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"Naftali Bennett's new government bodes well for a reconciled Israeli society"

2021-06-18T05:56:44.736Z

FIGAROVOX / INTERVIEW - Opponents of Benjamin Netanyahu have succeeded in forming a coalition involving all sides of the political spectrum, from religious Zionists to the Islamist Raam party. For Stéphane Amar, this government agreement is good news for Israel, in terms of ...



Stéphane Amar is a journalist.

Installed in Jerusalem since 2003, he collaborates with several French-speaking media.

He is the author of several books including

The Great Secret of Israel: Why There Will Be No Palestinian State

(Éditions de l'Observatoire, 2018).

FIGAROVOX.

- At the end of long negotiations, it was finally to Naftali Bennett that the post of Prime Minister fell.

While at the head of a party with only 7 elected to the Knesset, how to explain that he imposed himself as head of government?

Stéphane AMAR.

-

Naftali Bennett was the only politician capable of uniting the opponents of Benjamin Netanyahu, in other words a coalition of Likud dissidents, the centrists Lapid and Gantz, the left, the far left and the Islamist Arab party Raam. This may seem paradoxical because Bennett is more to the right than Netanyahu on the political spectrum. He is a religious Zionist, a supporter of the partial annexation of the West Bank and the hard way against Palestinian Hamas. But it enjoys a much more consensual image than its predecessor. He comes from the world of high-tech and perfectly masters media codes. He can quote a passage from the Talmud and stage himself on Tik Tok. Throughout his career, he advocated the union of the laity and the religious, the dialogue between theIsrael from Tel Aviv and Israel from the West Bank settlements. Beyond the opportunity that presented itself to him - to dislodge Netanyahu after twelve years of unchallenged reign - this coalition corresponds to his vision of a reconciled Israeli society.

Yaïr Lapid should encourage the process of rapprochement with the Arab Gulf countries, with the Grail in sight: normalization with Saudi Arabia.

Stephane Amar

Yaïr Lapid, another strong man in the coalition, has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Should we expect major changes in Israeli diplomacy under his leadership?

Yaïr Lapid will first and foremost focus on improving the relationship with the United States. The Democratic camp has fierce enemies of Israel who put Biden under pressure. This became clear during the May conflict against Hamas. As soon as he took office, the head of Israeli diplomacy insisted on the need to return to a bipartisan approach and no longer centered only on Republicans and evangelical Christians, unconditional friends of Israel. On Iran, Lapid is already aligned with the Netanyahu doctrine: Israel must do everything to prevent the Islamic Republic from accessing nuclear weapons. It will likely support military intervention if necessary. As for the process of rapprochement with the Arab Gulf countries,it arouses unanimous enthusiasm in Israel. Yaïr Lapid should therefore encourage it with the Grail in sight: normalization with Saudi Arabia.

Is it also likely to advance the Palestinian question?

I can hardly imagine a resumption of negotiations for one simple reason: the only real legitimate representatives of the Palestinians are now the Islamists of Hamas.

Their popularity has grown even further since the last confrontation.

Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, stubbornly denies them an electoral consultation but he will not be able to take any important decision without their consent.

However, Hamas categorically excludes any form of territorial compromise with Israel.

He intends to "

liberate Palestine from the Jordan to the sea

»To take up an antiphon repeated over and over again.

Israel, for its part, will continue to strengthen its civilian presence in the West Bank as promised by Naftali Bennett to a right which remains in the majority in the country.

Under these conditions, it is difficult to see how a solution based on the two-state solution could emerge.

Contrary to the other Arab parties, Mansour Abbas is part of an integration process and detaches the fate of Israeli Arabs from the Palestinian cause.

Stephane Amar

This coalition brings together an ultrasionist prime minister and an Islamist party, with the support of Mansour Abbas' United Arab List.

Does this alliance augur for an appeasement of relations between Jews and Arabs?

Yes, I am convinced of it. In Israel, relations between Jews and Arabs are marked by cordiality and mutual tolerance. The clashes in May are the responsibility of a few hundred ideologically motivated individuals and say nothing of daily reality. The tension having subsided, the two populations coexist again peacefully. Out of two million Arab citizens of Israel, a tiny number participated in the riots. Moreover, Mansour Abbas was the only Arab leader to have gone to Lod to visit a burnt down synagogue and present his regrets to the (Jewish) mayor of the city. Despite his sometimes ambiguous speech, Abbas shows great political courage in supporting this government. Contrary to other Arab parties, it is part of a process ofintegration and detaches the fate of Israeli Arabs from the Palestinian cause. In return, it should obtain a real development policy for the Arab sector, which is very richly endowed. In particular, this will create thousands of jobs, create new localities and fight against the scourge of intra-community violence. That said, this astonishing alliance between an Arab Islamist and a Jewish nationalist obviously remains very fragile. The opposition to the Bennett government will not fail to exploit this Achilles heel.to create new localities and to fight against the scourge of intra-community violence. That said, this astonishing alliance between an Arab Islamist and a Jewish nationalist obviously remains very fragile. The opposition to the Bennett government will not fail to exploit this Achilles heel.to create new localities and to fight against the scourge of intra-community violence. That said, this astonishing alliance between an Arab Islamist and a Jewish nationalist obviously remains very fragile. The opposition to the Bennett government will not fail to exploit this Achilles heel.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-06-18

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