Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to the position of Israel’s prime minister Thursday as a new governing coalition was sworn in.
Netanyahu is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, having held office from 2009 until 2021 and a stint in the 1990s.
He was ousted from office last year after four deadlocked elections by a coalition of eight parties united in their opposition to his rule while on trial for corruption.
That coalition broke apart in June, and Netanyahu and his Likud party won the most seats in November’s election. His new right-wing coalition includes both nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties.
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Netanyahu’s new government has pledged to prioritize settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
“These are the basic lines of the national government headed by me: The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted Wednesday. “The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel — in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan, Judea and Samaria.”
“The government will work to recognize the Golan Heights as a strategic region of land, with wide development potential, and will create a momentum of settlement, development, development and promotion of entrepreneurship while preserving the values of nature, people and the environment that are unique to the Golan,” he added.
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Netanyahu continued by saying the new government “will work to significantly deepen the cooperation with the countries of the ‘Abraham Accords,'” which were brokered by the Trump administration and saw Israel sign peace deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
Netanyahu also vowed to “protect the quality of the environment in Israel, to improve the quality of life of the country’s residents and for Israel to participate in contributing to the global effort on climate and environmental issues,” as well as “strengthen the security forces, and provide support to the fighters and the police to fight terrorism and defeat it.
Yair Lapid, the outgoing prime minister who will now reassume the title of opposition leader, told parliament that he was handing the new government “a country in excellent condition, with a strong economy, with improved defensive abilities and strong deterrence, with one of the best international standings ever.”
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“Try not to destroy it. We’ll be back soon,” Lapid said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.