Israel. The re-election to Parliament on February 10
became a victory for conservative and nationalist forces.
During the election campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of
the conservative Likud, accused the Kadima central party and
the Leftist Labor Party of prematurely interrupting the Gaza
Strip military offensive around New Year. Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defense and leader of the Labor Party, said the
offensive had the intended effect.
Kadima became Knesset's largest party with 28 seats
(compared to 29 in the last election of 2006), but Likud
more than doubled its number of seats and landed at 27.
Third largest party became the right-wing extremist Yisrael
Beitenu with 15 seats and first came in fourth place The
Labor Party with 13 seats. Kadim leader Tzipi Livni refused
to form an alliance with Yisrael Beitenu. After
negotiations, Netanyahu in March presented a coalition in
which Likud allied with Yisrael Beitenu, the Labor Party and
the two nationalist small parties Shas and the Jewish home.
countryaah, the new Foreign Minister became Yisrael Beitenu's leader
Avigdor Lieberman, who already made his first day on the job
clear that he did not feel that Israel had an obligation to
fulfill its 2007 promise to contribute to the establishment
of a Palestinian state. His statement was criticized
internationally. Israel also received very sharp criticism
of the massive New Year offensive against the Gaza Strip.
The United Nations Security Council voted January 8 through
Resolution 1860 calling for immediate ceasefire and
withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. For the first time
in many years, the United States did not use its veto power
to support Israel, but instead cast its vote. All other
members of the Council voted in favor of the resolution.
Following the offensive came several reports that Israel
was violating human rights and international law, including
by using white phosphorus against civilians, an inflammable
substance that causes severe and deadly wounds.
According to a report presented by the South African
Judge Richard Goldstone in September on behalf of the United
Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Israel was guilty of
extensive war crimes in the form of, among other things,
attacks on food supply, water systems, hospitals,
ambulances, factories, government buildings and thousands of
residential buildings. and by oppression of Israeli
oppositionists. According to the report, the intention of
the offensive was to "punish, humiliate and terrorize the
Israel rejected the report as "subjective" and claimed
that the Palestinian militia used civilians as human
shields. Goldstone recommended Israel and the Gaza leaders
to investigate the allegations within six months and report
the outcome to the UN Security Council. If they did not,
they would be reported to the International Criminal Court
Israel and Sweden ended up in a diplomatic conflict since
the newspaper Aftonbladet August 17 published an article in
which Israeli military was accused of killing Palestinians
for the purpose of stealing their bodies. Israel demanded
that the Swedish government condemn the article, but Foreign
Minister Carl Bildt rejected the claim with reference to
freedom of the press.
Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in
2006, appeared in a video recording in October that the
militant Hamas movement published in exchange for the
release of 20 imprisoned Palestinian women.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was indicted in August
for three cases of corruption during his time as mayor of
Jerusalem and as a minister in the government but before the
prime minister's term. Former President Moshe Katsav was
charged March 19 for rape and other sex crimes against
former employees of his staff.