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Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his corruption trial at Jerusalem's District Court

Abir Sultan/via REUTERS

Will Pegasus set Bibi free?

Israel’s spy agencies are notoriously sly operators. They have been known to take out high-profile targets in far-flung places around the world. Most famously, the Mossad tracked down and killed those involved in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

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What We’re Watching: Ukraine’s tumultuous politics, Netanyahu’s endgame, escalation in Yemen

Ukraine’s political woes. While Russia maintains tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, domestic politics in Kyiv are becoming increasingly contentious. This week, former President Petro Poroshenko — who was elected in 2014 after the Maidan Revolution ousted a longtime Putin ally and then defeated for re-election in 2019 — has now returned to Ukraine after a month abroad to face a host of criminal charges. Those charges include treason, an alleged crime related to his decision to sign government contracts to buy coal from mines held by Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Poronshenko, a businessman worth $1.6 billion, says the deal was necessary to keep Ukraine from economic collapse and that the charges are an attempt by current President Volodomyr Zelensky to distract from unfavorable perceptions of the country’s (currently lousy) economic outlook. He also calls it a manufactured crisis and a “gift” to the Kremlin, because it distracts from Russia’s ongoing aggression. Also, on Friday US Secretary of State Tony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to continue talks on resolving the Ukraine standoff.

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What We're Watching: Israel's strange bedfellows, Mali's isolation, Open Skies closed

Israel's new, weird government: Israel's political class never misses an opportunity for dramatic effect. And that's exactly what happened Wednesday when Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party informed Israel's president that he had successfully cobbled together a coalition government just minutes before a procedural deadline at midnight. It's an historic outcome, ending the political reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 15 years in power. The new coalition government will be rotational: Naftali Bennett, head of the rightwing Yamina party, will serve as PM until 2023, at which point he will switch roles with Lapid, who will serve as foreign minister until then. The government will be one of the most ideologically and religiously-diverse in Israel's history, including Jewish nationalist parties, right wing politicians who defected from Bibi's camp, left-wing parties, as well as Raam, an Islamist Arab party. Plenty of challenges await the new government, and Bibi is surely going to be a thorn in its side as head of the opposition in the Knesset. But after endless election cycles, many Israelis are rejoicing that they finally have a (fractious) new government.

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Netanyahu On The Verge of Losing Power In Israel | US Spying On EU? | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Netanyahu on the verge of losing power in Israel; US spying on EU?

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

Is Netanyahu's time as Israel's prime minister about to end?

It does look that way. Though of course, like with everything in Israel politics it's right down to the wire. Can they put this unity government, where the only thing they're unified on is everyone wants to get rid of Netanyahu, together by midnight Israeli local time. If they can it's the end of Netanyahu's term, 12 years tenure in office. Though the government's not going to last for long. They agree on absolutely nothing else. There's no policy that'll happen, maybe they get a budget together. That's about it. But my God, yes, indeed. It does look like Netanyahu's probably going to be out.

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Israel's historic (and fractious) post-Bibi government

After four elections in two years, Israel is finally on the brink of forming a new government. But for the first time in 12 years it won't be headed by someone named Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu.

The new power-sharing coalition is likely to be one of the most ideologically-diverse in the country's history. How, after years of dysfunction and deadlock, did we get here, and how might this new government shape Israeli politics and policymaking?

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem March 9, 2010.

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

What kind of leverage does Biden really have with Bibi?

The bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas is now in its second week. Hamas militants are firing rockets at major population centers in Israel, while the Israeli military continues to pound the densely-populated Gaza Strip with artillery and missiles. More than 200 Palestinians are dead and at least 10 Israelis have been killed.

Given the lopsided death toll and the humanitarian impact of the fighting in the Gaza Strip, critics of Israel's campaign have called on the US, Israel's closest ally, to do more to stop the violence.

Until Monday evening, the Biden administration had pointedly avoided calling publicly for a ceasefire, allowing more time for Israel to respond to the ongoing Hamas rocket attacks, but also deepening the humanitarian impact on the people of Gaza.

Why didn't the US intervene before the death toll mounted? And what kind of leverage does Washington, in practice, have over the situation?

A few things to consider.

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Could an Islamist be Israel's "kingmaker" now?

It's an all-too familiar dance in Israel by now: politicians campaign, activists canvass, and the public laments another draining and inconclusive election. Rinse repeat.

Now for the fourth time in just two years, Israelis have voted in general elections. The polls are closed and the votes are being tallied. With 88 percent of votes now counted, what do we know so far and what are the possible outcomes?

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Israel's "anyone but Bibi" election

Israel's merry-go-round politics are front and center again as Israelis are set to head to the polls on March 23 — the fourth time in two years. Billions of shekels later, will Israel's longest-serving Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu finally be shown the door?

While anything can happen in Israel's tumultuous politics, Bibi's downfall seems as likely as ever (though the race is tight) as his Likud party languishes in the polls. So what's changed, and what's the state of play as the campaign enters the homestretch?

Who are the key players?

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