The Crisis In The Middle East

Israel swears in ‘Unity Government’Priority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : West Bank and its location

Mains level : Unity Government


Israel’s Parliament swore in its new unity government led by PM Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz, ending the longest political crisis in their nation’s history.

The strategic location of Gaza strip, West Bank, Dead Sea etc. creates a hotspot for a possible map based prelims question.  Consider this PYQ from 2015 CSP:

Q. The area known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to:

a) Central Asia
b) Middle East
c) South-East Asia
d) Central Africa

What is a Unity Government?

  • A national unity government, government of national unity (GNU), or national union government is a broad coalition government consisting of all parties (or all major parties) in the legislature.
  • Such a coalition is usually formed during a time of war or another national emergency.
  • A general coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate, reducing the dominance of any one party within that “coalition”.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Discuss the role and significance of Leader of Opposition and the Opposition Party and their constructive criticism in a Parliamentary form of government.

What is the Israeli deal?

  • Israel’s unity government starts work amid the coronavirus pandemic and after a political crisis that saw three inconclusive elections and left the country in political limbo for more than 500 days.
  • The coalition government was agreed last month between veteran right-wing leader Netanyahu and the centrist Gantz, a former army chief.
  • The incoming government has aimed to apply Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements.
  • The govt. now aims to push on with controversial plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

Significance

  • Netanyahu said that it’s time to apply the Israeli law and write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism citing the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • Such a move is seen likely to cause international uproar and inflame tensions in the West Bank.
  • The region is home to nearly three million Palestinians and some 400,000 Israelis living in settlements considered illegal under international law.

Back2Basics

West Bank Annexation plans

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

The strategic location of Gaza strip, West Bank, Dead Sea etc. creates a hotspot for a possible map based prelims question.  Consider this PYQ from 2015 CSP:

Q. The area known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to:

a) Central Asia
b) Middle East
c) South-East Asia
d) Central Africa

Where is West Bank Located?

  • The West Bank is located to the west of the Jordan River.
  • It is a patch of land about one and a half times the size of Goa, was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • Israel snatched it back during the Six-Day War of 1967 and has occupied it ever since.
  • It is a landlocked territory, bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the south, west, and north.
  • Following the Oslo Accords between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the 1990s, part of the West Bank came under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
  • With varying levels of autonomy, the Palestinian Authority controls close to 40 percent of West Bank today, while the rest is controlled by Israel.

Back2Basics: Gaza Strip

  • The Gaza Strip is a small boot-shaped territory along the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Israel.
  • A couple of years later in 2007, Hamas, an anti-Israel military group, took over Gaza Strip. The militia group is often involved in violent clashes with the Israeli Defence Forces.
  • While Palestine has staked claim to both territories — West Bank and Gaza Strip — Israel’s objective has been to keep expanding Jewish settlements in these regions.

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