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May 7, 2012

Israel set for early vote as it ponders Iran challenge

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s parliament convened on Monday to dissolve itself and set a September 4 election that opinion polls predict will renew Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership mandate as Israel confronts Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The looming ballot has deepened doubts about the right-wing prime minister’s threats to attack Iran and raised the question of whether his window of opportunity is now too narrow.

May 7, 2012

Netanyahu says wants Israeli election on September 4

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for an early general election on September 4, a vote opinion polls say will renew his leadership mandate as Israel confronts Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“My intention is to form as wide a coalition as possible in order to bring about stability and lead Israel in the face of the great challenges still ahead of us,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks.

May 6, 2012

Netanyahu likely to announce September 4 Israeli election

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce on Sunday an early general election on September 4, a spokesman for his Likud party said, a ballot likely to strengthen his hand as Israel confronts Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The next national vote was not due until October 2013, but new legislation that might force ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military and an upcoming budget debate have threatened to unravel a governing coalition of religious and nationalist parties once seen as one of the most stable in Israel’s history.

Apr 29, 2012

Israeli election talk drowns out Iran debate

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dropped heavy hints on Sunday of an early election, shifting the national focus from a former spymaster’s accusations that he could start a rash war with Iran.

The next general election in Israel is not due until October 2013, but a new conscription law that might force ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the army and an upcoming budget debate could crack open his coalition of religious and nationalist parties.

Apr 25, 2012

Israel’s top general says Iran unlikely to make bomb

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s military chief said he does not believe Iran will decide to build an atomic bomb and called its leaders “very rational” – comments that clashed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assessment.

Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz’s remarks, in an interview published on Wednesday in the left-wing Haaretz newspaper, drew little attention in Israel on its annual remembrance day for fallen soldiers, when political discourse is suspended.

Apr 24, 2012

Netanyahu says backs “contiguous” Palestinian state

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support on Tuesday for the first time for Palestinians to establish a contiguous state, saying their future country should not look like “Swiss cheese”.

But only hours earlier, a ministerial committee in his right-wing government granted Israeli legal status to three previously unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, drawing Palestinian and international criticism.

Apr 24, 2012

Israel legalizes three West Bank outposts

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Tuesday it had granted legal status to three settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, a move that could shore up the governing coalition but which drew sharp Palestinian and European criticism.

Israeli officials played down the decision taken by a ministerial committee late on Monday, rejecting accusations that the government had effectively created the first new Jewish settlements for more than 20 years.

Apr 24, 2012

Israel grants legal status to three West Bank outposts

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Tuesday it had granted legal status to three settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, a move that could shore up the governing coalition but which drew sharp Palestinian condemnation.

Israeli officials played down the decision taken by a ministerial committee late on Monday and rejected accusations that the government had effectively created the first new Jewish settlements for more than 20 years.

Apr 15, 2012

Israel moves to thwart pro-Palestinian “fly-in”

JERUSALEM, April 15 (Reuters) – More than 40 pro-Palestinian
activists reached Tel Aviv’s international airport on Sunday as
part of an attempted “fly-in” only to be detained as Israel
denied them entry and scrambled to stop other campaigners
boarding flights in Europe.

Israel’s decision to distribute “no-fly” lists to European
carriers and deploy of hundreds of police at Ben Gurion airport
underlined its deep concern over international campaigns against
its treatment of the Palestinians.

Apr 15, 2012

Israel moves to block pro-Palestinian “fly-in”

JERUSALEM, April 15 (Reuters) – A pro-Palestinian “fly-in”
to Tel Aviv got off to a slow start on Sunday after Israel
scrambled to block activists from boarding flights in Europe.

“Four activists have been detained after arriving on an El
Al flight from Paris and are being questioned at (Tel Aviv)
airport,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

    • About Jeffrey

      "Heller joined Reuters from United Press International in Tel Aviv in 1984 and transferred to London in 1987. He returned to the Middle East in 1992 as a senior sub-editor on the Middle East and Africa desk before taking up a post as correspondent, Jerusalem a year later. He is currently editor-in-charge in the Jerusalem bureau."
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