“The occupation and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories have made Jewish supremacy the de facto law of the land and the new government seeks to adopt this into their official policy”
Israelis carry banners and flags as they gather in front of the the Knesset to protest Israel’s new far-right government in Jerusalem on December 29, 2022.(Mostafa Alkharouf, Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
JESSICA CORBETT, Common Dreams, Dec 29, 2022
Global concerns about the new Israeli government—especially what it means for Palestinians—continued to grow Thursday as Benjamin Netanyahu took the oath of office to again serve as prime minister, this time leading the most far-right and religiously conservative coalition in the country’s history.
The embattled leader was sworn in following a 63-54 vote of confidence in his new government by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. He has appointed 30 ministers and three deputy ministers from his Likud party as well as Noam, Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”‘), Religious Zionism, Shas, and United Torah Judaism.
“It is already clear that the emerging coalition will be disastrous for human rights between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”
The coalition finalized Wednesday features “a mix of an ultra-Orthodox and right-wing bloc,” with some of the most “right-wing politicians we’ve seen,” Al Jazeera‘s Sara Khairat reported Thursday from West Jerusalem, as protesters gathered. “They were on the fringes of politics and now here they are on the main stage.”
Some ministry appointments were only possible because of a pair of laws passed by the Knesset on Tuesday—one enabling Aryeh Deri of Shas to serve as minister of the interior despite his recent tax fraud conviction and another allowing Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich to take on multiple posts.
“These laws… dovetail with Netanyahu’s own attempt to escape potential liability for his long-running corruption/bribery trial,” wroteMondoweiss‘ Jonathan Ofir. “If such exceptions can be made for Smotrich and Deri and cemented into law, this paves the way for the same being done for Netanyahu, when the need arises.”
Another controversial pick is Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar Ben-Gvir, the new national security minister, who in 2007 was convicted of incitement to racism against Arabs and supporting a terrorist organization. As Common Dreamsreported last week, the government reached a deal to lift the ban on parliamentary candidates who incite racism.
In a joint statement Thursday, several advocacy groups said that “it is already clear that the emerging coalition will be disastrous for human rights between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”
“Previous Israeli governments have already entrenched military control over millions of Palestinians, severely harmed their human rights, and made the possibility of a just future more difficult,” they continued. “The senior figures in this new government have made it clear that they intend to exacerbate this trend and advance dangerous measures.”