Several world leaders have welcomed Israel’s new government, but the Palestinians continued to challenge what they perceived as a continuation of the previous administration.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year rule over power ended on Sunday, and his administration was replaced by a coalition government backed by centrist Yair Lapid and ultranationalist Naftali Bennett. In a vote of confidence between the ages of 60 and 59, 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, aside from the desire to overthrow Netanyahu, leaving many analysts questioning the new government’s chances of long-term survival.
This is how world leaders reacted to the new government:
U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States remained committed to Israel’s security and would cooperate with its new government. In a statement, the US president welcomed the new governing 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 lasting relationship between our two nations,” Biden said. “Israel has no better friend than the United States.
“The United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security,” Biden said. “My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance the security, stability and peace of Israelis, Palestinians and people across the region.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped to “work closely” with the new Israeli prime minister.
“Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen even more. With that in mind, I look forward to working with your close collaboration, ”Merkel said in a message to Bennett and shared by her spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Twitter.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the change of government remains an Israeli issue and that Palestine’s demands remain the same.
“This is an Israeli internal 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, regardless of the color of the new administration, Israel “remains a colonial entity.”
“Regardless of the form of government in Israel, it will not alter our view of the Zionist entity,” Barhoum said. “It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to regain our rights,” he added.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz congratulated Bennett and Lapid and said he hoped to work with them.
“Austria is committed to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and will continue to side with Israel,” he said on Twitter.
The UK Secretary of State also congratulated Bennett and Lapid on forming the government.
In a tweet, Dominic Raab said he hoped to continue “cooperation in security, trade and climate change and work together to ensure peace in the region” between the UK and Israel.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hoped to work with Bennett and Lapid “to keep our people safe and supported as we recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic and help the two countries rebuild better.”
In a statement, Trudeau said the leaders “would explore ways to further strengthen the relationship between Canada and Israel,” even through a bilateral trade agreement. He also thanked Netanyahu for “his valuable partnership over the years.”
The leader of the U.S. Senate majority said he hoped the new government would pave the way for “serious” negotiations on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I demand that the Biden Administration do its utmost to bring the parties together and help achieve a two-state solution in which each side can live together in peace,” Schumer said.
The retired Israeli prime minister quickly turned to social media promising to return to power soon.
“Don’t let your spirit drop,” he said on Twitter. “We’ll be back – and faster than you think,” he added.