Israel MPs confirm new pro-settler govt

2013-03-18 22:20
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu (Picture: AP)

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu (Picture: AP)

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Jerusalem - The Israeli parliament gave its seal of approval on Monday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new governing coalition, which includes a strong showing of pro-settlement hardliners.

A motion of confidence in the new administration, broadcast live on public television, gave it 68 votes in favour and 48 against.

Netanyahu and his 21 ministers then took their oaths of office before the house and were to hold their first cabinet meeting immediately afterwards.

After more than 40 days of tortuous coalition negotiations, the government finally took office just two days before a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama.

Although the line-up includes two centrist parties - Yesh Atid (19 seats) and HaTnuah (six seats) - which want to renew peace talks, it is dominated by the hawkish Likud-Beitenu (31 seats) and its new national-religious ally, Jewish Home (12 seats), a far-right faction that is party of choice for settlers.

Addressing MPs at the start of the session, Netanyahu thanked the country for electing him as premier for a third term and pledged to represent all of Israel's citizens, as well as defend them from regional threats such as Iran's nuclear programme.

"The top priority of the new government is the defence of the security of the state and its citizens," he said, adding that Israel faced "very great threats" from Iran and Syria.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  barack obama  |  israel

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