Egypt has already voiced its concern over Netanyahu's likely cabinet.

Lack of optimism

Ahmed Abul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister, said on Saturday: "The formation they are speaking of for a new government does not inspire optimism ... we have not heard until now any encouraging commitments at all from people expected to join the upcoming government."

Abul Gheit called on the new government to "clearly declare ... its intention and capability to stop all settlement building and to dismantle all settlements in the Palestinian people's land".

Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, had proposed dismantling some settlements in the West Bank while retaining the main settlement blocs that house the majority of settlers.

However, Israeli media reported last week that Netanyahu has decided to expand settlements in an especially contentious part of the West Bank near East Jerusalem.