Speaking at the opening session of the Knesset’s winter session Oct. 15, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised a "fantastic decade" Israel had experienced under his stewardship, hailing a "cool country" and boasting of its “diplomatic flowering.” But Netanyahu’s list of achievements was soon overshadowed by events.
First came the Oct. 18 Supreme Court ruling overturning the state’s decision to bar the entry of American student Lara Alqasem, who was accused of supporting the anti-Israel boycott movement. On the same day, the UN Security Council gave the floor to the director of the Israeli B’Tselem human rights organization, Hagai El-Ad, who urged the international community to end the injustice of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Heavy international pressure forced the government to suspend the forced evacuation of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank on Oct. 21. The same day, Jordan announced it would not renew the 25-year land lease arrangement under its 1994 peace treaty with Israel that has enabled Israeli farmers to cultivate lands along the border leased from the Hashemite Kingdom.