Israel officials fear Smotrich’s Palestine statements could damage ties with Egypt, Jordan – Middle East Monitor
Israeli security officials are reportedly concerned that controversial statements made by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich could damage ties with Egypt and Jordan.
On Sunday, Smotrich, the head of the political alliance of Religious Zionism, said during a conference held in Paris that “there was no such thing as the Palestinian people”. During the conference he spoke at a podium adorned with the map of the so-called “Greater Israel” which included the mandatory Palestine, Jordan, areas of Syria, Lebanon and even Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, the Kan broadcasting corporation reported that Israel’s security apparatus is concerned that Smotrich’s words could affect security coordination between Israel, Jordan and Egypt ahead of the month of Ramadan.
According to the Kan report, Smotrich’s statement could damage ties with Jordan, which are extremely important to Israel, and disrupt security understandings concluded at security meetings held in Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh last month this, as well as damaging ties with Egypt leading mediation talks with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
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Smotrich is a strong opponent of the peace agreement that Tel Aviv signed with Cairo in 1979. He also believes that the former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, made a mistake when he signed the agreement with Egypt and gave up Sinai.
Following Smotrich’s statement, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Israeli Ambassador in Amman to protest. Other countries, including the United States, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE condemned his comments.