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Israel under Netanyahu: key dates

Netanyahu will appear before the state prosecutor in early October

Israel under Netanyahu: key dates
Photo: AFP

Here are key dates in the Israeli governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu since 2009.

– To the right –

The right-wing Likud chief Netanyahu becomes prime minister for a second time in March 2009, after a first stint between 1996 and 1999.

He forms a coalition firmly anchored to the right, with the post of foreign minister going to ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman.

In March 2013, Netanyahu’s new governing coalition takes office after snap January polls, with a strong showing of hardliners in favour of Israeli construction on Palestinian land seized during the 1967 Six-Day War.

– Gaza wars –

In July 2014, Israel launches a military operation against the Hamas-led Gaza Strip with the aim of ending rocket fire and destroying smuggling tunnels used by militant groups.

The war leaves 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

– Netanyahu defies Obama –

In March 2015, Netanyahu defies US president Barack Obama, secretly arranging to address a joint meeting of the Republican-controlled US Congress where he tries to scupper the agreement between Iran and world powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme. 

Obama refuses to meet him during his stay in Washington.

The nuclear accord is concluded between world powers and Iran in July.

– Most right-wing government –

In May 2015, Netanyahu wins a confidence vote in parliament for his fourth government.

A year later, he signs a coalition agreement with Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party, naming him defence minister.

The government is the most right-wing in Israeli history.

In June 2017, Israel starts building its first new government-sanctioned settlement in the occupied territories since 1991 in defiance of international concern.

– Trump support –

In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, effectively ignoring Palestinian claims on the eastern part of the disputed city that they want as capital of a future state of their own.

Outraged, the Palestinians cut all contact with the Trump administration.

Trump goes on to sign in 2019 a proclamation recognising Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, in another show of support for the prime minister that draws international criticism.

– Deadly Gaza flare-up –

A mass protest is launched in Gaza in March 2018 to demand the right for Palestinians to return to homes in Israel that they fled or were expelled from after the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

It sees a surge in violence on the border, including major clashes on May 14, the day the US embassy officially moves to Jerusalem.

Since the launch of the movement, more than 305 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, mostly in clashes during protests. Seven Israelis have also been killed in border violence.

A ceasefire is agreed in November, leading Lieberman to resign, saying Israel is “capitulating to terror”.

– Corruption charges –

In February 2019, Israel’s attorney general announces his intention to indict Netanyahu on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, following up on police recommendations.

Netanyahu will appear before the state prosecutor in early October.

– Elections –

On April 9, Israelis vote in a general election. 

The Likud wins 35 of the 120 seats in parliament, the same number as Netanyahu’s centrist challenger Benny Gantz.

On April 17, President Reuven Rivlin formally tasks Netanyahu with forming a government, but the prime minister is unable to form a majority coalition.

In the early hours of May 30, parliament votes to dissolve itself and hold a new election on September 17, avoiding Netanyahu’s nightmare scenario of Rivlin naming someone else to try to form a government.

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