24 Mar 2015

Netanyahu apologises to Arab voters

7:53 am on 24 March 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he "regrets" warning "the Arabs are voting in droves" during last week's elections.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: AFP

He said he did not intend to offend Israeli Arab citizens.

On the day of the election, he posted a video message on his Facebook page, saying: "Right-wing rule is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves."

"Left-wing organisations are bringing them in buses," he said.

Apologising for his comments he said: "I know the things I said a few days ago hurt some Israeli citizens.

"My actions as prime minister, including massive investment in minority sectors, prove the exact opposite.

"I think, similarly, that no element outside the state of Israel should intervene in our democratic processes."

Mr Netanyahu has said he hopes to form a new governing coalition within two or three weeks after securing a surprise win in elections.

US will not take floor at human rights forum

In an unusual move, the United States will reportedly not take the floor at the main UN human rights forum today during the annual debate on violations committed in the Palestinian territories.

Washington unfailingly defends Israel, but the apparent move follows signals the Obama administration is undertaking a "reassessment" of relations with Israel.

Other allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that his disavowal of a Palestinian state has caused a rift with the White House, but they blamed Barack Obama's unprecedented criticism on a misunderstanding.


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