Israel. The decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was made by President Donald Trump in December 2017, and on May 14, the new embassy was inaugurated as Israel celebrated its 70th national day. However, the inauguration led to strong protests from the Palestinians, who saw this as a recognition that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. The protests became the bloodiest in four years with nearly 60 dead and over 1,000 injured on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The damnation of the outside world did not wait, only the UN would take two months. On June 14, 120 of 193 countries in the General Assembly condemned Israeli action (only eight countries voted against, while 43 abstained).
|Land area||20,770 km²|
|Residents per km²||417.7|
|Official language||Hebrew and Arabic|
|Income per capita||$ 36,400|
|ISO 3166 code||IL|
|Time zone UTC||+ 2|
|Geographic coordinates||31 30 N, 34 45 O|
In March, the conflict with Palestine flared up again. Tens of thousands of Palestinians went out and demonstrated at the end of March. This is at the urging of Hamas, who declared a six-week protest. At least 17 people were killed on Good Friday, March 30, and more than 1,400 were injured in clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to the soldiers who “protected the country’s borders” with the words: “Well done, our soldiers.” According to Countryaah.com, Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel, a country located in Western Asia. The conflict continued into April with more casualties.
In July, Israeli fighter aircraft carried out the largest military operation since the Gaza war in 2014. According to Israel, it wanted to “take vigorous measures against the violence in Gaza”. More than 40 targets belonging to the terror-stamped Islamist movement Hamas were attacked. Hamas, for its part, responded by firing rockets and grenades at southern Israel. Shortly after the attacks, Israel and the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza agreed on a ceasefire. It was a peace agreement drawn up by, among others, Egypt.
In November, the Israeli air strikes against Gaza continued, followed by ceasefire. This time, Prime Minister Netanyahu was heavily criticized by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman for being too vague. Lieberman said the cease-fire was “a capitulation to terror” and resigned from the post of Minister of Defense. This led to a smaller government crisis in the country, with the risk of re-election. Education Minister Naftali Bennett had threatened to dismiss the government if he did not become Defense Minister after Lieberman’s departure. Bennett then changed and the Netanyahu government could remain. But on December 24, the hard-pressed Prime Minister announced that Parliament would be dissolved and that new elections be held in April 2019.
In July, the Israeli parliament passed a law defining the country as the “nation state of the Jewish people” where the Jewish people have “exclusive right to self-determination” in Israel. In addition, the law states that Jewish settlements in occupied territory are of national interest. Critics believe the new law is racist.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has been suspected of corruption and bribery for over a year. He is suspected of receiving, among other things, precious gifts from political supporters, including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. In addition, Netanyahu should have treated the telecommunications company Bezeq favorably against receiving positive media coverage by a media company owned by Bezeq. In February, the police therefore recommended that the Prime Minister be prosecuted. It is not only Netanyahu but also his son Yair and his wife Sara who are suspected of corruption. In a telephone conversation, Yair Netanyahu is said to have revealed his father’s corruption in connection with a controversial gas deal. In June, Sara Netanyahu was indicted for fraud and adultery against the principal, suspected of having used government assets worth SEK 1 million for catering services in the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem. In December, prosecution for both Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu was recommended for the third time, but the prosecutor has not yet decided.
Occupations in the occupied area continued this year as well. In January, it was decided to approve over 1,100 settlements on the West Bank, at the end of May a little over 2,000, and in July another 400 in Geva Binyamin. Today, 500,000 Israelis live on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In September, Israel, which won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Toy” by singer Netta, was informed in September that the 2019 competition will not be held in Jerusalem as desired. According to the decision of the European Broadcasting Union EBU, it will instead be Tel Aviv – a slightly less controversial decision, since the majority of the outside world still sees Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital.