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.
According to 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 civilian population”.
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 (ICC).
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.
Israel – Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Hebrew Yerushalayim, Arab al-Quds, city of Israel and the West Bank occupied by Israel; 882,600 residents (2017). The city was named the capital of Israel in 1949. In 2017, the United States became the first country to confirm that status. Jerusalem is the holy city for three religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. About 72 percent of the population is Jews. During the 1948 war, Jerusalem was divided into a western Jewish part and an eastern Arab part.
Modern, western Jerusalem is characterized by light industry, administration and higher education and research. Here is the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), the government and the Supreme Court, as well as the Chief Rabbinate. The old, “Oriental” Jerusalem is surrounded by a 12 m high city wall with several towers and gates. There are countless shrines, representing several religions. The population of this part of the city is mainly fed by tourism and pilgrims. The old city is usually divided into four neighborhoods, the Christian in the northwest, the Armenian in the southwest, the Muslim in the northeast and the Jewish in the southeast.
After the Six Day War of 1967, the eastern city was annexed, and since then it forms an integral part of West Jerusalem. The UN has opposed Israeli efforts to change the status of Jerusalem, and UNESCO has designated Jerusalem as a World Heritage Site.
Jerusalem’s cityscape as a whole is a mixture of old and new. Its core consists of the oriental embossed Old Town with narrow, winding, often covered streets and low stone houses. This is where most of Jerusalem’s holy places are. Around the old Jerusalem extends a wall, mostly erected by the Turks in the 1530s. The wall is about 4 km long, 12 m high and 2 m wide and has a large number of towers and gates, including the so-called Stefanusporten.
In the northwestern Christian district are among other things. Church of the Holy Sepulcher, according to Christian tradition located at the site of Jesus’ tomb and Calvary. The church was built 326-335 by Constantine the Great but was demolished in 1009 by the Arabs, after which a new Romanesque church was built by the Crusaders. The church leads to Via Dolorosa, which has its beginnings in the northeastern Muslim district. In this part of Jerusalem lies the walled Temple site dominated by the Rock Mosque, erected 687–91 by the Arabs. The rock mosque, considered one of the foremost edifices of Islamic architecture and constituted by an octagonal, domed central building, is erected over the rock which, according to Muslim tradition, was the site of Muhammad’s ascension. Today the cliff itself goes inside the building, right under the dome. The Temple Square also houses the second Muslim shrine in Jerusalem, al-Aqsa Mosque, a quaint basilica, erected in the early 700s. An approximately 400 m long section of the south-west wall of the Temple Square forms the holy place of the Jews in Jerusalem, the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall), which is believed to be the remains of part of the second temple erected in Herod’s time.
To the east of the Old Town is the 830 m high Olive Mountain and Getsemanes Garden. To the west of Old Jerusalem, the new city is spreading with predominantly Western-style buildings. Here you will find The Israeli Parliament, inaugurated in 1966, the Israel Museum from 1959 by Al Mansfeld and Dora Gad and the Hadassah Hospital from 1934–39, designed by Erich Mendelsohn and with stained-glass paintings by Marc Chagall in the synagogue. Here is also the memorial monument of the Holocaust during World War II, Yad Vashem, erected in 1959–64 by Arieh Elhanani.