Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally signed a coalition agreement with the Yisrael Beiteinu party Wednesday, pledging during the ceremony to work towards peace with the Palestinians.
The coalition agreement expands the governing coalition to 66 members of the 120-seat Knesset, expanding from the razor-thin majority of 61. “Israel needs governmental stability if it is to cope with the challenges that await us and also in order to take advantage of the opportunities that await us,” Netanyahu said. “Alongside the threats and dangers, there are also opportunities. I am committed to advancing the peace process. I’m committed to making every effort to reach an agreement.”
The prime minister switched to English to reaffirm his commitment to work for peace with the Palestinians. “My government remains committed to pursuing peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors,” he said. “My policy has not changed. We will pursue every avenue for peace while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens.”
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman spoke of his intent to “bring stability to the region and to our country.” He also switched to English, adding his commitment to a “peace and to a final status agreement, and to understanding between us and our neighbors.”
Liberman stated in a 2014 interview with Al Monitor that he would be willing to leave his home in the West Bank if it were necessary for peace. He added that Israel should engage in parallel peace talks with its moderate Arab neighbors alongside negotiations with the Palestinians.
[ Yonatan Sindel / Flash90 ]