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Coalition division widens

    The rift within the Israeli coalition between Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist partners widened this week.

    Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni both warned that any move to annex settlements would result in the government's fall.

    Yesh Atid leader Mr Lapid, speaking at the Herzlia Conference on Sunday, called upon the Prime Minister to show his proposed borders for Israel and the future Palestinian state. "If there is an attempt to annex even one settlement unilaterally, Yesh Atid will leave the government." Ms Livni called upon Mr Netanyahu to continue working with the Palestinian Authority.

    Both ministers were responding to proposals made by Economics Minister Naftali Bennett that Israel should annex some West Bank settlements following the establishment of the new Hamas-backed government.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu did not express a position on the annexation issue but sources in his office severely criticised Mr Lapid's demands.

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