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Resignation of interior minister

01, Sep 2014 / ISRAEL / 399 Words

Keesing’s Record of World Events (Formerly Keesing’s Contemporary Archives 1931-2014)
Volume 60 (2014), Issue No. 9 (September), Page 53597

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Sept. 17 announced his resignation, saying that he would “take a break” from political life after Jewish holidays that ended in October in order to focus on his family, saying: “I want privacy, quiet, freedom, and to spend more time at home.” Sa’ar was seen as a rising star of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and his resignation was unexpected. His replacement as interior minister had not been named by end-September, though it was announced that he would be replaced in the Knesset (the unicameral legislature) by Leon Litinetsky of the hardline right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu. [For previous government changes and full cabinet list see p. 52575.]

A senior Israeli military official on Sept. 10 announced that Israel’s Military Advocate General had ordered criminal investigations into five instances of possible misconduct by Israeli forces during the recent conflict in Gaza [see pp. 53532-33 ( Palestine)]. Approximately 100 episodes were referred to six army “fact-finding” teams for preliminary examination. The investigations, announced 10 days after a ceasefire between the Israeli government and militant Islamist Hamas, appeared to pre-empt an investigation commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Forty-three reservists from “unit 8200”, an elite military surveillance unit of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), announced their refusal to serve in a letter sent to Israeli authorities and circulated to the media on Sept. 12. The reservists cited the use of invasive and “all-encompassing” surveillance in the “persecution” of Palestinians by Israeli authorities. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Sept. 15 that the signatories of the letter would be “treated as criminals”.

Two Palestinians suspected of the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June [see p. 53445], which became the precursor for Israel’s July-August offensive in Gaza, were killed by Israeli forces on Sept. 23. The two suspects, named as Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha, were both reportedly affiliated with Hamas, although it was believed that they acted independently of the movement’s leadership. According to IDF spokesman Lt-Col Peter Lerner, the two men “came out shooting” as Israeli soldiers raided a building in the West Bank city of Hebron and were killed in an exchange of fire.

Last article p. 53534.