Where: Jerusalem, Israel
April 1, 2009 : Benjamin Netanyahu became the prime minister of Israel for a second time, to head a coalition government. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed the hope that the new government would work for peace, and towards establishing an independent Palestinian state. The United Nations is part of what is called the ‘Quartet of Middle East peace brokers’ along with the United States, Russia and the European Union.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has been going on since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The conflict involves territories as well issues of religion and nationality. Israel is a Jewish nation, and the Palestinians are Islamic Arabs.
It is only two months since Israel ended its attacks on Gaza, a Palestinian area. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed in the attacks, many of them women and children. Mr. Netanyahu spoke of pursuing a final peace accord, but made no mention of a future Palestinian state. The Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has said that Netanyahu “does not believe in peace”. There are fears that his thoughts may turn to war on another front. He spoke of Iran’s nuclear program presenting a threat to his country, and said that every effort would be made to put a stop to it.
An opinion poll revealed that 54 per cent of Israelis are disappointed with their new government, mainly because of its large size. Thirty ministers were inducted into the cabinet after weeks of bargaining to keep all the coalition partners happy.
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