The Israeli legislative elections are to be held on September 17th, 2019 after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government in April 2019. Netanyahu was able to secure 60 seats in the Knesset but failed to reach the required number of seats (61) to form a government.
During the month of August, the MENA region has witnessed some political unrest and instability; In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees have been holding protests in for over six weeks following the Lebanese Ministry of Labor’s crackdown on undocumented foreign labor. Lebanese waste problem deepens amidst establishment of landfills around residential areas. In Syria, battles between the Syrian Army along with its allies and the opposition forces intensified and led to the Syrian Army advance on opposition strongholds and took over control of a number of towns in Idlib and Hama.
After eight months of negotiations, Saad Hariri finally formed a new Lebanese government. The Prime Minister will head the new 30-member government and will initiate urgent economic and political reforms. In a recent speech, Hariri stated that the economy will be the government’s main challenge moving forward.
Israel’s general election is coming up on April 9th and it could possibly facilitate a new era of politics in the region. Despite the fact that popular opinion still generally favors Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling center-right coalition, an opportunity for center-left challenger Benny Gantz rises in the midst of growing discontent. Whoever wins, however, will need to deal with brewing threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine that could escalate to a major conflict as well as increasing criticism from U.S. Politicians regarding Israel’s ties with China.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, ISF announced that a cross-border Hezbollah tunnel has been destroyed as part of the Operation Northern Shield. This was the first tunnel ISF has discovered to destroy tunnels crossing the “Blue Line,” the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations in June 2000 to verify that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon.
Residents of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria have been shaken, quite literally, during the past week by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks beginning in Jordan on Wednesday, July 4, and most recently experienced in Israel on Monday, July 9. Seismic activities are not abnormal for the area, occurring primarily in the Great Rift Valley, which extends from northern Syria to Mozambique. The area lies on the Dead Sea Transform fault system, a boundary that separates two major plate systems.
Mohamed Hamdan, also known as Abu Hamza, was targeted on Sun. 14th of January in a car bomb in the city of Sidon, southern Lebanon. According to reports, M. Hamdan survived the blast but was wounded in the attack, which required the amputation of his leg. Security sources and news channels claim that an explosive device weighing between 400g and 500g was placed under the seat of his car and was detonated as M. Hamdan was entering his vehicle.