Israel. During the year, a large number of people fell victim to the wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, which began in the fall of 2015. In May, a four-day fire went on across the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip between Israeli forces and Hamas. According to countryaah, the current population of Israel is 8,655,546. There were several knife-wielding attacks in East Jerusalem and around the city of Hebron on the West Bank, where mainly young Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers and settlers.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||317,100,000,000 USD|
|GDP growth rate||3.30%|
|GDP per capita||$ 36,400|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||21%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||2.60%|
|Investment volume||16.4% of GDP|
|National debt||60.90% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 113,000,000,000|
|Number of visitors||2,927,000|
In a speech to the Security Council in January, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon criticized the Israeli occupation, which he said was an important explanation for the violence of the Palestinian people. Ban Ki Moon visited Israel in June and met both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. In connection with the visit, the UN leader urged both sides to immediately work towards a solution to the conflict.
In May, the country’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon resigned, citing lack of confidence in Netanyahu and the government he believed had been taken over by extremists. In the same month, Netanyahu agreed with controversial right-wing politician Avigdor Lieberman that his nationalist party Our Home Israel (Yisrael Beitenu) would take office in the government and that Lieberman would become a new defense minister – a decision that prompted the environment minister to resign and met with criticism from more liberal forces that warned of increased political and religious extremism.
In June, a conference was held in Paris with the so-called International Peace Quartet in the Middle East comprising, among others, the UN, the EU, the US, the Russian Federation and several Arab states. According to thereligionfaqs, Israel and Palestine were not invited to the conference, the aim of which was to get peace talks started. Netanyahu condemned the meeting while encouraging it from the Palestinian side as a step in the right direction, as all previous attempts at direct dialogue with Israel did not result in any peace agreement. After the conference, an analysis of the situation in the area was presented with sharp accusations and calls for both parties.
In sharp contrast to the report’s recommendations not to continue settler policy, Israel presented far-reaching plans for new settlements in occupied areas during the year. The policy received sharp criticism from, among others, the EU, the UN and the US, who said that the settlements were a major obstacle to peace.
At the end of the summer, the situation was so severe that Hebron on the West Bank was isolated after several attacks against Israelis living in the city. Ahead of the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur in early October, the borders to the West Bank and Gaza Strip were closed due to concerns about violence.
On September 28, the country’s former president Shimon Peres died at a hospital in the city of Ramat Gan east of Tel Aviv. The 93-year-old president was the last in the life of the politicians who helped and founded the state of Israel in the 1940s.
In October, Israel terminated contact with the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, after the organization adopted two resolutions that emphasized the importance of safeguarding Palestinian cultural heritage in, for example, East Jerusalem. In November, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO was called home as a result of the decisions.
At the end of November, several places in the central and northern parts of the country were hit by severe fires which spread rapidly due to drought and strong winds. The fires forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes. Several countries, including the United States and the Russian Federation, sent fire extinguishing teams to help with the rescue work. About twenty people were arrested for murder and Netanyahu warned that those who committed or called for murder should be treated as terrorists.
In the fall, the United States and Israel signed an agreement that would provide Israel with a record $ 38 billion in military support over a ten-year period from 2019 to 2028. This is the biggest promise of military support the United States has given to another country.
In December, a UN Security Council resolution passed requiring Israel to stop building settlements on occupied land because they violate international law. The resolution passed as a result of the US choosing to abstain. Israel reacted strongly to the member countries of the Security Council, and in particular to the United States, which was described as a driving force behind the decision.