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Jun 6, 2012

Israel announces plans for new settler homes

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Wednesday said it would build 851 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank hours after parliament rejected a bill that proposed legalising all settler apartments on privately owned Palestinian land.

Palestinians fear that the settlements, built on land Israel captured in a 1967 war, will deny them a viable state, and have refused to return to peace talks frozen since 2010 until their expansion is halted.

Jun 6, 2012

Netanyahu weathers settlement showdown in parliament

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a battle in parliament on Wednesday over an attempt by far-right legislators to legalise all Jewish settler homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

The right-wing premier had pledged to abide by a Supreme Court ruling and remove five settler apartment houses erected on disputed tracts in the settlement of Beit El.

Jun 6, 2012

Netanyahu faces settlement showdown in parliament

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got legal approval on Wednesday for his plan to remove five settler buildings erected on private Palestinian land and was expected to win a showdown in parliament over the issue later in the day.

The right-wing leader made the proposal after being thrust into a political minefield by a Supreme Court ruling that determined the apartment houses in Beit El settlement in the occupied West Bank were built illegally and must be demolished by July 1.

May 8, 2012

Netanyahu surprise gives Israel grand coalition

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a unity government on Tuesday in a surprise move that could give him a freer hand to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and seek peace with the Palestinians.

The coalition deal, negotiated secretly over the past days and sealed at a private meeting overnight, means the centrist Kadima party will join Netanyahu’s rightist coalition, creating a majority with 94 of parliament’s 120 seats.

May 8, 2012

Israeli coalition talks kept secret for days

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A quiet word from a visitor paying a condolence call to Benjamin Netanyahu may have been the seed that sprouted into a surprise Israeli unity government deal.

Last week, the prime minister was sitting “shiva” a seven-day Jewish period of mourning, for his 102-year-old father, when Shaul Mofaz, head of the centrist Kadima party, came to Netanyahu’s Jerusalem apartment to express his sympathies.

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.

    • 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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