Israel | Exploratory Talks with Palestine Stall while Tension with Iran Increases
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Exploratory Talks with Palestine Stall while Tension with Iran Increases
In Jan. 2012, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Jordan. Seen as an effort to try to revive peace talks, it was the first time the two sides had met in over a year. On Jan. 25, 2012, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the discussions had ended without any significant progress.
Also in Jan., Iran blamed Israel and the United States for the death of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a nuclear scientist. A bomber on a motorcycle killed Roshan in Tehran during the morning commute, according to Iranian media. It was the fourth attack on an Iranian nuclear specialist in two years. Immediately following the attack, Iran accused the U.S. and Israel. The United States responded by denying any responsibility and condemning the attack. Tension between Israel and Iran intensified in Febrary, when Israeli officials accused Iran of being involved in multiple attacks against Israelis in Georgia and India.
In a speech on May 6, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections. The speech was in response to unrest among his coalition as well as his opponents. The official reason for early elections was the upcoming expiration of the Tal Law, which exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from Israeli Army service. However, some election analysts believed that Netanyahu wanted to act swiftly while his Likud Party was polling strongly.
Two days after the call for early elections, Netanyahu formed a unity government with Shaul Mofaz, the newly elected chief of Kadima, the opposition party. The new coalition gave Netanyahu a very large legislative majority and ended the need for early elections. Mofaz was made deputy prime minister under the terms of the agreement. Some saw the new coalition as a way for Netanyahu to gain even more political power. Former Kadima chief, Tzipi Livni, joined a protest against the alliance. A week earlier, after losing her position as both leader of the opposition and chief of the Kadima Party, Livni resigned from Parliament, saying she was not "willing to sell the country to the ultra-Orthodox in order to form a government."
The new unity coalition turned out to be short-lived. In July 2012, Kadima left the coalition. Kadima chief Mofaz said his party pulled out due to irreconcilable differences with Netanyahu over the pending universal draft law.