Israel news

Peres turns to Netanyahu

By Marcus Dysch, February 20, 2009

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu has been asked to form a government and be the next prime minister of Israel.

President Shimon Peres met Mr Netanyahu and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni this morning, and will entrust the former PM with creating a coalition.

Mr Netanyahu is likely to ask Ms Livni and Labo u r party chairman Ehud Barak to join him in a broad administration, although Ms Livni has suggested she will turn down any approach.

The new prime minister will have six weeks to create a cabinet.

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Lieberman endorses Netanyahu

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

The head of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party has publically backed Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next prime minister of Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman told President Shimon Peres today that his party - which holds 15 seats in the Knesset - would endorse the Likud chairman, providing he could create a broad coalition.

Mr Lieberman said the options were “a broad government, which is what we want. A narrow government, that will be a government of paralysis, but we don’t rule out sitting in it.

“And the third option is going to elections, which will achieve nothing.”

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Share power, Peres tells main parties

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 19, 2009

President Shimon Peres is to spend the coming days trying to convince the leaders of Kadima and Likud to find a way of power-sharing in a national unity government.

Senior members of Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu are already conducting quiet talks on a possible coalition of the three largest parties in the Knesset.

However, Likud is still trying to form a right-wing government as a first step before offering cabinet places to Kadima.

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No truce with Hamas until Shalit is freed

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 19, 2009

Israel will refuse to agree a new truce with Hamas unless the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit is part of the deal.

The decision, approved unanimously by a cabinet vote on Wednesday, came as both Israel and Hamas appeared to toughen their negotiating positions.

The indirect talks over a ceasefire, mediated by the Egyptian government, reached an apparent impasse this week despite an earlier agreement by the Hamas leadership in Gaza to link a prisoner exchange deal to a two-year truce.

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Amnesty charges Hamas with torture and murder

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

Hamas gunmen used last month’s conflict in Gaza to murder, kneecap and torture Palestinian political opponents suspected of collaborating with Israel, Amnesty International has reported.

The human rights organisation said they had learnt of at least two dozen cases during Operation Cast Lead in which men were abducted from their homes and later dumped with horrific injuries or found dead in hospitals.

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UN aid for Gaza stolen by gunmen

By Yaakov Katz, February 12, 2009

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) this week renewed aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip following several days of a temporary suspension imposed after Hamas violently seized the supplies.

In two separate incidents, Hamas gunmen stormed UN warehouses in the Gaza Strip and commandeered truckloads of supplies including flour, plastic bags and other basic commodities.

“We cannot subjugate our work to the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza…we need assurances that our work will be unimpeded,” UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha said.

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Breakthrough in deal to free Shalit

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 12, 2009

The political turmoil in Israel and the pressure on the Hamas leadership following Operation Cast Lead have brought about the first major breakthrough in talks over the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the main broker between the two sides, has said that an agreement could be achieved by next week.

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The Israeli elections: The main players

February 5, 2009

Likud

Leader
Binyamin Netanyahu

Latest polls
27-30 Knesset seats

Platform

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JC complaint is rejected

February 5, 2009

A complaint about a story in the JC by the organiser of an “alternative” carol concert has been rejected by the Press Complaints Commission.

Deborah Fink, of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, had complained that she was quoted out of context, but the PCC ruled against her. It said she had been aware she was speaking to a journalist.

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Israelis ‘at risk from Hizbollah assassins’

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 5, 2009

The Israeli defence establishment is readying itself for another round of warfare with Hizbollah following fears that the Lebanese movement is planning an operation against Israelis overseas and stepping up its efforts to rearm itself with weapons that would change the balance of power.

February 12 is the first anniversary of the assassination of Hizbollah’s operations chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in a car bomb in Damascus. Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last week blamed the Mossad for the assassination.

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