Arab members of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) have slammed a new coalition government drawn up by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi said the new government leaned further to the right than any of its predecessors.
“Religious parties extorted Netanyahu,” he told Anadolu Agency, predicting that the coalition government would not last long.
Describing the new government as “racist,” Tibi said Arab parties in the Knesset would work to bring down Netanyahu’s coalition cabinet.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party hammered out a deal with the even more right-wing Jewish Home party (which holds eight seats in the Knesset), allowing the incumbent prime minister to form a government.
The coalition deal will help Netanyahu obtain the 61 Knesset seats necessary for cobbling together a governing coalition.
Netanyahu had earlier cut coalition agreements with the centrist Kulanu Party (ten Knesset seats); the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party (seven seats); and the Shas Party (six seats).
Arab MK Jamal Zahlka said Netanyahu’s new government leaned toward “extremism.”
“The new government reveals Netanyahu’s extremist face, which supports settlement construction [on Palestinian land] and the demolition of Palestinian and Israeli-Arab homes,” Zahlka told Anadolu Agency.
“It also reveals the weakness of Netanyahu, who is being blackmailed by extreme right-wing parties,” he said.
Zahlka added that the new government would not support peace with the Palestinians.
“We demand the imposition of international sanctions on Netanyahu’s incoming government, which obviously does not believe in peace,” he said.
Peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators ground to a halt in early 2014 after Israel failed to honor an earlier pledge to release a group of Palestinian detainees.
In the roughly one year since, relations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel have deteriorated markedly, especially after the West Bank-based PA signed a reconciliation deal with Gaza-based rival Hamas.
Relations deteriorated further a few months later after the Palestinians joined a number of international organizations, including The Hague-based International Criminal Court.
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said the new government reflected the “true face” of Israel.
“The new government coalition reflects the reality of extremism on the Israeli street,” he said.
“Netanyahu’s government will do everything in its power to displace our people in the Negev region, Judaize the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and destroy our other places of worship,” he added.
“This government plans to target everyone in the [Palestinian] West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and Israel’s Arab sector,” Khatib asserted. (Anadolu Ajansi)