Several world leaders welcomed the new Israeli government, but Palestinians remained wary of what they saw as the continuation of the previous administration.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year grip on power ended on Sunday, his administration replaced by a coalition government concocted by centrist Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett. In a 60-59 confidence vote, the Israeli parliament approved the new government.
The vote was won after Lapid finalized a coalition deal between eight different parties with little in common other than a desire to topple Netanyahu, leaving many analysts to question the new government’s chances of long-term survival.
Here’s how world leaders reacted to the new government:
US President Joe Biden said the United States remains committed to Israel’s security and will work with its new government. In a statement, the US president hailed the new government coalition led by nationalist Naftali Bennett and sought to reaffirm US-Israel ties.
“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations,” Biden said. “Israel doesn’t have a better friend than the United States.
“The United States remains steadfast in supporting Israel’s security,” Biden said. “My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability and peace for Israelis, Palestinians and people across the region. “
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she looked forward to “working closely” with the new Israeli prime minister.
“Germany and Israel are linked by a unique friendship which we want to further strengthen. With that in mind, I look forward to working closely with you, ”Merkel said in a message to Bennett and shared by her spokesperson Ulrike Demmer on Twitter.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the change of government remains an Israeli affair and Palestine’s demands remain the same.
“This is an internal Israeli affair,” Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement. “Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” he added.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum insisted that whatever the color of the new administration, Israel “remains a colonial entity.”
“Whatever form of government in Israel is, it will not change the way we look at the Zionist entity,” Barhoum said. “It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we must resist by force to recover our rights,” he added.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz congratulated Bennett and Lapid and said he looked forward to working with them.
“Austria is committed to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and will continue to stand with Israel,” he said on Twitter.
The British Foreign Secretary also congratulated Bennett and Lapid on forming the government.
In a tweet, Dominic Raab said he looked forward to continued “cooperation between the UK and Israel on security, trade and climate change, and working together to secure peace in the region” .
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he looks forward to working with Bennett and Lapid “to ensure the safety and support of our people as we recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic, and to help our two countries to rebuild better “.
In a statement, Trudeau said the leaders would “explore ways to further strengthen Canada-Israel relations,” including through a bilateral trade agreement. He also thanked Netanyahu “for his precious partnership over the years.”
The majority leader in the US Senate said he hoped the new government would pave the way for “serious” negotiations on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I urge the Biden administration to do everything possible to bring the parties together and help achieve a two-state solution where each party can live side by side in peace,” Schumer said.
The dismissed Israeli prime minister quickly took to social media, promising to return to power soon.
“Don’t let your mind down,” he said on Twitter. “We will be back – and faster than you think,” he added.