Wednesday, Aug. 05
Latest News
  1. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  2. Yemen rebel chief says ready for political settlement
  3. Turkey's Erdogan says Putin may 'give up' on Assad
  4. Israel president threatened over 'Jewish terrorism' comment
  5. Iraqi Kurdish leader vows to avenge Yazidis
  6. Turkey vows 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants
  7. 'Hundreds' of Gulf Arab troops enter Yemen's liberated Aden
  8. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  9. Teen stabbed at Gay Pride march dies as pressure mounts on Israel
  10. Kerry pledges support for Egypt in Cairo talks
  11. UAE to try 41 on charges of seeking 'caliphate'
  12. Two Turkish troops killed in 'PKK suicide attack'
  13. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  14. Exiled Yemen PM makes symbolic Aden visit to lead restoration
  15. New Taliban leader calls for unity in ranks in first audio message
  16. Iraqi Kurdistan leadership says PKK should leave
  17. Kerry lands in Egypt on first leg of Mideast tour
  18. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  19. Dozens dead as Syria army 'pushes back rebels near regime heartland'
  20. Yemen PM returns to Aden from Saudi exile

Netanyahu: Hamas wants weak Likud

Jan. 20, 2013 10:42 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2013 10:22 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday a country with as many enemies as Israel cannot afford a weak ruling party, after polls ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary election showed a slide in his support.

Two polls on Friday showed Israel's right-wing and religious bloc winning a slim parliamentary majority of 63 out of 120 seats, with Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu group on course to be the largest party in the Knesset, albeit with eroding support.

Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, were all following the election, Netanyahu said.

"(They) want to know one thing, whether the ruling party has grown or shrunk. They want a weak Israel, a divided one and the most challenged country in the world must not be divided," Netanyahu told Channel Two's "Meet The Press".

Netanyahu says dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions will be his priority. Israel and the West suspect that Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation Teheran denies.

The polls in Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth newspapers both showed Netanyahu's party winning 32 seats, its poorest predicted showing so far and some 10 seats fewer than Likud and Yisrael Beitenu took in 2009 when they ran separately.

Despite the slippage in polls, Netanyahu is still in prime position to secure a third term in office. But a relatively weak showing at the ballot box would make him more susceptible to the demands of his prospective coalition partners.

No one party has ever won a majority in a parliamentary election in Israel and Netanyahu's government would have to rely on smaller parties for its survival.

Those parties are likely to include Netanyahu's natural allies, the fiercely pro-settler Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) which has been surging in the polls and ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Netanyahu may also face more pressure from abroad, with international condemnation growing over the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, will deny them a viable state.

But in newspaper interviews published on Friday, Netanyahu said he would not give in to calls to halt or reverse his settlement drive and said a strong ruling party would be better able to deal with international pressure.

Israeli commentators said Netanyahu might seek a partnership with at least one centrist party to bring a more moderate voice into his cabinet and try to allay international concerns.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015