Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:09 pm (KSA) 16:09 pm (GMT)

Hawkish Netanyahu to be sworn in as Israeli PM

Israeli Parliament votes today on the new government led by Hawkish Likud party
Israeli Parliament votes today on the new government led by Hawkish Likud party

Israel's hawkish Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu as to became the country's new prime minister on Tuesday, heading a predominantly right-wing cabinet, which has sparked international concern over the future of troubled peace talks.

Returning to power 10 years after his first stint as prime minister, the 59-year-old Netanyahu presents his government to parliament Tuesday.

 A government of settlers is under way 
Peace Now activists

Israel's 32nd government is one of its largest ever, with a new table having been ordered to accommodate some 30 ministers and up to seven deputy ministers.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu held last-minute talks in a bid to entice another ultra-religious party into the cabinet.

Israel's Peace Now anti-settlement watchdog has called the incoming cabinet "one of the most right-wing governments ever known in Israel."

Activists planned to demonstrate outside the Knesset during the swearing-in ceremony, with banners that read: "A government of settlers is under way."

Palestinians bank on world support

 The world must face its responsibilities with regards to the Israeli-Arab conflict 
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas

Weakened by divisions and lacking strategy, Palestinians are banking on world support as the next Israel government seems unlikely to giving them their own state

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that negotiations with Israel would be fruitless if "it doesn't accept the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."

He urged leaders at the Arab summit in Doha on Monday to lobby the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, "especially the administration of (U.S.) President Barack Obama to force Israel to adopt the choice of a fair peace."

"The world must face its responsibilities with regards to the Israeli-Arab conflict," Abbas said.

After a seven-year freeze, the peace process was relaunched to great fanfare at an international conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November, 2007.

Since then Abbas and outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have met more than 20 times, but the negotiations have made no tangible progress.

The United States has warned that peace efforts will not be any easier under Netanyahu, who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

And on Friday, the European Union warned Israel's incoming government of unspecified "consequences" if it does not accept the principle of a Palestinian state.

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