UN designates Masood Azhar as Global Terrorist; Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in as Israeli PM – Current Affairs
With the addition of Azhar to the Al‑Qaida Sanctions List, he will be subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. The move came after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist Azhar.
Story 1: UN designates Masood Azhar as Global Terrorist; China lifted its hold
The 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council on May 1, 2019 designated Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a Global Terrorist.
With the addition of Azhar to the Al‑Qaida Sanctions List, he will be subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. The Sanctions List currently contains the names of 262 individuals and 83 entities.
The move came after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist Azhar. China in March 2019 had for the fourth time blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
The decision of the United Nations came on the proposal that was moved by P3 countries (France, United Kingdom and United States) on February 27, 2019 to the 1267 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee in wake of Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based terror group JeM that killed over 40 CRPF personnel in India.
The listing of Azhar as a terrorist is a significant diplomatic victory for India.
Reasons for listing Azhar as a global terrorist
Azhar was listed for being associated with Al-Qaeda for participating in financing, planning, facilitating, preparing acts in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of JeM; for supplying, or transferring arms and related materials; for recruiting for terrorist organisation; and for other acts or activities indicating association with JeM.
However, the reasons for listing did not mention the Pulwama terror attack of February 14, 2019 in India for which the JeM had claimed responsibility.
Story 2: Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in as Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israeli prime minister on April 30, 2019 following his victory in the April 9, 2019 elections. Netanyahu was among the 120 newly-elected members who were sworn-into Israel’s 21st parliament (Knesset).
Netanyahu will now seek to form a governing coalition in the days ahead. President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu to build a government on April 17. He has 28 days to do so, with a possible extension of a further two weeks.
Netanyahu faced a tough battle for the premiership against centrist Blue and White faction led by Benny Gantz. Both the parties earned 35 seats each in the vote. However, the collective majority of 65 parliament members of right-wing parties favoured Netanyahu to form the government.
Netanyahu’s Likud party won 35 seats in the elections, the same as his main opponent from the centrist Blue and White alliance, led by former military chief Benny Gantz.
Note: This will be Netanyahu’s record fifth term in office thus, becoming Israel's longest-serving prime minister
Charges against Netanyahu
Netanyahu faces the prospect of becoming the first sitting Prime Minister in Israel to be indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Netanyahu would be entitled to remain in office until his trial and any subsequent appeals are exhausted.
• Benjamin Netanyahu is one of Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister, having served the office for 10 uninterrupted years.
• He had previously held the position of PM from 1996 to 1999 when he had become Israel's youngest-ever Prime Minister.
• During his tenure, Israel witnessed rough times with the collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians, confrontation with Iran, and armed conflict with Hamas.
• In terms of economic development, Netanyahu has overseen an era of healthy economic growth and stability, softening of relations with Sunni Arab leaders and expansion of Israeli trade ties in Africa, Latin America and Asia.