News / Middle East

Netanyahu Gets 14 More Days to Form New Israeli Government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Simon Peres speak during a brief ceremony in the president's residence in Jerusalem,  March 2, 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Simon Peres speak during a brief ceremony in the president's residence in Jerusalem, March 2, 2013.
Reuters
— Israeli President Shimon Peres on Saturday gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an additional 14 days to try to form a new government after he was unable to complete the task during an initial 28-day period.

Talks with potential partners have been deadlocked since elections on Jan. 22 and if he is unable to form a government by March 16 a new poll could be called - a delay that also puts into question a planned visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu won 31 of the Knesset's 120 seats - an eroded lead that forced him to cast a wide net for partners while juggling their disparate demands.

During the 28-day period, Netanyahu managed to forge a pact only with the party of former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, whose six-member faction "The Movement" has given him 37 seats, way short of the minimum 61 needed to confirm a new coalition.

In a brief statement following his meeting with Peres on Saturday night, Netanyahu hinted that at least one potential coalition partner refused to sit alongside others.

Netanyahu has faced demands from the parties that placed second and fourth, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), to slash mass exemptions from military conscription and cut welfare stipends to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

In coalition talks on Friday with Bayit Yehudi, Netanyahu's chief negotiator said the right-wing party was unwilling to sit alongside ultra-Orthodox parties but Bayit Yehudi officials denied this.

Although he did not name Bayit Yehudi or Yesh Atid as the reason for his inability to form a coalition, Netanyahu said some parties were boycotting others.

"In these past four weeks I tried to form the broadest possible government ... I think the ultra-Orthodox public is prepared to accept [demands by other partners] but the main reason that I have not managed to complete the task by today is ... because there is a boycott of a certain sector," he said.

Netanyahu's outgoing coalition includes two ultra-Orthodox parties which have generally backed him on policies such the settlement of occupied West Bank land in defiance of world powers who support the Palestinians' drive for statehood there.

Bayit Yehudi is even less accommodating of the Palestinians than Netanyahu, who says he wants to revive stalled peace talks.      

New Elections

Should Netanyahu fail to co-opt allies for a parliamentary majority by March 16, Peres could hand the coalition-building task to another lawmaker and if after an additional period no government emerges, Israelis would have to return to the polls.

Netanyahu was backed by 82 of parliament's 120 lawmakers to form the next government so Peres, whose only real executive power is to nominate a Knesset member to form a government, may opt not to pick another candidate and elections would be called.

Obama is due to visit Israel at the end of March and Netanyahu's trouble in building a new government raises the question of whether he may call off that visit.

But when asked about Israeli reports he might cancel, an official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no talk at this point about the possibility of Obama scrubbing the trip.

White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said: "President Obama looks forward to travelling to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman later this month."

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid