Will the new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett be worse than Bibi? | Middle East News

Under the leadership of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the chances of serious dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians are slim. However, the rise of his former disciple Naftali Bennett (Naftali Bennett) gave Palestinian intellectuals more reason to worry.

Although most people expected him to be as bad as Netanyahu, others said he would be more active in implementing his agenda and expanding illegal settlements.

Some hope that he may shrink and become pragmatic under pressure from the Biden administration.

As a staunch supporter of Jewish settlements and the annexation of most of the West Bank (including occupied East Jerusalem), Bennett also opposed the two countries’ solution to the conflict.

At first glance, he seems to be no different from his predecessor. Both parties are opposed to the resumption of any kind of peace process that might force them to make room for the Palestinians’ aspirations.

Netanyahu is known by his nickname “Bibi,” and he even conspired with the Trump administration to kill the idea of ??East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. The U.S. relocates its embassy from Tel Aviv Go to cities with holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

But Mheimer Absada, associate professor and head of the Department of Political Science at Al-Azhar University in the Gaza Strip, said that the promotion of the hard-line and ultra-nationalist Bennett to prime minister may be even more dangerous.

“Netanyahu expanded the settlements, but under pressure in 2009 and 2010, he also froze the settlements. [former US President Barack] Obama,” Absada said.

“The difference between Netanyahu and Bennett is that, as we have seen, Netanyahu can succumb under international pressure. In addition, he seems to be flexible in the two-State solution. Sometimes he would say He’s okay. Bennett’s ideology is much stronger and his position is much stronger.”

“Definitely worse than Netanyahu”

Bennett won the title of politician through active support Illegal Israeli settlements. Suddenly climbing from his position would anger his extreme right supporters in the country, some of whom have described him as a “traitor” who joined the centrist, the left and the Arab League.

Mustafa Barghouti, chairman of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, said that from a Palestinian perspective, he expects Bennet to be worse than Netanyahu.

“Bennet advocates gathering Palestinians in Area A and Area B, which account for only 38% of the West Bank, and annexing the remaining 62% of Area C,” Barghouti said, referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem rule of thirds in 1995 The Oslo Agreement signed in 1989.

“Continuing to settle in Area C means that the possibility of a two-state solution has been assassinated. He is definitely worse than Netanyahu.”

However, some people dared to hope that the multi-party and multi-ideological coalition led by Bennett would impose checks and balances on his policies.

Last week, Netanyahu was defeated by a narrow margin in a vote of confidence in the Knesset. However, the alliance that ousted him was considered extremely fragile.

It is composed of Bennett’s former colleagues in the Likud Group—— Avigdor Lieberman with Gideon Thrall – He is expected to get along with them on anti-Palestinian policies.

But the Yesh Atid centrist party, the left-wing Meretz party, and the first Palestinian United Arab list (Ra’am) are also part of this clumsy coalition.

“Strange Government”

Yoel Guzansky is a senior researcher at the National Institute of Security (INSS), specializing in Gulf politics and security. He said that how long this alliance can survive and what kind of political plan it proposes is a big question mark.

“What kind of consensus this strange government can reach is a big question,” Guzansky said. “Usually, when there are different political parties with different ideologies in a government, they have the smallest thing in common to unite them. In this case, expelling Bibi is a consensus. But Bennett faces many challenges.”

Guzansky said that the next challenge for the new prime minister is whether he will Demolition of the Evyatar settlement The outpost, located south of Nablus in the West Bank.

“It was built illegally under Israeli law and will be demolished. We will have to see what Bennett will do,” he said. “There is also a Bedouin settlement in the Negev Desert. If he takes it apart, then he may have problems with his Arab allies.”

Guzanski said he believes Bennett may become pragmatic in terms of tensions with the Palestinians.

Bennett was allowed without flinching Jewish nationalists’ flag parade Passing through Jerusalem. This is considered a serious provocation by the Palestinians, especially since the conflict between Israel and Hamas last month has just ended.

However, there were no reports of conflicts in the local area. However, in response to the parade, Hamas floated burning balloons into the southern city of Israel, and Israel launched an air strike. But there was no loss of life.

Israeli politicians, from left to right: Benny Gantz, Yail Rapid, Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman [AFP]

‘More powerful’

There are countless irreconcilable differences between the different members of the alliance. But the Arab members have little influence on Israeli policies, and no one else in the alliance is expected to take risks for the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Barghouti described the expectations of any centrist or leftist who stood up for the Palestinians as naive. He recounted the moment when Bennett reiterated his vision of continuing to settle in Zone C last week.

“We didn’t hear Meretz or anyone in the center say they disagreed. They were present in Parliament. This can only mean one thing-the current government will continue to implement the illegal settlement policy, which may even be more powerful.”

Bennett’s greatest enemy will be the Biden administration, which has called for a freeze on illegal settlements. The upcoming opening of a consulate for Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem is expected to push Israel to return to the negotiating table for peace talks.

Although some Palestinian thinkers are not ready to abandon Biden, Barghouti and others worry that Bennett may acquiesce in reopening the Iran-US nuclear agreement to ensure that the United States does nothing on the Palestinian issue.

“Iran’s deal will be at the expense of the Palestinian issue,” Barghouti said. “But we will not remain silent.”

Since the conflict last month, Palestinian resistance has indeed accelerated. A new generation of activists It seems that they are also determined to save their homeland and the land of their ancestors.

The Palestinians said, Bibi or Bennett, their resistance will continue.

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