Israel under prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Key dates

Jerusalem, Israel Updated: Nov 15, 2018, 06:43 PM(IST)

File photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The right-wing Likud chief Netanyahu became prime minister for a second time in March 2009, after a first stint between 1996 and 1999.

Here are key dates in the premiership of Benjamin Netanyahu since he returned to office in 2009.

Anchored to the right

The right-wing Likud chief Netanyahu becomes prime minister for a second time in March 2009, after a first stint between 1996 and 1999.

His governing coalition is firmly anchored to the right, with the post of a foreign minister going to ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman.

In June, Netanyahu accepts for the first time the principle of a Palestinian state, while imposing conditions such as its demilitarisation, which are immediately rejected by the Palestinians.

He rejects an end to Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Gaza wars

In November 2012 Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defence with a missile strike that kills a top Hamas commander in Gaza City. 

In the ensuing eight-day flare-up, 177 Palestinians and six Israelis are killed before an Egypt-brokered truce takes effect.

In July 2014, Israel opens Operation Protective Edge against the Gaza Strip with the aim of ending rocket fire and destroying militant tunnels.

It leaves 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

In late March 2018, mass protests start along the Gaza-Israel border prompting a deadly response from the Israeli army. The worst escalation between the two sides since the 2014 war erupts in November, with barrages of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli air strikes. 

By mid-November at least 234 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers had been killed in the months of unrest.

Most right-wing government

In May 2015, Netanyahu fresh from victory in March general elections, wins a confidence vote in parliament for his fourth government.

In May 2016, he signs a coalition agreement with the Yisrael Beitenu party and its leader Lieberman, naming him defence minister.

The government is the most right-wing in Israeli history.

In June 2017, Israel starts building its first new government-sanctioned settlement in the occupied territories since 1991 as it presses ahead with settlement expansion in defiance of international concern.

Corruption allegations 

In February 2018. police recommend the indictment of Netanyahu following long-running investigations into two cases of alleged corruption.

Netanyahu, who proclaims his innocence, in October undergoes a 12th round of questioning although formal charges have not been laid. 

The same month, his wife Sara goes on trial on separate allegations of fraud and breach of trust.

US quits Iran nuclear deal

In late April 2018, as the United States considers whether to pull out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, Netanyahu unveils on live television what he says is new "proof" of an Iranian weapons plan.

When President Donald Trump quits the deal in May, Netanyahu praises his "bold" decision.

US embassy moves to Jerusalem

In May 2018, the United States opens its new embassy in Jerusalem, after Trump ordered its transfer from Tel Aviv in February in a move that infuriates the Palestinians who also have claims in the holy city.

A jubilant Netanyahu praises Trump as having made history.

Nation state for Jews

In July 2018, parliament adopts a law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, making Hebrew the official language and downgrading the status of Arabic.

It sparks outrage among Arabs and Palestinians but Netanyahu defends the law, calling its approval a "decisive moment" in Israeli history.

Defence minister quits

In November 2018, Netanyahu accepts an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas to end the worst escalation between the two sides since the 2014 war.

Lieberman, the defence minister, rejects the deal and resigns, removing five seats from Netanyahu's parliamentary coalition and leaving the premier with a one-seat majority.

It prompts speculation of snap elections before the scheduled date of November 2019.

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