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IM Issue 25 - May 2009
Israel Army: No charges in Gaza Probe
The Israeli army has closed an investigation into alleged killings of civilians during its offensive in the Gaza Strip, saying soldiers’ testimonies were based on hearsay, “purposely exaggerated” and not supported by facts. Allegations of wrongful shootings emerged from some soldiers speaking in a closed-door meeting at a military prep school. Their accounts, along with their reports of vandalism in Palestinian homes, had been published by Israeli media.
After the failure of his last-ditch effort to muster Kadima leader Tzipi Livni's support for a unity government, President Shimon Peres formally entrusted Likud chairman Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu with the task of building a national coalition government. The right-wing Netanyahu was given 42 days to put together a coalition that might draw on Labor and Kadima, though he also spoke favorably of including the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, which made substantial gains in the national election.
Both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's Kadima party and Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition Likud styled themselves the winners of Israel’s elections, after it became apparent that Kadima had won the most seats in the new Knesset, but the Likud-led right-wing would constitute the larger bloc.