It’s Final: Peres Entrusts Netanyahu with Forming a Government; What Direction Will Netanyahu take Israel?
Israel was today poised for its most right-wing government in decades after Binyamin Netanyahu was asked to be the country's next Prime Minister.
The new administration would also run into immediate conflict with US President Obama who has urged a speeding up of the peace process and has tried to cool hostile rhetoric with Iran.
Instead of territorial compromise, Mr Netanyahu has indicated that he prefers economic development measures in the West Bank that allow Israel to maintain continued security control over borders and no dismantling of settlements.
Those policies led Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian President, to threaten a complete freeze in relations with Israel – a move that would be disastrous for the West, which has pumped billions into the West Bank in order to prop up his authority.
“We will not deal with the Israeli government unless it accepts a two-state solution and accepts to halt settlements and to respect past accords,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, President Abbas's spokesman, said. Times Online
A Hamas spokesman on Friday said Israel
had picked the "most extremist and most dangerous" to lead the
country, only hours after Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu accepted a mandate to
form its next government.
The choice of Netanyahu "does not herald a period or peace or stability in the region," AFP quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum as saying.
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas, meanwhile, said on Friday that the PA will not deal with the new Israeli
government if it is not committed to peace.
"We will not deal with the Israeli government unless it accepts a two-state solution and accepts to halt settlements and to respect past accords," AFP quoted Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina as saying. Haaretz.com
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been tapped by President Shimon Peres to form the new government as Israel's next Prime Minister. He will have a formidable task but it is believed that he will be able to gather the support of at least 65 endorsements.
Neither Hamas nor PA representatives were happy with the decision and said they would not work with the new government if it is not committed to peace.
In other news, the UN has announced that Iran now has one-third more low grade enriched uranium than previously believed and uranium particles have been detected. "We have now found around 80 uranium particles. It is clear this is a significant finding," said the senior UN official The Independent. Israeli Prime Minister elect Netanyahu has stated that dealing with Iran's nuclear program will be a top priority during his tenure. Military experts are predicting Israel and Iran may clash over Iran's nuclear program this year.
Hamas and the PA are correct in their assessment of Mr. Netanyahu. He is dead set against the creation of a Palestinian state (at least for now) and will not hesitate to run Hamas out of Gaza and reoccupy the territory if missiles begin to fly. At this time, Hamas has turned down tying the release of captured Israeli soldier Schalit with any cease-fire with Israel. Personally, I believe they should heed Egypt's advice and agree to a long-term cease-fire deal before a less favorable Netanyahu administration takes power. Soon, we'll see how that plays out.
It is believed that the Obama administration is not to happy with the Netanyahu appointment either. The US has invested billions of dollars in bolstering Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and stand to see that investment go up in smoke. Although the Bible is clear that a peace agreement is coming, his appointment could, for the time being, bring it to a screeching halt. But, it could also bring a tremendous amount of world pressure down on Israel that could include Iran-size sanctions. President Obama has already made it clear that he is looking for a swift Middle East peace resolution. The question is will Netanyahu be strong enough to resist the pressure he is about to face? Personally, I don't believe he is. As tough as Mr. Netanyahu may think he is, I have to believe, when push comes to shove, he will have to give into pressure and work toward a permanent peace, which will include the creation of a Palestinian state. Without US support, and I don't expect President Obama to stand behind Israel if they resist, he would be at the mercy of the world. Besides, I can't see the US or the EU allowing a change in Israeli administration to sideline the peace process and progress made up to this point.
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