Israel's coalition government: Israeli and Arab media react

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised Israel (and its Arab neighbors) when he announced the creation of a unity government on May 8. Joining forces with the centrist Kadima party, Mr. Netanyahu secured a larger majority in the parliament, giving himself more leeway to pursue potentially controversial policies. The following is a roundup of opinions and editorials from Israeli and Arab perspectives. While Israelis focused on the impact of the move on contentious domestic issues, including the end of military exemptions for ultrareligious Jews, Arab media saw one motive: Strengthening Israel's hand toward Iran

Sebastian Scheiner/AP
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l.) and Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz shake hands before holding a joint press conference announcing the new coalition government in Jerusalem, May 8.

1. al-Quds al-Arabi (Britain)

Netanyahu is forming a war government (in Arabic)
Opinion: Ra'i Al-Quds

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi ran an opinion piece on the new Israeli coalition government, which the writer Ra'i Al-Quds called a “war alliance, not an alliance of peace.”

“No one knows what goes on through the mind of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on many regional issues these days. One can predict that this man is scheming and planning wars after murdering the peace process with the settlement policy in the occupied Arab territories,” Mr. Al-Quds says. He points to “ancient objectives” being renewed through the unity government, which increases Mr. Netanyahu’s majority in the Knesset, or House of Representatives, to three-quarters.

Al-Quds says the alliance strengthens Netanyahu’s power, pushing back elections by at least a year. [The unity government was created in the eleventh hour of a May 7 parliamentary session, where the body was working toward legislation that would move elections up to September 2012, in light of an unstable government]. Along with Netanyahu’s fortified prowess will come a greater threat not only for Iran, but the Gaza strip and southern Lebanon, home to Hezbollah, as well, says Al-Quds.  

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