With world opinion soured by the recent events in Gaza, Israelis are headed to the polls to elect a new government that is widely expected to move further to the right. Pre-election polls put the conservative Likud in the lead. Labor was a distant fourth, behind even the ultraconservative Yisrael Beitenu, despite taking a hawkish turn.

Israel continues to draw criticism from the U.N. for hampering its relief efforts in Gaza. A number of shipments have been stopped at the border, including — and you can’t make this up — the paper needed to print new textbooks for a course in human rights.

The International Herald Tribune has a succinct primer on Israeli elections here.

AP via International Herald Tribune:

The top U.N. official in Gaza criticized Israel on Monday for blocking the shipment of paper to print textbooks for a new human rights curriculum that will be taught to children in all grades in the Palestinian territory.

Israel also has refused to allow 12 truckloads of notebooks into Gaza as well as plastic sheeting which is turned into plastic bags to distribute food that the U.N. provides to some 900,000 people, John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which helps Palestinian refugees, said in a videoconference with reporters at U.N. headquarters.

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New York Times on the election:

Regardless of the erosion of the Likud Party’s lead, recent polls suggest that the right-wing bloc in the new Parliament is likely to be much stronger than the center-left bloc, which would make it easier for Mr. Netanyahu to form a governing coalition.

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