Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has told the head of Unilever that Israel will “act aggressively” against Ben & Jerry’s over the subsidiary’s decision to stop selling its ice-cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested East Jerusalem. Ben & Jerry’s said on Monday it had informed its longstanding licensee – responsible for manufacturing and distributing the ice cream in Israel – that it will not renew the licence agreement when it expires at the end of 2022.
Rights activists, journalists and lawyers around the world have been targeted with phone malware sold to authoritarian governments by an Israeli surveillance firm, media reports say. They are on a list of some 50,000 phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to clients of the company, NSO Group, leaked to major news outlets. NSO denies any wrongdoing.
Israel reported on Monday a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in preventing infections and symptomatic illness but said it remained highly effective in preventing serious illness. The decline coincided with the spread of the delta variant and the end of social distancing restrictions in Israel. The vaccine was 93 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness from the coronavirus.
The long and divisive reign of Benjamin Netanyahu, officially ended on Sunday night, as the country’s Parliament gave its vote of confidence to a precarious coalition government stitched together by widely disparate anti-Netanyahu forces. Naftali Bennett, a 49-year-old former aide to Mr. Netanyahu who opposes a Palestinian state and is considered to the right of his old ally, replaced him as prime minister after winning by just a single vote.
Israel appears to be on the brink of a new political era after an awkward coalition of parties from across the political spectrum announced it had formed a government. Taking negotiations up to the wire, opposition leader Yair Lapid informed the country’s president late on Wednesday that he had struck a power-sharing deal with a broad grouping of right, center and left-wing parties.
The far-right Israeli politician Naftali Bennett will be the country’s next prime minister under a proposed power-sharing deal intended to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the opposition, Yair Lapid, has confirmed. Lapid said in a speech on Monday that his efforts to forge a coalition of ideologically opposed parties could lead to a new government within days, and with it, Netanyahu’s removal from office after 12 years in power.
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights said on Thursday that Israel’s deadly strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that Islamist group Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel. Michelle Bachelet said her office had verified the deaths of 270 Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 68 children, during violence this month.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said America will reopen its consulate in Jerusalem – as he also pledged to rally international support to rebuild Gaza. The consulate’s reopening will restore ties with Palestinians, which were downgraded under President Trump’s administration. Mr Blinken said it would be “an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people”.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a Middle East tour on Tuesday aimed at shoring up the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas. The 11-day Gaza war killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished coastal territory. Blinken is expected to focus on coordinating reconstruction without engaging with Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, who are considered terrorists by Israel and Western countries, including the U.S.
In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, President Joe Biden “expressed his support for a cease-fire,” according to a White House readout of the conversation. The shift came after 29 Democratic and independent senators issued a joint statement on the issue earlier Monday. At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in a week of airstrikes, including 59 children and 35 women.