Media outlets from around the Middle East extensively reported on the swearing-in of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new government. Some leading Arab networks broadcast live segments of the speeches made by Mr. Netanyahu and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told various media he would “cooperate with any government that is committed to final-status arrangement negotiations for the two peoples,” other neighbors were less than accommodating.

Syria and Iran, Israel’s two biggest threats in the Islamic world, issued few words except to lambaste what they called the swearing-in of “a new racist Zionist enemy government” in “occupied Palestine.”

Hamas sources said the inauguration of the Netanyahu government was of no concern to them, saying, “This is one criminal replacing another criminal.”

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The Palestinian leadership spent time recently preparing its response to the new Israeli government, through consultations with its allies in the Arab world.

Senior Palestinian Authority sources told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom Mr. Abbas had met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during the Arab League’s recent Doha summit to update them regarding the Palestinian Authority’s position on cooperation with the Netanyahu government.

The Palestinian sources also said Mr. Netanyahu’s statements were “vague with regard to the continuation of the peace process, and this is worrying.”

During news reports on the swearing-in of Mr. Netanyahu’s government, Egyptian media gave extensive commentary on statements made two days ago by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

According to Mr. Gheit’s statements, his government believes “the composition of the new [Israeli] government does not project optimism regarding the continuation of the peace process.”

The Egyptian media also quoted last night senior sources in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry who said “the Egyptian government will find it difficult to work properly with the Israeli Foreign Ministry headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.”

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.