sadeh at a coffee shop in Jerusalem. “We like to have a new spirit, we like to have some unity.”
The owner of the coffee shop, Yosi Zarifi, said he trusts that Netanyahu will return to power — and distrusts the coalition.
"Everybody is clear that this trick will not last, there won’t be any glue (to keep it together) here,” he said.
The anti-Netanyahu bloc announced the coalition deal just before a deadline at midnight Wednesday. The agreement triggered a complex process that is likely to stretch over the next week.
The coalition has a razor-thin majority of 61 votes in parliament. On Thursday, it attempted to replace parliament speaker Yariv Levin, a Netanyahu ally, in order to speed up the vote on the new government. But the effort failed after Nir Orbach, a lawmaker from Yamina, refused to sign on, underscoring the fragility of the alliance.
Levin can now use his position to delay the vote and give Netanyahu more time to sabotage the coalition.
As the coalition was coming together in recent days, Netanyahu and his supporters ramped up a pressure campaign against former hawkish allies, including Bennett and his No. 2 in the Yamina party, Ayelet Shaked.
Netanyahu accused them of betraying their values. His supporters launched vicious social media campaigns and staged noisy protests outside Shaked's home. The prime minister's Likud party also called for a demonstration Thursday night outside the home of Orbach, urging him to quit the coalition.
That's a taste of the pressure to be expected for lawmakers on the right.
“There will be a lot of pressure, especially on right-wingers, especially for religious right-wingers,” said Gideon Rahat, a political science professor at Hebrew University. “They will go to the synagogue and people will pressure them. It will be a nightmare for some of them.”
Under the coalition agreement, Lapid and Bennett will split the job of prime minister in a rotation. Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu, is to serve the first two years, while Lapid is to serve the final two years — though it is far from certain their fragile coalition will last that long.
The historic deal also includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, which would make it the first Arab party ever to be part of a governing coalition.
JERUSALEM (AP) — A long-running campaign by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families in east Jerusalem is still underway, even after it fueled weeks of unrest and helped ignite an 11-day Gaza war.
An intervention by Israel's attorney general at the height of the unrest has put the most imminent evictions on hold. But rights groups say evictions could still proceed in the coming months as international attention wanes, potentially igniting another round of bloodshed.
The settlers have been waging a decades-long campaign to evict the families from densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods in the so-called Holy Basin just outside the walls of the Old City, in one of the most sensitive parts of east Jerusalem.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Israel views the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The settlers are using a 1970 law that allows Jews to reclaim properties lost during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation, a right denied to Palestinians who lost property in the same conflict, including Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The Israeli rights group Ir Amim, which closely follows the various court cases, estimates that at least 150 households in the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan have been served with eviction notices and are at various stages in a long legal process.
The plight of four extended families comprising six households in Sheikh Jarrah, who were at risk of imminent eviction, triggered protests that eventually merged with demonstrations over the policing of a flashpoint holy site. After warning Israel to halt the evictions and withdraw from the site, Hamas fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem on May 10, triggering heavy fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza.
As tensions rose, Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit secured the postponement of the final hearing in the case of the four families. Another group of families requested that the attorney general also intervene in their cases, securing a delay. Israelis are currently trying to form a new government, adding more uncertainty to the process.
That has bought time for the families, but nothing has been resolved.
“Everything is very much hanging in the balance," said Amy Cohen, a spokeswoman for Ir Amim. Rights advocates fear Israel will proceed with the evictions once the furor dies down and international attention turns elsewhere.
“We’re talking about over 1,000 Palestinians in both these two areas that are at risk of mass displacement," Cohen said. "Because these measures are taking place in such an incremental manner, it’s so much easier to dismiss.”
The families in Sheikh Jarrah are stuck in limbo. A total of at least 65 families in two areas of the neighborhood are threatened with eviction, according to Ir Amim, including a group of families set to be evicted in August.
Banners hang in the street in Sheikh Jarrah, and small, occasional protests are still held there. Police man checkpoints at either end of the road and keep watch as Jewish settlers — who seized one of the homes in 2009 — come and go.
The settlers say they acquired the land from Jews who owned it before the 1948 war, when Jordan captured what is now east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Jordan settled several Palestinian families on the land in the early 1950s after they fled from what is now Israel during the 1948 war. Settlers began trying to evict them shortly after Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war.
For Palestinians, the evictions conjure bitter memories of what they refer to as the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of Israel's creation, when some 700,000 Palestinians — a majority of the population — fled or were driven from their homes as the new state battled five Arab armies. Most ended up in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring countries.
“This isn’t just about Sheikh Jarrah, it’s about the entire Israeli occupation, that’s the problem. They aren’t going to stop here,” says Saleh al-Diab, who was born, grew up, married and raised his own children in one of the homes under threat in Sheikh Jarrah.
“You lose your home to them in 1948 and then they come back after 1967 and take your home again,” he said.
Yaakov Fauci, a settler from Long Island, New York, who gained internet fame after a widely circulated video showed a Palestinian resident scolding him for stealing her home, says the Palestinians are squatting on private property.
“They’ve lived here since 1956. This is not exactly ancestral land going back to the times of Abraham," he said. Fauci says he is a tenant and has no personal involvement in the legal dispute, but he insists the land belongs to the Jewish people.
“We don’t want to cause them any pain and suffering, but we need to have our land back," he said. "If there are people there, they have to unfortunately get out."
Ir Amim estimates that settler organizations have already evicted 10 families in Sheikh Jarrah and at least 74 families in Silwan, a few kilometers (miles) away, in the last few decades.
The Israeli government and a settler organization that markets properties in Sheikh Jarrah did not respond to requests for comment. Israel has previously said the evictions are a private real estate dispute and accused Hamas of seizing on the issue to incite violence.
The settler movement enjoys strong support from the Israeli government and the right-wing parties that dominate Israeli politics. The settlers have benefitted from Israeli policies going back to 1967 that have encouraged the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem while severely restricting the growth of Palestinian communities.
Today, more than 700,000 Jewish settlers live in both territories, mostly in built-up residential towns and neighborhoods. The Palestinians and much of the international community view the settlements as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace.
Ir Amim says Israeli authorities could intervene in any number of ways to prevent the Jerusalem evictions, including by modifying the law that allows settlers to take over such properties.
Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union, has demanded that Israel rein in the settlers as part of the informal truce brokered by Egypt that ended the Gaza war. Egyptian mediators are exploring ways to prevent the evictions, and previous cease-fires have included significant concessions to Hamas.
A war that destroyed hundreds of homes in Gaza may have ensured that residents of Sheikh Jarrah can remain in theirs, at least for now.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police burst into the home of a prominent family in the contested Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem on Sunday, the family said, arresting a 23-year-old woman who has led protests against attempts by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the area. The young woman was later released, but her twin brother turned himself in and remains in custody.
The arrests came a day after Israeli police detained a well-known Al Jazeera reporter covering a demonstration in the neighborhood. The reporter, Givara Budeiri, was held for four hours before she was released and sent to a hospital to treat a broken hand. It was not clear how her hand was broken, but her boss blamed police mistreatment.
Earlier this year, heavy-handed police actions in Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of east Jerusalem fueled weeks of unrest that helped spark an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Those tensions are simmering again this week — and could flare anew if Israeli ultranationalists follow through on plans to march through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.
Israeli police were expected to hold consultations on whether the parade, which was originally set to take place when the war erupted on May 10, would be allowed to proceed. A close ally of embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival, oversees the police.
Renewed violence could complicate the task of Netanyahu's opponents, who formed a fragile and disparate coalition last week, of passing a parliamentary vote of confidence needed for them to take office.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Jewish settlers have been waging a decades-long campaign to evict the families from densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods just outside the walls of the Old City. The area is one of the most sensitive parts of east Jerusalem, which is home to sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and which Israel captured in 1967 and annexed in a move not recognized internationally. Israel views the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Settler groups and Israeli officials say the Sheikh Jarrah dispute is merely about real estate. But Palestinians say they are victims of a discriminatory system. The settlers are using a 1970 law that allows Jews to reclaim formerly Jewish properties lost during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation, a right denied to Palestinians who lost property in the same conflict.
The al-Kurd family in Sheikh Jarrah has been at the forefront of months of protests against the planned evictions.
Early Sunday, police took Muna al-Kurd, 23, from her home.
Her father, Nabil al-Kurd, said police “stormed the house in large numbers and in a barbaric manner.”
“I was sleeping, and I found them in my bedroom,” he said. Police then searched the house and arrested his daughter. Video posted on social media showed her being taken away in handcuffs.
“The reason for the arrest is that we say that we will not leave our homes, and they do not want anyone to express his opinion, they do not want anyone to tell the truth,” he said. “They want to silence us.”
Police also searched for her brother, but he was not home. Later, the brother, Muhammad al-Kurd, turned himself in to Jerusalem police.
The siblings' lawyer, Nasser Odeh, told journalists outside the police station that his clients were accused of “disturbing public security and participation in nationalistic riots.”
Late Sunday, Muna al-Kurd was released. But before she was freed, police briefly clashed with a crowd outside the station, throwing stun grenades. Her brother remained in custody.
The arrests came a day after Al Jazeera's Budeiri, wearing a protective vest marked “press,” was dragged away by police at a protest in Sheikh Jarrah.
According to witnesses, police asked Budeiri for identification and when she was unable to immediately show them her government-issued press card, she was arrested.
Colleagues said police did not allow her to return to her car to retrieve the card. Instead, they said she was surrounded by police, handcuffed and dragged into a vehicle with darkened windows.
Israeli police said Budeiri was detained after she was asked for identification, refused and pushed a police officer. The police statement did not reference her broken hand.
In video footage posted online, Budeiri can be seen handcuffed as she is taken away. Clutching her notebook, she is heard shouting, “Don’t touch, enough, enough.”
Budeiri was held for four hours before she was released and hospitalized with a broken hand, said Walid Omary, the Jerusalem bureau chief for Al Jazeera.
Budeiri, who also suffered bruises on her body, had been reporting regularly from Sheikh Jarrah, Omary said. He said her cameraman’s video camera was also heavily damaged by police.
As part of her release, she is banned from returning to the neighborhood for 15 days, he said.
“They are attacking the journalists in east Jerusalem because they don’t want them to continue covering what’s happening inside Sheikh Jarrah," Omary said.
The Foreign Press Association, which represents hundreds of journalists working for international news organizations, said the treatment of Budeiri was “the latest in a long line of heavy-handed tactics by Israeli police” against journalists in recent weeks. It said journalists have been hit by stun grenades, tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and putrid-smelling water.
"We call on police to punish the officers who needlessly injured an experienced journalist and broke professional equipment. And once again, we urge police to uphold Israel’s pledges to respect freedom of the press and to allow journalists to do their jobs freely and without fear of injury and intimidation," the FPA said.
Last month's war was triggered by weeks of clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint holy site. The protests were directed at Israel’s policing of the area during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.
The war erupted on May 10 when Hamas, calling itself the defender of the holy city launched a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem. Some 254 people were killed in Gaza and 13 in Israel before a cease-fire took effect on May 21.
He noted that Budeiri's detention came after Israel's May 15 war-time destruction of a Gaza high-rise that housed the local office of Al Jazeera. The tower also housed an office of The Associated Press.
Israel has alleged that Hamas military intelligence was operating from the building. The AP has said it has no indication of a purported Hamas presence in the building. It has called for an independent investigation.
.good thing Mexico didn’t believe all Americans deserve to die and should be wiped off the face of the earth, instead negotiated compensation for the land lost in war, otherwise they would be demanding the United Nations restore this map. And the US does not have a 4000 year claim to the above land, like Israel has on Jerusalem.
TURMUS AYYA, West Bank (AP) — Sanaa Shalaby says she had no idea what her estranged husband was up to until Israeli soldiers raided her home in the occupied West Bank last month.
Now she’s waging a legal battle to prevent Israel from demolishing the two-story villa where she lives with her three youngest children. It's drawing attention to Israel's policy of punitive home demolitions, which rights groups view as collective punishment.
Israeli security forces arrested her husband, Muntasser Shalaby, and accuse him of carrying out a May 2 drive-by shooting that killed an Israeli and wounded two others in the occupied West Bank. Israel says demolishing family homes is one of the only ways to deter attackers, who expect to be arrested or killed and who are often glorified by Palestinian factions.
The U.S. State Department has criticized such demolitions, and an internal Israeli military review in the 2000s raised questions about their effectiveness. The case of the Shalabys — who all have U.S. citizenship — could reignite the debate. Israel's Supreme Court is expected to issue a final ruling on the demolition next week.
Sanaa and her husband had been estranged for nearly a decade. He lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he ran a profitable smoke shop and married three other women in private Muslim ceremonies not recognized by U.S. authorities.
“It's allowed in our religion,” Sanaa said. “I didn't agree to it.”
He came back to the West Bank in April for what she says was one of his yearly visits to see the children. He had also sought treatment for paranoia after having been institutionalized in the U.S. in recent years, according to a deposition he gave to her lawyer.
Sanaa said she knew nothing about the attack and had no indication he was planning anything.
“People commit crimes far worse than this in America and they don’t demolish their homes," she said. “Whoever committed the crime should be punished, but it’s not the family’s fault.”
When the soldiers showed up after the attack they ransacked the home and briefly detained her 17-year-old son. She said they had a large dog that terrified her and her two younger children, a 12-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl. The soldiers came back weeks later to map out the house for demolition.
Now Sanaa says her children spend all day in bed and refuse to go to school. “I know my children and they were never like this," she said. “My son, Ahmed, has to take his final exams and he can’t study. He opens his book, reads a couple pages and then he walks off.”
An Israeli official said the security agencies believe home demolitions are an effective deterrent. The official declined to comment on the Shalaby case, but said everyone is notified in advance and given the right to contest demolitions in court. Someone in Sanaa's situation would have a “good legal case” if her account is independently verified, the official said.
“There are clear checks and balances," the official said. “We are using it only when we feel that it is necessary, and only because we understand that this is an effective deterrent."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss security procedures.
HaMoked, an Israeli rights group that has represented dozens of families seeking to halt punitive demolitions and is currently representing Sanaa, says such petitions rarely succeed. Of 83 cases brought since 2014, only 10 demolitions were prevented, it said. In the remaining cases, homes were partially or completely demolished, or apartments in multi-story buildings were permanently sealed off.
Jessica Montell, the group's executive director, says that from a legal perspective the question of whether it serves as a deterrent is irrelevant.
“You don’t collectively punish innocent people just because they’re related to a criminal in the hope that that will deter future criminals. It’s an illegal and immoral policy regardless of the effectiveness," she said.
The Israeli military prepared a report on punitive home demolitions in 2004 that led to a moratorium on the practice the following year, according to HaMoked, which received a Power Point presentation of the classified report in 2008 through a court petition.
The presentation raises concerns about the legality of such demolitions and international criticism of them. It also questions their effectiveness, saying the demolitions might even motivate more attacks. Such demolitions were mostly halted until 2014, when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the occupied West Bank.
A campaign by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in east Jerusalem was one of the main causes of last month's 11-day Gaza war, in which Israeli airstrikes demolished hundreds of homes in the militant-ruled territory.
Both forms of displacement summon bitter memories of what the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or “catastrophe," when some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out of what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation.
Shalaby said she has been in continual contact with the U.S. Embassy but was told it couldn't do anything about the demolition.
The State Department declined to comment on the case, citing privacy concerns. But it said it was opposed to the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes. “The home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual,” it said in a statement.
The Israeli Supreme Court will hear Sanaa's case on June 17.
She hopes she will be able to remain in the house that she and her husband built in 2006. She said she had sold her bridal jewelry to help finance the construction. She raised her youngest children in the house, and an older daughter had her wedding there last year during a pandemic lockdown.
“My daughter got married here during the time of the coronavirus,” she said, pointing to the front courtyard and smiling at the memory. “It was better than any wedding hall.”
jesus christ. demolishing homes of families of criminals? that's sick.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's parliament speaker has scheduled a vote for Sunday on a new government that would end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule, the longest in the country's history.
Parliament speaker Yariv Levin, a Netanyahu ally, announced the timing of the vote on Tuesday, a day after acknowledging that a coalition had been formed.
The fragile coalition consists of eight parties spanning Israel's political spectrum, with only a narrow majority in the 120-member Knesset, or parliament. But it appears to have held together despite a furious campaign by Netanyahu's supporters that has included death threats and protests outside lawmakers' homes.
Netanyahu has accused his erstwhile right-wing allies of betrayal for allying with leftists and a small Arab party that he had also courted.
Naftali Bennett, an ultranationalist former Netanyahu ally, would serve as prime minister for two years, followed by the centrist Yair Lapid, the driving force behind the coalition, who thanked the speaker for scheduling the vote.
“The unity government is on the way and ready to work on behalf of all the people of Israel,” Lapid said.
Israel held four elections in less than two years, the most recent in March.
Each time, voters were deeply polarized over whether Netanyahu should remain in office while facing allegations of corruption, for which he is now on trial. An emergency government formed last year to address the coronavirus pandemic was mired in political infighting and collapsed in December. Netanyahu tried and failed to form a government after the March elections before the mandate was given to Lapid.
The political transition, which could yet be derailed, comes amid heightened tensions following weeks of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in Jerusalem that ignited a wave of ethnic violence in Israeli cities and triggered an 11-day Gaza war.