Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose party came in
second in national elections last week, is in line to return to power.
Shimon Peres nominated Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu to be
Israel's next prime minister and gave him six weeks to form a coalition
government. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni narrowly won the popular
vote, but the right-wing bloc that controls the Knesset, or parliament,
backs Mr. Netanyahu.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Netanyahu
said Iran's development of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat
facing the State of Israel.
He said the major strategic and
economic challenges obligate Israel to form a national unity
government. He urged Livni to bring her centrist Kadima party into the
coalition, but she flatly refused.
Livni said a Netanyahu
government would bring a stalemate to the peace process and that she
would not be fig leaf for his hard-line policies.
leave Mr. Netanyahu with no choice but to form a right-wing government
that would support the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and
oppose the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its
capital. Since the two-state solution is a cornerstone of American
policy in the Middle East, the U.S. and Israel could be on a collision