Saturday, December 3, 2022
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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Analysis | Impact of Netanyahu’s victory on the Syrian file

As a result of the recent Israeli elections, the right (led by Benjamin Netanyahu) got more than expected, enabling it to form a hard-right government, at a time when the left and center are suffering from unprecedented deterioration, weakness and disintegration.

Netanyahu’s strong return to power is mainly due to the absence of clear policies and distinguished figures capable of competing in the counter-alliance. Generally, the political class in Israel today lacks the expert leadership figures who have been excluded, or excluded themselves, due to the climate of dishonest competition and personal political conflicts that have ravaged — and are still ravaging — Israel for years, at a time when Israel’s path to the future is foggy, due to the great geopolitical changes in the region and the world, where it is no longer possible to neglect the role of the countries and peoples of the region in shaping its future, as their influence on politics in Israel itself is increasing, amid many and major international and regional challenges and storms that force everyone to change and interact.

Netanyahu’s more hawkish stance toward the Palestinians may be the cause of a new intifada

Kamal Al Labwani

The biggest loser that will bear the brunt is the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank, where violence and counter-violence are on the rise, and Netanyahu’s more hawkish stance toward the Palestinians may be the cause of a new intifada as a possibility.  Gaza is still under the highest level of pressure and Israel has nothing more to do than it has done, and any new aggressive action against Gaza will not bring any political gains, let alone the financial cost that exacerbates the inflation crisis that has affected all countries, including Israel.

Except for the escalation against the West Bank, the right is besieged by a very limited space of freedom in the rest of the files. Externally Netanyahu uses his friendship with Putin in coordination with the Russians in Syria, and cannot abandon his coordination with the Russians to win the favor of Europe and the US as Joe Biden considers him a friend of Trump and the Republicans who are heading to win in the Congress elections. In any case, Biden will not support him in any broad military adventure against Iran, where both the US and Russia seek to bring Iran to its side. That is why the US sought to speed up the signing of the border demarcation agreement between Israel and Lebanon to avoid the attempt of the right that was expected to win to use that for military escalation against Iran to sabotage the chances of signing the (nuclear) cooperation and coordination agreement between Iran and the West. Zelensky will be disappointed to receive Israeli assistance, and this will make Europe distant from Israel that brings it closer to supporting the Palestinian Authority, but that will not be enough to defend it.

Netanyahu’s victory is certainly much better than the victory of his opponents who are in line with the Biden administration in its lax policy towards the Assad regime and Iran

Kamal Al Labwani

For the Arab countries, Netanyahu’s victory will strengthen their hardline stance on Iran, and their refusal to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran. That is, Iran, which is facing protests that have proven to be sustainable, will be in a much worse circumstance. For Syria, Netanyahu’s victory is certainly much better than the victory of his opponents who are in line with the Biden administration in its lax policy towards the Assad regime and Iran. Netanyahu may be able to get Putin’s approval of a solution in Syria that preserves Russian interests in the port and the air base, but at the expense of the Iranian presence in Syria. This is the only way Netanyahu can deal a painful blow to Iran and its weapons programs and constant threats, without paying a heavy price. This possibility increases by the decline and weakness of Russia, and the decline and weakness of Iran, expected in the next spring or summer. 

Iran supports the Palestinian resistance to direct Israeli violence against the Arabs, so as to “bite” the Arab countries. Therefore, it is a good idea for that the Arab countries to put forward a peace initiative, to return to the negotiating table between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in exchange for the promise of rapprochement steps with Saudi Arabia, so that the Israeli impulse is directed towards Iran’s expansion in Syria and its threat to the Arab countries, instead of going to the West Bank. This Arab policy is in harmony with Fatah’s position and interests, while Iran uses Hamas to serve its purposes.

Returning to the table of negotiating will curb the option of escalation and direct Netanyahu’s position towards Iran, and this is in the interest of the Arab Gulf countries as well

Kamal Al Labwani

It does not matter if that negotiation achieves a result or not. What is required of it is to calm down for at least six months until things become clear in the war of Russia and the West in Ukraine, and in Iran’s internal situation. Returning to the table of negotiating will curb the option of escalation and direct Netanyahu’s position towards Iran, and this is in the interest of the Arab Gulf countries as well, as this is a common ground that can convince the Israelis and in the interest of the Arab countries, the interest of peace, and the Palestinian cause in the long run, given that it avoids new losing battles.

Kamal Al Labwani
Kamal Al Labwani
Syrian writer and political opposition figure

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