These include Ben Gvir, Smotrich and their ilk. The inauguration of the “most right-wing” Knesset in the history of the occupation | news
Members of Israel’s new parliament (Knesset), described as the most right-wing in the history of the occupation, took the constitutional oath today, Tuesday: one of the most prominent right-wing MPs pledged to expand settlements in the West Bank and prevent the Palestinians from establishing their state.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said he would soon present his government line-up to the Knesset to gain confidence.
Yesterday, Sunday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog officially tasked former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Likud party with forming the new government within 28 days, which can be extended by 14 days.
The Netanyahu camp won 64 of the 120 seats in the Knesset in the early November elections.
The third force in the Knesset and Netanyahu’s likely partner in the next coalition government has become the far-right Religious Zionism party led by Bezalel Smotrich and its ally, the Itamar Ben Gvir-led Jewish Power party.
Smotrich, speaking to members of his party ahead of the new MPs’ swearing-in ceremony today, said it was necessary “to move from defense to attack,” as he put it, to stop the stabbing, running over, shooting, and stone-throwing in the West Bank.
Smotrich vowed to the Palestinians that they would “pay a heavy price.” He also pledged to work to increase settlement activity in the West Bank and thwart “the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to control the country and establish a terrorist state.” and to reinforce the “Jewish identity of the country,” as he put it.
Regarding Western concerns about his defense portfolio takeover, Smotrich said, “Our friends in the world must respect our democratic choice.”
Smotrich calls for the defense portfolio while his ally Ben Gvir calls for the homeland security portfolio.
Like Smotrich, Ben Gvir’s rise to power raised concerns in some Western circles given his previous convictions for incitement to racism and support for a banned ultra-Orthodox Jewish group.
Ben Gvir promised to work on relaxing the firing rules for occupying army soldiers against the Palestinians in order to become more lenient.
The opening ceremony of the new Knesset coincided with the killing of three settlers and injuring others in stab and rollover operations carried out by a Palestinian south of Nablus in the West Bank before he was shot dead by the occupying army.
The settlers were killed in operations taking place in the immediate vicinity of the settlements of Ariel and Aliyah Zahav in Salfit Governorate, south of Nablus.
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