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Israel

Yearbook 2008

2008 IsraelIsrael. The year was marked by concerns in the coalition government. Ultra right-wing party Yisrael Beitenu left the government in January in protest against having decided to talk to Palestinians on so-called core issues, such as border clearing and Jerusalem status. Without Yisrael Beitenu, the coalition had only a small majority in the Knesset. The corruption investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continued. American businessman Morris Talansky testified that he had given Olmert a total of about $ 150,000, often in cash. Olmert stressed that he had not spent the money privately but in the context of party leadership campaigns in the conservative Likud in 1999 and 2002. The demands for his resignation were intensified, and at the end of July he announced that he would leave both the party leader and the prime minister's post. His new leader Kadima elected the foreign minister on September 17 and Tzipi Livni Deputy Prime Minister. She made an effort to form a coalition government, but it fell, among other things, on the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party's demand that the government never discuss Jerusalem's status with the Palestinians. Olmert remained as acting prime minister for the time being. New elections were expected in early 2009.

2008 Israel

According to Countryaah reports, the Winograd Commission, the investigation into the Lebanon War 2006, noted in its January final report that Israel's political and military leadership had made a number of serious mistakes in connection with the war, but that Olmert's intentions had been for the country's best.

Exchanges of Lebanese prisoners against dead Israeli soldiers sparked debate. Following negotiations under German leadership, the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah guerrilla in June handed over what it said were the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the Lebanon war. At the same time, a Lebanese serving a prison sentence for spying on Hizbullah's behalf was released and allowed to travel to Lebanon. In July, Israel handed over five Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners as well as 200 dead militiamen in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah in 2006 just to push for a release of Lebanese prisoners. After the exchange, all Lebanese prisoners were free.

Eight students at a Jewish seminary in West Jerusalem were killed on March 6 when an armed Palestinian entered the school and shot. Several militant Palestinian groups claimed to have been behind the attack, which had been preceded by a week of bloody fighting in the Gaza Strip with about 120 dead Palestinians. On December 27, Israel launched a massive offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Former President Moshe Katsav, a rape suspect, withdrew his application for a sentence reduction on April 8 in exchange for recognizing, among other things, sexual harassment. Katsav said he hoped to be released from the rape charges in a lawsuit.

Concern for Iran's nuclear fission capacity increased. Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, himself born in Iran, said in June that if Iran continued with its nuclear fission program, I would attack the country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Israel in connection with the celebration of the state's 60th anniversary in March. She became the first foreign head of government to speak in the Knesset. In her speech, she said that "Shoa" (the Holocaust) still filled the Germans with shame.

UN

On August 11, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the suspension of combat operations. At the same time, Secretary-General Kofi Annan took the opportunity to scold the Council: "The UN's inability to act in this conflict has in the eyes of the world delegitimized the organization". At the same time, the statement was a criticism of the United States in particular, which had hindered the peace organization from acting, and UN Ambassador John Bolton then responded to Annan's statement by shaking his head.

Annan was already trying on July 17 to persuade the council to intervene, but in vain. At the same time, Israel made the organization's relief, refugee and observer work (in UNIFIL) increasingly impossible.

On the night of July 26, Israel killed four unarmed UN soldiers, respectively. Canada, Finland, China and Austria at their checkpoint in Khiam in southern Lebanon. Israel lamented the "incident". The UN Secretary-General condemned the attack and called it "apparently targeted". This assessment was confirmed when it emerged during the day that the UN had been in contact with the Israeli military 10 times during the day to point out that Israeli bombs and rockets were dangerously close to the checkpoint. Israel ended up from a bomber firing two laser guided precision bombs into the UN checkpoint. Subsequently, also UN forces to excavate those killed were also fired. For Israel, the purpose was to remove the UN Observation Force, UNIFIL from southern Lebanon, so that there were no observers for the Israeli war crimes in the area. Australia decided on 27 July to withdraw its forces from UNIFIL, and the UN decided for security reasons two days later to withdraw part of its forces.

Israel has a long tradition of attacking UNIFIL forces in the area. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, many UNIFIL soldiers were killed or wounded by Israeli shelling. In 1996, Israel attacked a UNIFIL camp, killing 106 Palestinian refugees who had sought shelter in the camp. A later UN investigation showed that Israel's attack was not an accident, but should kill as many as possible.

On July 28, the United Nations asked for a 3-day ceasefire to distribute relief in Lebanon and evacuate civilians from the Israeli free-fire zones in the south. It was sharply rejected the next day by the Israeli government. Its spokesman Avi Pazner stated: "There is no need for a ceasefire. Israel has already opened a humanitarian corridor ». However, this was contradicted by both MSF and the International Red Cross, who throughout the war and had their convoys fired by Israeli artillery and air force. Although the humanitarian organizations made agreements with the Israeli military, these agreements are immediately broken. Later, the Israeli foreign minister came up with another reason for the Israeli rejection: "Hezbollah just wants to use the ceasefire to bring in civilians they can use as shields." This statement, in contrast, contradicted the Israeli Justice Minister's July 26 statement that Israel regarded all members of southern Lebanon as members of Hezbollah - and therefore defamed them. This opinion was in line with Israeli practice. Israel killed another 16 civilians in July 29 attacks. Including a mother and her 5 children. At the same time, it bombed the Lebanon-Syria border to prevent relief from entering Lebanon and refugees from exiting. Israel ignored international calls - including UN humanitarian calls - because the country had carte blance from the United States to continue the war regardless of civilian casualties. This opinion was in line with Israeli practice. Israel killed another 16 civilians in July 29 attacks. Including a mother and her 5 children. At the same time, it bombed the Lebanon-Syria border to prevent relief from entering Lebanon and refugees from exiting. Israel ignored international calls - including UN humanitarian calls - because the country had carte blance from the United States to continue the war regardless of civilian casualties. This opinion was in line with Israeli practice. Israel killed another 16 civilians in July 29 attacks. Including a mother and her 5 children. At the same time, it bombed the Lebanon-Syria border to prevent relief from entering Lebanon and refugees from exiting. Israel ignored international calls - including UN humanitarian calls - because the country had carte blance from the United States to continue the war regardless of civilian casualties.

Following the adoption of the Security Council Resolution on August 11 and the adoption of August 14 at 1 p.m. At 5:00 GMT as the time for the cessation of the fighting, Kofi Annan urged the parties to immediately stop the fighting or at least reduce the scale. In vain. Israel responded to the resolution by sending 30,000 soldiers into Lebanon four hours later, escalating the attacks and bombings.

Hezbollah

At the start of the war, many Lebanese criticized Hezbollah for triggering the conflict in his arrest of 2 Israeli soldiers, but as the war unfolded with Israeli terror against the Lebanese civilian population, Hezbollah as the only force fighting the Israeli invasion force and the global community's failure to protect the Lebanese population turned the mood. Hezbollah was avalanche-supported - across religion and ethnicity. A July 26 poll showed that 72% of Lebanese now support Hezbollah's capture of 2 Israeli soldiers on July 12, and 85% supported Hezbollah's defense of Lebanon against Israel's attempt to invade the country in the south. The backing was greatest among Shia Muslims, but Sunnis and Christians also overwhelmingly backed Hezbollah. The country's other major Shia militia - Amal - announced that it was also fully involved in the fight against the Israeli invasion forces. In early August, over 90% of Lebanese supported Hezbollah's defense of Lebanon.

At the beginning of August, Israel recognized its extensive support and extended its bombing of Beirut to Christian neighborhoods, and southern Lebanon to Christian villages as well.

Hezbollah's backing was not limited to Lebanon. The organization's ability to defend Lebanon against the Israeli invasion forces caused its popularity to explode throughout the Arab world. Just months earlier, it was completely inconceivable to see Hezbollah's flag in Sunni-dominated countries such as the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, but quickly gained stellar popularity and its leader Hannan Nazrallah achieved a status that reached the level of Nassers. This popularity was not limited to the Muslim population. Christian and secular Arabs in not only Lebanon and Palestine but the entire Arab world also expressed admiration for Hezbollah's efforts, which in a few weeks destroyed the image Israel had built over 50 years that its army (IDF) was invincible. Israel launched after 1 week of terrorist bombings of the Lebanon land war and declared it would occupy southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, but Hezbollah's resistance to the invasion force was so fierce and well prepared that both Israeli elite forces and reservists were repeatedly beaten and forced to retreat out.

In that sense, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was right in his view that the war would reshape the situation in the Middle East. It showed that even though Israel had unconditional air supremacy, its land forces could be run on flight, and at the same time the war intensified opposition to the United States and Israel. The well-educated middle class in Lebanon now turned openly toward the United States, having for decades held the United States as its ideal. The reason was its open support for Israel's destruction of Lebanon. In the Arab dictatorship states that are allied with the United States - Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt - the rulers fear this development because it also undermines their own positions of power.

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