In Brief: Coalition talks imperilled as Islamists withdraw amid violence

The Islamist Ra’am party announced on Monday that it was suspending coalition talks with the anti-Netanyahu “change bloc” in the wake of Hamas rocket fire from Gaza. The move represents a potentially major blow to the hopes for an anti-Netanyahu government, which began last week when the prime minister’s mandate expired after he failed to[…]

In Brief: Revolutionary Guards tighten grip as Iran looks to elections

A number of potential presidential candidates in Iran have emerged out of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), raising concerns regarding the further militarisation of the country’s politics. Hopefuls have until Saturday to formally register their status as a candidate ahead of the election on 18 June. Their names will then be handed to the[…]

In Brief: Israel and Lebanon move towards gas row agreement

  Israeli and Lebanese negotiators have restarted talks over disputed offshore gas reserves in the Mediterranean sea. Previous talks over the maritime border dispute  collapsed in October 2020 following an attempt by Beirut to extend its claims deep into what Israel considers its exclusive economic zone. Israel pushed back in November, with energy minister Yuval Steinitz[…]

Analysis: Hamas rockets reach Tel Aviv as tensions reach boiling point

  The past week has seen a major escalation of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, as confrontations and violence in Jerusalem have been followed by more than 1,000 rockets being fired indiscriminately into Israel by Gaza-based terror groups. Israel has responded with strikes targeted at Hamas in Gaza. What happened Tensions and low-level violence had[…]

In Brief: Biden endorses Arab normalisation with Israel

US president Joe Biden has expressed his support for the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Arab countries and Israel that has developed out of last year’s Abraham Accords. In a phone call with the UAE’s crown prince Mohamad bin Zayed Al Nahyen on Tuesday, Biden “underlined the strategic importance of the normalisation of relations between[…]

In Brief: Netanyahu’s government formation mandate expires

Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a coalition government following Israel’s March general election expired on Tuesday night. After 28 days of negotiations, Netanyahu announced that he had failed to persuade enough other parties to join a government led by his Likud party. Netanyahu’s efforts ultimately failed when Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the far-right Religious Zionism[…]

In Brief: Israel mourns its worst ever civilian disaster with 45 dead

Israel experienced its worst ever civilian disaster last week, when a stampede at Mount Meron in the northern Galilee led to the deaths of at least 45 people. More than 100,000 people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gathered at the annual Lag B’Omer celebrations, which include visits to the gravesite of the second century rabbi Shimon Bar[…]

Analysis: First Palestinian elections since 2006 postponed once again

Elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council and presidency, respectively scheduled for 22 May and 31 July, have been postponed indefinitely – and effectively cancelled. What happened Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced on Thursday that the elections, which would have been the first to take place since 2006, would be postponed. Most observers see the indefinite delay[…]

In Brief: Largest ever Israel-UAE commercial deal agreed

Israeli energy company Delek Drilling has signed an agreement to sell its 22 percent share in the offshore Tamar natural gas field to Abu Dhabi’s Mubdala Petroleum Company for $1.1 billion. The deal represents the largest and most significant commercial agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates since the two countries established diplomatic relations[…]