Benjamin Netanyahu has been sworn in as Israel’s Prime Minister again today in a comeback at the head of a hard-right cabinet that promises to expand Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and pursue other policies criticised at home and abroad. His allies include the Religious Zionism and Jewish Power parties, which oppose Palestinian statehood and whose leaders – both West Bank settlers – have in the past agitated against Israel’s justice system, its Arab minority and LGBT rights.
Netanyahu has repeatedly pledged to promote tolerance and pursue peace. He told parliament that “ending the Israeli-Arab conflict” was his top priority, along with thwarting Iran’s nuclear programme and building up Israel’s military capacity.
His government secured 63 of a possible 120 parliamentary votes in a confirmatory ballot, before the cabinet was sworn in. For Palestinians, Netanyahu’s line-up has darkened an already bleak outlook, with violence surging and Jewish settlements set to expand in the West Bank – among territories where they hope to build a future state.
Extending his heartiest congratulations to the Israeli Prime Minister for forming the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he is looking forward to working together to strengthen their strategic partnership.
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