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Israel

Yearbook 1998

1998 IsraelIsrael. According to Countryaah, Israel was characterized during the year by a political crisis that culminated just before the turn of the year when the government's position weakened to the extent that new elections were announced until May 17, 1999. The explanation was a major dissatisfaction with the unpredictability of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a politician.

In January, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister David Levy resigned from the government with reference to the lack of progress in the peace process. His party, Gesher, with five seats in parliament ended up supporting the coalition, which thus gained a minimal majority in parliament: 61-59. The location was delicate. Nationalists threatened to leave the government if Netanyahu ordered a military withdrawal from the West Bank, while liberal government members threatened to do the same if the withdrawal expired at the time.

1998 Israel

In October, the so-called Wye Agreement, where Netanyahu agreed with the Palestinians on a withdrawal. That this was stopped helped little; the extremist nationalist small parties stopped supporting the government. Netanyahu and the new Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon announced that new elections must be held, which in turn prompted Finance Minister Yaqov Neeman to leave the government. Among those who previously left Likud were several liberal front figures such as former Justice and Finance Minister Dan Meridor and Tel Aviv's former mayor Roni Milo. They were supposed to liaise within a new center block with the departed commander Amnon Shahak. The result was a changed political landscape, where Likud and the Social Democratic Labor Party faced competition from a middle bloc and a reinforced outer right wing. The new center's strongest candidate for the Prime Minister's post was Shahak, but the 1999 election was difficult to predict. For example, opposition to Netanyahu within Likud was so great that it was highly uncertain whether he would become the party's prime ministerial candidate.

Netanyahu was also subjected to severe pressure from the outside world. The United States, in harsh terms, demanded Israeli compromises vis-角-vis the Palestinians, and once the Wyoming agreement came to an end, the Americans were very annoyed that Israel demanded that spy Jonathan Pollard be released from American prison. In February, it was discovered that the intelligence service Mossad conducted a failed operation in Switzerland, and Israel apologized to the Swiss. Netanyahu set up a dinner with British Foreign Minister Robin Cook in March after shaking hands with a Palestinian politician during a visit to Har Homa.

In May, the United Nations Anti-Torture Committee ruled that the Shin Beth security service had used methods that violate the UN Convention on Torture. At the same time, the European Commission urged Union members to stop importing Israeli settlements into the occupied territories. In July, the UN Security Council called for the withdrawal of plans to expand the border of Jerusalem so that the city's area was sixfold. In September, the human rights organization accused Amnesty International Israel of human rights violations.

In a vote in parliament in March, Ezer Weizman was re-elected president for another five-year term. He defeated Netanyahu's candidate, MP Shaul Amor. During his first term in office, Weizman had pushed the boundaries of the political office.

IDF massacre in Qana

The Israeli Air Force conducted a massacre of civilians in Qana City on Sunday night, July 30. 10 years earlier, the Israeli army carried out another massacre in the same city when Israel attacked a UN camp, killing 106 Palestinian women and children who have sought refuge there. The initial reports of the July 30 massacre spoke of over 60 people killed, similar to the two families with a total of 63 members who had sought refuge in the building that Israel was bombing. It turned out in a few days according to. Human Rights Watch that 22 had survived. 28 killed were immediately excavated from the ruins - of which 16 were children. The remaining 13 mentions - when HRW visited the city - remained buried under the rubble.

The July 30 massacre triggered condemnation in most of the world. The English, French, Spanish and Swedish governments condemned the Israeli massacre and, together with the EU's foreign coordinator, Javier Solana, called for immediate ceasefire. Throughout the Arab world, the massacre was strongly condemned - including by the US's close allies, Jordan and Egypt. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon on the situation and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on that occasion:We must condemn this action in the strongest possible way. I am deeply concerned that my previous appeals for the cessation of fighting have not been followed, with the result that innocent lives continue to be taken and innocents continue to suffer. I therefore reiterate my request for a ceasefire. Action is needed so that more children, women and men do not die of a conflict over which they have no control. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez stated that the massacre is an expression of Israeli state terrorism and fascism. Venezuela has since severed its diplomatic relations with Israel. The Lebanese government declared US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice undesirable in the country, which she should have visited on July 30 during her visit to the region. The United States government declared: "Israel has the right to protect itself". Israel lamented the massacre, and then sought to legitimize it with an allegation that Qana was a Hezbollah abode and that the civilian population had been ordered by Israel to leave the city. On the same day, however, the UN announced that the humanitarian organizations were unable to send relief and evacuation convoys into southern Lebanon due to a lack of security guarantees from Israel. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller failed to criticize Israel for the massacre and merely expressed dismay at the "meaningless loss of human life". At the same time, Møller failed to demand immediate ceasefire in the fighting. However, the Danish Foreign Minister acknowledged that Israel's war against Lebanon does not weaken Hisbollah, but on the contrary strengthens the organization.

The UN Security Council expressed dismay at the massacre late Sunday. US UN Ambassador John Bolton routinely barred criticism of Israel for the massacre. The United States wanted Israel to continue its war in Lebanon. As a result of the condemnation of the world, Israel declared on Sunday that it suspended the bombing of southern Lebanon for 48 hours, but continued the war crimes in the rest of the country. Lebanon on Monday, July 31, declared National Mourning Day for the victims of Qana.

Israel's bombing of southern Lebanon caused Hezbollah to simultaneously fire its rockets at Israeli cities. Hezbollah had argued since the start of the war that it only fired Israel with rockets in response to Israel's attack. Prior to Israel's start of the war on July 12, no rockets fell on northern Israel. Only when Israel itself broke its bomb stop on the 2nd day did Hezbollah slowly resume its rocket fire.

In a recent desperate attempt to reverse the war's development, more than 10,000 Israeli soldiers invaded southern Lebanon after the bombing ceased, in an attempt to conquer Lebanese land. They encountered stiff resistance from Lebanese militia groups. On August 1, an Israeli commando unit attacked Baalbek 100km north of the border, abducted 5 Lebanese and killed 19 civilians. On the same day, 230 rockets rained down over northern Israel. The highest since the start of the war. Shortly before, Israeli Prime Minister had declared that Israel had largely eliminated Hezbollah's ability to protect Israel. A claim that did not quite match reality. On August 3, Israel resumed its terrorist bombings of Beirut.

Denmark

Denmark supported the start of the war behind the US and Israel, and despite the Danish seat in the UN Security Council, the Danish government failed to use this opportunity to support efforts to end the war. The official discourse was that "Israel's attack on Lebanon was not disproportionate" (Left Foreign Minister Troels Lund Poulsen), "the conflict could not stop until Hezbollah was defeated" (Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller), and Denmark was at an EU foreign minister meeting to prevent the EU from working for an immediate ceasefire. The EU should only work to stop the fighting.

Under the bourgeois Danish government, Danish arms exports had exploded. F-16 fighter jets reach these Danish weapons to Israel as well.

While foreign media quickly developed a more nuanced coverage of the war, the Danish media - with few exceptions - served as a spokesman for Israeli military propaganda. The Jutland Post went so far as to declare "We are all Israelis". For more nuanced information and news sources, see: BBC World coverage, CNN, al-Jazeera and the Lebanese bourgeois daily Daily Star.

Unstable situation

After the war, Israel was thrown into a turbulent political situation. Justice Haim Ramon had to resign after sexually harassing an 18-year-old Israeli soldier. It was revealed that the commander-in-chief of war crimes against Lebanon, General Chief of Staff Dan Halutz immediately after the Israeli government launched the attack on Lebanon on July 12, sold its shares in order to avoid the 20-30% price drop the Israeli stock exchange was exposed to during the outbreak of war. Justice was greater than patriotism. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was the subject of almost daily demonstrations. from the reservists who had been called to war, demonstrating against the absurdity of the war and the many losses. 120 Israeli soldiers were killed. Of those alone, 33 killed in the last two days when Israel sent 40.

The Lebanon war was the longest Israel had led, and at the same time the war in which it suffered the greatest political and military defeat. Not even the two arrested soldiers who were officially the cause of the war were released. Of the two sides, Lebanon and Hezbollah complied with the ceasefire, while Israel broke it on a number of occasions. The most serious breach occurred on August 19, when Israel conducted an offensive action deep into the Bekaa Valley. However, the action was fought back by Lebanese forces and 3 Israeli soldiers were killed. Military analysts considered the action a desperate Israeli attempt to either free the two arrested Israeli soldiers, or capture a senior Hezbollah member who could be used in a prisoner exchange against the two Israelis.

In Lebanon, the Israelis were most interested in coming out again as soon as possible, and, therefore, surprisingly allowed 15,000 Lebanese soldiers to move south of the Litani River. At the same time, large Israeli troop forces withdrew from the country. Hezbollah began distributing money to the civilian victims of the war in southern Lebanon. Each family received US $ 12,000. The United States also made money available, but the Lebanese declined to accept this support on the grounds that they were first bombed with North American bombs and afterwards the United States tried to buy dollars with dollars. It didn't work. The Gulf states, too, agreed with support, however, which had to be channeled through the Lebanese government. Therefore, despite efforts by the United States and reactionary Arab states, Hezbollah's position after the ceasefire was further strengthened. Opinion surveys in i.a.

During the UN Security Council resolution negotiations, France had promised to head UNIFIL's multinational enlargement to 15,000 soldiers in southern Lebanon, but was subsequently given cold feet. The country was therefore violently shunned by neoconservative circles in the United States. The United States, however, did not want to join the force itself after being bombed out of Lebanon in 1983. France's concerns were due to the uncertainties in the resolution on disarming Hezbollah. The resolution does not clearly require Hezbollah's disarmament. However, this is a clear requirement from the US and Israel. But France itself had bad experiences from its presence in Lebanon in 1982-83, and did not want to be held accountable for an impossible disarmament that Israel could not even cope with. France first agreed to extend its participation in UNIFIL to 1700 men when it was stated that UNIFIL should not take care of the disarmament of Hezbollah. In turn, Italy promised to provide 3,000 soldiers.

 

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