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Yearbook 2002

2002 IsraelIsrael. According to Countryaah website, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, leader of Conservative Likud, retained his opposition to direct talks with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Disbelief deepened when the Israeli military launched the Karine A ship at the beginning of January with a large weapon load on its way to the Gaza Strip. Sharon accused Arafat of participating in the smuggling operation.

The wave of assaults and suicide bombings against Israel continued and were answered with raids on Palestinian territories. Other measures were decisions to deport relatives of suicide bombers and to blow up houses, despite criticism that this was a collective punishment. An 11-mile-long fence against the West Bank began construction in June.

2002 Israel

The crisis in the tourism industry continued and other sectors also receded, which was attributed to the consequences of the Palestinian uprising. This also contributed to the reduction of immigration of Jews from other countries by 27% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2001. This corresponded to 15,000 immigrants compared to 20,500 last year, according to Statistics Sweden.

In addition to the violence, Sharon also had to hold together the government coalition with the Labor Party, the ultra-Orthodox party Shas and five other small parties. In April, Sharon took on two more parties, including the Orthodox NRP (National Religious Party). The cooperation sometimes sparkled and a proposed budget tightening led to a crisis in May. Shas voted against the proposal because reduced child support would affect their voters, who by and large have large families. Sharon dismissed Sha's four ministers and, in a second vote, managed to get through the proposal, but the government's majority had shrunk in the west. In June, Shas resumed its pledge not to stop austerity.

As noted by Digopaul, the government of Israel agreed in August on continued austerity in the 2003 budget, but at the parliamentary debate in late October, the Labor Party jumped out of the government. The party said it wanted to invest more on poor Israelis at the expense of the government's continued support to the West Bank and Gaza Strip settlers. The timing of the dismissal was also considered to be linked to the Labor Party's November 19 election of party leader.

In the new government, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, aiming for a political comeback, was appointed Foreign Minister after Labor's veteran Shimon Peres, while former Commander-in-Chief Shaul Mofaz replaced Labor Party leader Benjamin Ben-Eliezer as Defense Minister. Attempts to widen the government base failed and with only 55 out of 120 votes in Parliament, it was a matter of time before Sharon would request re-election, which he did on November 5. The date was set for January 28, 2003.

Ben-Eliezer lost the vote on the party leadership post in the Labor Party to Haifa's mayor, former war hero Amram Mitzna. Mitzna, who becomes the Labor Party's prime ministerial candidate, said he would propose to the Palestinians a peace agreement within a year and if it failed to implement a unilateral Israeli retreat from the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank. Mitzna also said he was against joining a possible new government with Likud.

Sharon won the Nov. 28 Equal Rights Clear against Netanyahu. The victory was clouded by an explosive attack on an Israeli hotel in Kenya, where 16 people were killed, and by an attack on one of Likud's premises in northern Israel

In early December, Sharon made an outrage against the Palestinians, the first of which being reforms by the Palestinian Authority. Later, a Palestinian state would be established with provisional borders. The difference with the so-called peace plan that was launched in September by the US, Russia, the UN and the EU is that no timetable was set. The "Quartet's" three-step plan talked about a provisional Palestinian state as early as 2003 if the security situation had improved.

I's relations with the UN were strained at the end of November when a British aid worker was killed by Israeli soldiers in Jenin on the West Bank. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded an investigation. Israel accused the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees UNRWA of assisting terror.

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