The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, has reminded new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that the world overwhelmingly backs the Palestinians’ quest for a state of their own.
It is a goal that Netanyahu has not endorsed. Peres was speaking as outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert formally handed over power to the Likud leader. It is believed that Netanyahu may give Peres, a former centre-left prime minister, a role in regional diplomacy. That would partly offset the fact that hardline right-winger Avigdor Lieberman is now foreign minister. He has angered Arabs inside Israel and beyond over the years with comments many see as racist. While right-leaning, Netanyahu’s administration also includes the centre-left Labour Party. In a survey for an Israeli newspaper today, more than half of those questioned said they were dissatisfied with the new government.