FACTBOX - Parties in Israel's new coalition government

Wed Apr 1, 2009 2:55am BST

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(Reuters) - Benjamin Netanyahu will present a new Israeli government later on Tuesday made up of right- and left-leaning parties with differing views on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Following are the political parties that form the coalition government, the number of seats they hold in the 120-member parliament and positions their leaders hold on main issues.

LIKUD - 27. Netanyahu, who leads the right-wing party, wants to shift the focus of stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians away from territorial issues, which he says have blocked progress towards a deal, to shoring up the economy in the West Bank. He has shied away from declaring support for a Palestinian state. Any Palestinian entity, Netanyahu says, must have limited powers of sovereignty and no military. He has pledged to seek a broad regional peace agreement. Curbing Iran's nuclear programme, which Israel calls a threat to the existence of the Jewish state, will be high on the agenda, Netanyahu says.

YISRAEL BEITENU - 15. Avigdor Lieberman's Russian-accented Hebrew has been music to the ears of many of the million Israelis who came from the former Soviet Union since the 1980s. The incoming foreign minister's policies towards Arabs, which some critics call racist, have won him a wider electorate. Lieberman does not oppose in principle the establishment of a Palestinian state. But he says land where many of Israel's 1.5 million Arabs live should be "swapped" for West Bank Jewish settlements in a peace deal with the Palestinians. He also wants Israelis, including Arab citizens, to swear allegiance to the Jewish state.

LABOUR - 13. Having ruled for the first half of Israel's 60 years, Labour spearheaded interim peace accords with the Palestinians in the 1990s. The centre-left party is now led by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001. Labour backs the creation of a Palestinian state. However, the party signed a coalition deal that did not mention statehood. Instead, the political pact contained a promise the new government would respect Israel's existing international agreements -- accords that envisage a Palestinian state. Barak is to stay on as defence minister under Netanyahu. Some of Labour's legislators opposed to the coalition deal may opt not to support the government.

SHAS - 11. A fixture in successive governments, the Union of Sephardic Torah Observers, or Shas, draws most of its supporters from low-income, religious Jews of Middle Eastern origin whose spiritual leader is the 88-year-old, Iraqi-born rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Its deal with Netanyahu focussed on maintaining welfare benefits. The party, led in parliament by Eli Yishai, is hawkish on Palestinian affairs but does not oppose the principle of giving up land for peace with a future Palestinian state. It does, however, oppose negotiations over Jerusalem.

JEWISH HOME - 3. A small ultra-right religious party opposed to giving up territory for peace. It believes that Jordan, which already has a large Palestinian population, should be the homeland for Palestinians. In signing with Netanyahu, the party said it would focus primarily on education and social issues.

(Jerusalem Newsroom)

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