Netanyahu government platform keeps peace on agenda
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Netanyahu government platform keeps peace on agenda

Even as cabinet set to include many settlement expansion supporters, coalition guidelines state peace agreement a priority

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacts during a Knesset vote on May 13, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacts during a Knesset vote on May 13, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition stressed its desire Wednesday to achieve peace with the Palestinians and other Arab states as he prepared to present his new government.

“The Jewish people have the indisputable right to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel, its national and historic homeland,” read the coalition guidelines presented to parliament.

“The government will advance the diplomatic process and strive to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and all our neighbors, while maintaining Israel’s security, historical and national interests,” they read.

Any such agreement would be submitted to the Knesset for approval “and if necessary by law, to a referendum.”

Netanyahu’s new government is set to include ministers intent on expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, an issue that has repeatedly hampered peace talks.

During campaigning for the March 17 election, Netanyahu ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state if reelected.

Netanyahu later backtracked on those remarks, saying he still supported a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.

The rest of the government policy outline deals with issues such as reducing the cost of living, improving competition in the Israeli economy, boosting education and protecting the environment.

The guidelines are not inherently different to those published by Netanyahu for his two previous governments, formed in 2009 and 2013.

They were released as parliament was preparing to vote on legislation to enlarge the cabinet.

Netanyahu, who commands a razor-thin majority of just 61 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, is expected to allocate ministerial and parliamentary positions to members of his Likud party, before presenting his government to be sworn in Thursday evening.

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