As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced tonight the formation of a narrow government coalition that brings together Israel's right-wing and religious parties, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is expressing deep concern for the new government's impact on Israel's future as a democracy and a Jewish state.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "This government, based on the ideology of its members, is bound to act to further hinder the viability of a two-state solution, to further exacerbate Israel's isolation internationally, to intensify West Bank settlement construction, promote undemocratic legislation and act to stifle dissent.
"This government's makeup is the most reactionary in Israel's history. Because it is so narrow – with a majority of only one seat – its most extreme members are well-positioned to dictate extremist policies. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who paved the way to this coalition before the elections and during the coalition negotiations, will be tested by his ability to block reckless policies and legislative initiatives of extremist outliers in his coalition. Eventually, Netanyahu will be held accountable for the actions and rhetoric of his cabinet members.
"Netanyahu's new government follows democratic elections in Israel, and will be judged by Israel's citizens, as well as by friends of Israel internationally and by the international community, on the merits of its policies. We urge Israel's parliamentary opposition to serve as a bulwark in the face of potentially destructive government policies.
"We at APN, along with our Israeli sister organization Peace Now, will scrutinize the government's policies on peace and democracy, and will not hesitate to call it on policies that we know its members espouse, and that we believe are disastrous for Israel's future. We will continue to mobilize our supporters and our government to keep the path open for a two-state solution.
"We have our work cut out for us."
APN is the sister organization of Shalom Achshav, Israel's preeminent peace movement. APN's mission is to educate and persuade the American public and its leadership to support and adopt policies that will lead to comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace, based on a two-state solution, guaranteeing both peoples security, and consistent with U.S. national interests. We also work to ensure Israel's future and the viability of Israel's democracy and Jewish character through education, activism and advocacy in the United States, and by mobilizing American support for Shalom Achshav.