Chronology: Israel

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See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Affairs, Sudan

Apr. 17: The Israeli Police established a new unit to enforce demolition and relocation orders for the Bedouin community in the Negev. The formation of this unit came on the heels of a decision to relocate some 30,000 Bedouin in the Negev who live in areas not recognized by the government as residential locations. [Haaretz, 4/17]

Apr. 25: Navi Pillay, the UN commissioner for human rights, listed Israel among the countries she claimed restricted the activities of human rights groups. Also included on the list were Zimbabwe, Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Venezuela. Pillay included Israel on the list due to a bill which was approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation six months ago, which would have limited funding by foreign governments for NGOs in Israel. [Haaretz, 4/30]

Apr. 28: Yuval Diskin, former head of Israel's Shin Bet internal security service, harshly criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak over their handling of the Iran issue. Diskin claimed that Netanyahu and Barak were acting "messianic" in their desire for war with Iran, and said that "I have no faith in the prime minister, nor in the defense minister." Diskin's comments echoed those made by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who said that attacking Iran was "the stupidest idea I have ever heard." [Haaretz, 4/29]

Apr. 30: Israel began construction of a two-kilometer long, ten-meter high wall along its border with Lebanon, in conjunction with UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) and the Lebanese army. Israeli public radio noted that the wall was intended to protect Israeli inhabitants of Metulla from fire coming from Lebanon, especially sniper fire from Kfar Kila. [AJE, 4/30]

May 1: Tzipi Livni, former head of the centrist Kadima party and a leading opposition figure, quit parliament after losing control of Kadima to Shaul Mofaz. [NYT, 5/1]

May 4: Israel released Hagai Amir, brother of the man who assassinated late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after serving over 16 years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement. Amir was convicted of assisting his brother with Rabin's assassination and was further accused of plotting attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and threatening to kill then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2006. [AJE, 5/4]

May 8: Prime Minister Netanyahu formed a unity government by bringing in centrist party Kadima, led by Shaul Mofaz, creating a decisive majority in parliament with 94 out of 120 seats. Netanyahu noted that the coalition would focus on redrafting the budget, electoral reform, and the downsizing of military exemptions for certain segments of Israeli society. Undisputed control of the Knesset also gave Netanyahu a freer hand in dealing with Iran and in opening up talks with the Palestinians. [Reuters, 5/8]

May 17: President Obama directed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to fulfill Israeli requests for another $70 million to help pay for the Iron Dome anti-missile system. [AJE, 5/18]

May 23: Racially-motivated riots broke out in Tel Aviv following a demonstration of thousands of Israelis against the recent arrival of roughly 60,000 African asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan. [The Guardian, 5/23]

June 4: Israeli arsonists set fire to a building in Jerusalem housing Eritrean immigrants and spray painted "get out of the neighborhood" in Hebrew above the entrance. Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a swiftcondemnation of the attack. [Reuters, 6/4]

June 7: Jerusalem's District Court gave clearance to deport roughly 1,000 South Sudanese nationals who had crossed into Israel illegally. The decision was in accordance with the wishes of Israel's interior minister Eli Yishai and was opposed by several Israeli NGOs. [Haaretz, 6/7]

June 11: Israel implemented the first stage of its emergency plan to intern and deport thousands of African migrants who had crossed illegally into the country via the Sinai desert. …