The key name in the Israel-Hamas conflict: Benjamin Netanyahu
One of the names on the world's agenda with the latest developments in the Middle East is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While hundreds of Palestinians lost their lives in the attacks on the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu's harsh attitude and rejection of calls for peace caused criticism. So, who is this controversial leader? What is Netanyahu's life story? Here's what you need to know about Benjamin Netanyahu, the key figure in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Netanyahu's birth and military service years
Benjamin Netanyahu was born on October 21, 1949 in Tel Aviv. His father, Benzion Netanyahu, was a famous historian and Zionist leader. His mother, Tzila Segal, was a nurse of Jewish origin. Netanyahu had two brothers: Iddo and Yonatan. The family moved to the United States between 1956-1958 and 1963-1967, where Netanyahu was educated. During the 1967 Six-Day War, he joined the Israel Defense Forces and served in a special unit called Sayeret Matkal. Netanyahu, who also served as team leader in this unit, also participated in the Yom Kippur War in 1972.
Netanyahu's education and the beginning of his political career
After military service, Netanyahu returned to the United States and studied architecture and business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1976, his brother Yonatan died trying to save hostages in Operation Entebbe. This event became a turning point in Netanyahu's life and he became interested in politics. He was the director of the Jonathan Institute, which was established in 1978 in memory of his brother, and worked on the fight against terrorism.
Returning to Israel in 1982, Netanyahu joined the Likud Party and was appointed to the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Between 1984 and 1988, he became the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. Netanyahu, who frequently appeared in the US media during these duties, defended Israel's security policies and took a harsh stance against the Palestinians.
Netanyahu's terms as prime minister
Netanyahu entered the Knesset in 1988 and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was elected leader of the Likud Party in 1993. In the general elections held in 1996, he narrowly beat the Labor Party's candidate, Shimon Peres, to become prime minister. Thus, he became the first prime minister born in Israel after the establishment of the State of Israel. During his time as prime minister, Netanyahu opposed the Oslo Peace Process and delayed the implementation of agreements with the Palestinians. It also accelerated the construction of settlements and strained relations with Arab countries.
Netanyahu, who was defeated by the Labor Party's candidate Ehud Barak in the elections held in 1999, withdrew from politics. In 2002, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance in the government formed by Ariel Sharon. However, he resigned, opposing the plan to withdraw from Gaza. After Sharon left the Likud Party in 2005, he was re-elected as party leader.
In the elections held in 2009, the Likud Party came in second, but as the right-wing parties won the majority, Netanyahu formed a coalition government and became prime minister for the second time. During this period, Netanyahu looked coldly at peace talks with the Palestinians and continued the construction of settlements. Netanyahu, whose relations with US President Barack Obama deteriorated, took a harsh stance against Iran's nuclear program and drew a red line in his speech at the UN General Assembly.
Netanyahu, who retained the position of prime minister in the elections held in 2013, came to this position for the third time. During this period, the peace process with the Palestinians did not progress, and in 2014, a major military operation was carried out against the Gaza Strip. He also strongly criticized the nuclear agreement signed between the United States and Iran and opposed the Obama administration in his speech to the US Congress.
Netanyahu, who was also successful in the elections held in 2015, became the prime minister for the fourth time. During this period, the Palestine problem remained unresolved and the construction of settlements continued. Netanyahu has established good relations with US President Donald Trump and supported Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It also entered into a normalization process with Arab countries and established diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.