POLITICAL TREMORS SHAKE THE REGION
Government instability rocked
portions of the Middle East and North Africa during January, especially in
Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and Israel. Popular discontent with the governments of
Jordan and Egypt was also said to be growing.
The pro-Western Lebanese
government collapsed the first half of January after the radical Iranian-backed
Hizbullah movement pulled its cabinet ministers out of the ruling coalition.
Unrest gripped the Arab country
of Tunisia during the month, forcing the countryís long-ruling leader out of
office. Rioting took place earlier in neighboring Algeria, with activists
protesting rising food prices.
No Israeli political analyst
could have foretold a few decades ago that the once mighty Labor party, which
ruled Israel uninterruptedly from 1948 until 1977, would eventually slip into
obscurity. However that is exactly the fate that has befallen the socialist
party founded by Israelís first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.
On January 19, Lebanon (of all
countries) submitted a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli
settlement building in Judea and Samaria, and construction in parts of
Jerusalem. Possessing veto power, the US has already announced opposition to the
resolution, saying it will only further hamper efforts to get stalled peace
talks moving again.
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