Israel's Prime Minister Faces a War on Two Fronts

Reuters
September 7, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Tags: IsraelBenjamin NetanyahuElectionsLebanonWar

Israel's Prime Minister Faces a War on Two Fronts

Netanyahu battles enemies at home while holding off a fight in Lebanon.

Netanyahu has made annexing parts of Area C a part of his campaign platform, repeating the pledge on September 1. A month earlier, PA president Mahmoud Abbas had threatened to phase out security cooperation with Israeli authorities.

“Escalation could easily develop in local confrontations, but I doubt this will become a confrontation between the PA and Israel,” Darawshe predicted. “The lack of security coordination will ultimately cause many uncertainties that could endanger both the Palestinian Authority and Israel.”

Gantz has has repeatedly called Netanyahu weak on Palestinian militancy. During elections in April, Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party came within one parliamentary seat of defeating Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition.

If his allies lose September’s election, then Netanyahu may not be able to keep the parliamentary immunity shielding him from several ongoing corruption investigations. On Monday, new leaks revealed that Netanyahu pressured his minister of communications to “save” a right-wing broadcaster while already under investigation for giving illegal favors to another broadcaster.

“Center-left voters detest Netanyahu and his corruption and won’t vote for him regardless,” said Elizabeth Tsurkov, a fellow in the Middle East program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who was in Israel last week. “I think the recent escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, due to the apparent lack of Israeli casualties, makes Netanyahu seem like a resolute leader and may move some voters from other right-wing parties to vote for [Netanyahu’s party] the Likud.”

“If you are going to decide who won this round, it's not going to be Hassan Nasrallah, it’s going to be Bibi Netanyahu. After all, Bibi Netanyahu did what he wanted and got away with it,” Slim concluded. “He came across to Israelis as strong and decisive in this war with Hassan Nasrallah.”

Matthew Petti is a national-security reporter at the National Interest.

Image: Reuters