Israel's Kingmaker Loses His Crown

September 18, 2019 Topic: Politics Region: Middle East Blog Brand: Lebanon Watch Tags: IsraelPoliticsElectionBenjamin NetanyahuCrime

Israel's Kingmaker Loses His Crown

Benjamin Netanyahu will probably go to jail if his political enemies don't save him.

“At least the music associated with [a Gantz] government would suggest an attempt to keep the door open to an eventual resumption of negotiations and reaching of an arrangement that is broadly in the ‘two-state solution’ category with the Palestinians, when there’s different Palestinian leadership,” explained Shapiro, who is a fellow at the Institute for Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Hassan Muammer, a Palestinian who does not have Israeli citizenship, was less optimistic: “I will remain under . . . occupation, man. Whoever [wins] does not matter.”

Netanyahu has also made himself the face of an aggressive external policy, aimed mainly at Iran and its allies. In the weeks leading up to the election, he publicly revealed intelligence about the Iranian nuclear research program and nearly went to war against Iranian allies in Lebanon.

“In terms of security policy, we won’t see a change,” said Emily Landau, also a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. “None of that is controversial. Nobody is opposing that.”

The biggest change might be in Israel’s relationship with the United States. Netanyahu campaigned on his personal friendship with President Donald Trump, boasting of the symbolic victories Trump has granted Israel.

But after the election, Trump appeared to give Netanyahu the cold shoulder. “Our relationship is with Israel,” he told reporters.

“I can imagine that [a Gantz] government might make more of an effort than the Netanyahu government has made in the last two or three years to reinforce the bipartisan foundation of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Shapiro told the National Interest. Gantz would treat Trump “with all the respect that the president of the United States is due, without casting him as a messianic figure in exaggerated terms.”

Matthew Petti is a national security reporter at the National Interest and a former Foreign Language Area Studies fellow at Columbia University. His work has been published in Reason and America Magazine.

Image: Rueters