New Israeli government sworn in
March 19 , 2013
Israel's new coalition government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, was sworn in on Monday following nearly two months of negotiations between political parties.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will head a coalition that has excluded ultra-Orthodox Jewish factions for the first time in a decade.
The new government, which was formed after inconclusive national elections, includes Mr Netanyahu's Likud-Beitnu bloc, the centrist Yesh Atid party and the right-wing Jewish Home party and features a solid line-up of ministers that that support Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.
Speaking to parliament, Netanyahu reiterated a pledge to make "a historic compromise" in order to make peace with the Palestinians.
"With a Palestinian partner who is willing to conduct negotiations in good faith, Israel will be prepared for a historic compromise that will end the conflict with the Palestinians forever," he said.
However, Palestine has demanded an end to settlement construction as a precondition to return to negotiations.
According to Palestinians, the settlements, which are illegal under international law, deny them a viable state.
The issue is expected to be high on the agenda when U.S. President Barack Obama visits Israel later this week.
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