With Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich in charge, Israel doesn’t need enemies – Middle East Monitor


The situation in Israel is grim. Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister who warned of an armed forces coup. Demonstrations and strikes occur every day, and banks, the health service, trade unions, airports and ports are paralyzed. The Israeli prime minister had no choice but to step back from his planned judicial overhaul.

Internationally, Israel’s position is no better. Netanyahu presents himself as the king of Israeli diplomacy and international relations, but he and his extremist government have soured Israel’s relations with almost everyone.

For example, far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich was ridiculed in Israel because of the cold reception he received in the United States and his terrible English. In France he did the most damage to Israel’s image and foreign policy. Speaking from a podium with a map of “Greater Israel” that incorporated Jordan and parts of Syria and Lebanon, Smotrich claimed that there is no “Palestinian history or culture… [and] there was no such thing as the Palestinian people.” These remarks followed his racist comment that “a Palestinian village should be wiped out” after Israeli settlers walked through Huwara in the occupied West Bank.

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Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and shares the longest border with the occupying state, was particularly angered as Washington persuaded Amman and other Arab capitals to intervene. the Palestinians to calm the current wave of violence. The Jordanian parliament voted unanimously to cut off diplomatic relations with Israel, and the government condemned Smotrich. Not only did the minister’s infamous speech anger Jordan, but Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE, Algeria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Iran, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation , the EU and historic allies such as France. and America.

Americans have many reasons to be mad at Netanyahu and his government. Despite advice and warnings, they did exactly the opposite of what Washington wants. Senior political and security officials of the United States visited the region and met with Netanyahu and expressed their displeasure with his government, especially the far-right demagogues Itamar Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, and said that they will not meet with together or not deal directly with them. Netanyahu tried to reassure the Americans by saying that he has both hands on the wheel, which was proven wrong almost immediately. Days after he was satisfied, he went to Jordan and met King Abdullah. Both Ben-Gvir and Smotrich said they are not bound by their commitments to the Jordanian monarch about the Al-Aqsa Mosque and illegal Israeli settlements.

Ten days ago, a summit was held in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt to encourage cooperation to stop the violence in the occupied West Bank. Representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority participated, along with officials from the US, Jordan and Egypt. It was agreed that Israel would suspend settlement planning for six months. The Israeli government then revoked part of the 2005 Non-Partition Law under which they pulled settlers from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank. A spokesman for the US State Department described the move as “particularly provocative and counterproductive” and “inconsistent” with Israel’s commitment to the United States. The deputy secretary of state sent Israel’s ambassador to Washington to discuss the issue, a rare sign of US displeasure. Netanyahu responded by claiming that the law was only symbolic.

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During his visit to Germany, a country so haunted by Holocaust guilt that it rarely criticizes Israel, Netanyahu was politely criticized for the proposed judicial overhaul. “As partners with democratic values ​​and close friends of Israel, we are following this debate very closely and — I will not hide this — very concerned,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He urged Netanyahu to try to reach a social consensus “as wide as possible” by dealing positively with the Israeli president’s initiative to alleviate the crisis. “We know that last night President Herzog also made concrete proposals to resolve the difficult situation. As friends of Israel, we want to see that the last word has not yet been said about this proposal,” Scholz added.

Netanyahu, as befits him, tried to defend his controversial reform proposals: “Israel has an independent judiciary, but many believe it is too powerful … the allegation that we are breaking with democracy is not true.” The thousands of Israelis protesting in the streets disagree.

Moreover, he did not convince US President Joe Biden. “Like many strong supporters of Israel, I am very concerned,” he said. “And I worry that they get this straight. They can’t continue down this road.” When asked if he planned to send an invitation to Netanyahu to visit the White House soon, Biden replied: “No, not soon.”

Time after time, Netanyahu and his fellow extremists seem determined to destroy Israel’s relationship with the alliance that provides at least $3.8 billion in US military aid to the occupation state. every year.

“Israel is a sovereign country that makes its decisions according to the will of its people and not based on pressure from abroad,” Netanyahu arrogantly tweeted, “including from the best of friends.”

His minister Ben-Gvir noted, meanwhile, that Israel is “not another star on the American flag. We are a democracy and I hope the US president will understand that.”

With such people at the helm, Israel needs no external enemies.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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