HonestReporting StaffDecember 2, 2020
In a preliminary vote, Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill to disperse the legislature and head towards a fourth election in two years. The move came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, announced Tuesday night that his Blue and White party would back a motion to dissolve parliament.
Netanyahu and Gantz earlier this year joined forces after the latter broke away from an alliance with Moshe Ya’alon and Yair Lapid, who is currently opposition leader. At the time, Gantz said he thought unity was necessary in order to combat the coronavirus crisis. Under the coalition agreement, he is slated to become premier next November.
While disagreement over the 2021 national budget is the ostensible reason for the current political impasse, most analysts agree that mutual distrust and constant bickering between Netanyahu and Gantz has paralyzed the government.
With Blue and White now favoring disbanding parliament unless Netanyahu makes unlikely concessions, a majority of lawmakers is expected on Wednesday to vote to bring down the Jewish state’s 35th government. However, the bill will subsequently have to pass three additional readings in the Knesset before Israelis are forced back to the polls, likely at the beginning of spring.
Iran’s parliament passed legislation requiring the country to suspend United Nations inspections and ignore other restraints on its nuclear program unless economic sanctions are lifted and Tehran is granted renewed access to global banking and oil markets within a month.
“Death to America! Death to Israel!,” Iranian lawmakers chanted after passing a draft of the bill in a session broadcast live on state radio. The move, which comes less than a week after the assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, is being construed by many as symbolic given that the final say on nuclear issues rests in the hands of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s demand that the United Nations Security Council condemn Fakhrizadeh’s targeted killing and take action against those responsible has gone unheeded.
The normalization deal between Israel and Sudan is reportedly at risk of falling apart due to a demand by Khartoum that the United States Congress pass legislation by the end of the year that would protect the North African country from terror-related lawsuits.
Sudan was the third Arab state — after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — to publicly agree to establish ties with Israel over the past three months. It did so under considerable pressure from the Trump Administration, which reportedly demanded that Khartoum normalize ties with the Jewish state in exchange for sanctions relief and access to international credit.
Sudan was placed on the US list of “state sponsors of terror” in 1993.
Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a spokesman for the Islamist terrorist group announced.
Sinwar, 58, is “following the advice of health authorities and taking precautionary measures,” Hazem Qassem said; this, without disclosing the Hamas chief’s condition.
Sinwar, a former head of the terror group’s security apparatus, became the organization’s leader in the Gaza Strip in 2017, six years after he was freed in a prisoner swap with Israel.
Authorities in the coastal Palestinian enclave have registered nearly 21,000 coronavirus cases and 111 deaths.
An Israeli woman with muscular dystrophy was elected to serve on a United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Odelia Fitoussi, 43, is the first Israeli to sit on the body comprising only nine people. She received support from 109 countries.
In response, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted:
For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Fitoussi, who was born with a genetic neuromuscular disorder known as SMA2, telling her that he appreciates the “abilities and skills that led her to be elected to a significant and important position in the international arena.”
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or CRPD, is a body of independent experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was signed by nearly every country in the world.
“I feel privileged to be a member of the CRPD, the place where Israel was a partner in creating a new language for people with disabilities, a language of rights, of pride in who you are, in our uniqueness as people with disabilities who enrich society with all the good we have built,” Fitoussi said in a statement.