UPDATES 6 pm Israel time Wednesday:
*There is a frenzy of activity in northern Israel this evening. Israelis are lining up for gas masks as concern over the ever-widening war in Syria has been heightened today with unconfirmed reports of an Israeli air strike on a Hezbollah weapons convoy crossing from Syria into Lebanon.
The international media is reporting that several groups of Israeli jets entered Lebanese airspace between 4:30 pm yesterday afternoon and 7:55 am this morning. The speculation is that the jets struck a convoy carrying either chemical or advanced conventional weapons raided by Hezbollah from Syrian repositories.
Keep checking israelstreet breaking news throughout the day.
*The process of forming a new governmental coalition began today. All of the parties that won seats in the recent elections will be meeting with Israel President Shimon Peres at the President’s House in Jerusalem to communicate to him whom they want to lead the government.
The parties are talking to Peres in descending order according to the number of seats that they won. Likud representatives talked to Peres today because Likud won the greatest number of seats; Peres’ final meeting tomorrow will be with Kadima that won only two seats.
The most interesting news about forming a new coalition is that Lapid and Bennett have apparently joined forces to create a “block” against the orthodox “block” of Shas and United Torah Judaism. The purpose of the Lapid-Bennett block is unclear: is it merely to make sure that the orthodox do not end up controlling important ministries such as Finance and Interior–or is it to keep the orthodox out of the government altogether?
In either case, it is expected that Lapid, Bennett, Shas, and United Torah Judaism will all recommend to Peres that Netanyahu be the next Prime Minister.
Your humble servant expects that, at the least, the new Netanyahu coalition will have 73 members (Likud 31, Future-Lapid 19, Jewish Home-Bennett 12, Shas 11). If parties like Kadima, Livni, and United Torah Judaism join the coalition there could be well over 80 coalition members.
According to elections law, after Peres hears the recommendations of all the parties, he will then ask the person with the best chance of forming a coalition to form one (in this case Netanyahu). Netanyahu will then have 28 days to do so (the 28 days can be extended by two additional weeks at Peres’ discretion).
Regular readers of this blog know that the so-called “United Nations Human Rights Council” in Geneva is one of the most virulently anti-Israel organizations on the planet. Ever since its creation in 2006, the UNHRC has done little except pass resolution after resolution castigating, criticizing, and condemning Israel.
On June 30, 2006, a few weeks after meeting for the first time, the UNHRC passed its first resolution against Israel. Today, more than 35 anti-Israel resolutions later, the Council only lists one country in the world on its permanent agenda for criticism: Israel. Virtually no other country in the world has been discussed much less criticized.
Yesterday, Israel was supposed to show up in Geneva at the UNHRC for yet another public condemnation. As a member of the U.N., Israel is “required” to undergo what are called “Universal Periodic Reviews” of its human rights situation.
Israel refused to appear.
This refusal, the first ever exercised by a U.N. member country, threw the UNHCR and so-called international “human rights” organizations into a tizzy. At the end of the meeting, the Council urged its current president, Remigiusz Henczel of Poland, to try to persuade Israel to resume cooperation with the Council.
The most ludicrous comment of day, however, came from Peter Splinter of Amnesty International who opined: “If the Israeli government is not careful, it will ruin an important global human rights process for everybody.”
What a joke. The only “human rights” process that will be ruined is the process of endlessly criticizing Israel.
Your humble servant would like to heartily applaud Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for initiating the process of cutting off all connection with the UNHRC, and the Netanyahu government for following through. It is an action long overdue.
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