“Today the foundation was laid for an extreme right-wing government led by [Likud Chairman Benjamin] Netanyahu. This is not our way, and there is nothing for us in such a government,” Kadima leader Tzipi Livni told party members on Thursday, after 65 MKs announced their decision to support Netanyahu for the post of prime minister-designate
While the make-up of the next government remains a question mark in Israel, it appears that the United States and the European Union have already weighed in with a clear preference for a unity government that includes Kadima and Likud.
Front-runners Tzipi Livni and Benjamin Netanyahu made last-minute appeals to Israel’s voters Tuesday, as polls opened in a general election that pollsters have said is too close to call.
This weekend Israel’s “troika” — composed of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni — held an unusual meeting to discuss the negotiations for a cease-fire deal in the Gaza Strip. One of the main points of the deal is thought to be the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and the reopening of border crossings.
Hamas representatives held a press conference in Cairo Wednesday evening following talks with Egyptian officials, and announced that they have accepted in principle an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire agreement to end the fighting between the Islamist group and Israel in the Gaza Strip.
Israel and Egypt are expected to enter intensive negotiations in the coming days in an attempt to agree on a mechanism that will bring the fighting in the Gaza Strip to an end. Meanwhile, the cabinet approved Wednesday a continuation of Operation Cast Lead.
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers from the Golani brigade were killed and about 20 others wounded, one critically, after an errant IDF tank shell hit a building in which they were operating. The IDF is now surrounding Gaza on the three land sides and maintaining a sea blockade. The Gaza Strip has also been sliced in two in the area where the Israeli settlement of Netzarim once stood.
Israel entered the second week of its offensive against rockets from Hamas-ruled Gaza on Saturday evening by launching a much-expected ground operation into the coastal strip. Shortly after the ground operation began, a heavy exchange of fire was reported between Israeli troops and Hamas militants inside the Gaza Strip.
Israel launched Saturday morning the start of a massive offensive against Qassam rocket and mortar fire on its southern communities, targeting dozens of buildings belonging to the ruling Hamas militant group. Palestinian medical sources said that at least 205 people had been killed in the strikes, which began with almost no warning at around 11:30 a.m. local time.
Israel is kicking off a public relations campaign with the intention of widening a basis for international support of a military offensive on the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has instructed Israeli representatives abroad to begin diplomatic efforts focused on members of the United Nations Security Council and Europeans states.