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Benjamin Netanyahu To Form Government In Israel 

Return of Bibi could lead to a change in Israel's foreign policy

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The designated Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in a conversation with Dr. Micha Goodman at the book launch event “Bibi – Story of my Life” (Screencap: popolitica.com)

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A decisive winner finally emerged on November 1, when parties allied with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a majority in parliament, claiming 64 of the 120 seats and ending the short-lived, unusual coalition formed only in June 2021. Netanyahu has been elected prime minister of Israel five times and has held this position continuously for nearly a decade. His support and longevity is second only to that of David Ben-Gurion, and his influence on the political character of the country may be just as powerful. Far from being visionary, Netanyahu has in fact created and implemented very clear ideological positions on security and foreign policy, domestic economic issues, and increasingly Israeli civil society.

While his stances typically embolden polarized communities in Israel, the long-term consequences of his policies may change the face of the country, but there is no question what they are. Netanyahu’s security and foreign policy legacy is to deepen the broad perspective that Israel is fighting for – and many Israelis agree. This confirms his intention to stop Iran’s nuclear efforts, which dominated his foreign policy in 2009-2015.

It took five elections to break the stalemate that had paralyzed Israeli politics for more than three years.

In the most recent coalition government, there were eight parties (rightist, leftist, centrist and even Islamist), two prime ministers and ultimately irreconcilable ideological divisions. Naftali Bennett, who heads a small right-wing party, served as prime minister for more than a year before handing over the top job to centrist Yair Lapid by agreement in June last year.

It was an inherently unstable situation, and Netanyahu and his allies now hope to stabilize it; they can form a coalition of parties that mostly align with a far-right set of views on Israeli society, foreign policy, and the Palestinian issue. The exact contours of the new government are not final, but one thing is certain: Israel has entered uncharted territory. The only question is how far to the right Netanyahu is willing to go. 

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Despite Netanyahu’s claim that last year’s “change” government was leftist, it did little to change Netanyahu’s policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The outgoing government took small steps toward economic development for the Palestinians and favored “conflict de-escalation,” Bennett said, preferring to minimize immediate problems while avoiding a comprehensive political solution.

This policy was almost indistinguishable from what Netanyahu called “conflict management,” which meant containing occasional escalations and allowing for incremental improvements in material conditions in the Palestinian territories without trying to end the conflict.

Both Netanyahu and the Bennett-Lapid reshuffle government have pushed the Israeli occupation further than ever before from a two-state solution: Bennett and Lapid have deepened Israeli control over the West Bank, pushing Palestinians out of Area C, the largest part of the territory. It was a continuation of an approach refined by Netanyahu, who in 2020 dealt with the de jure annexation of the West Bank but concluded that a de facto version would attract less international opposition. Within a year of being in power, Bennett and Lapid came to the same conclusion.

Both governments have kept Gaza under strict isolation, as have all Israeli governments since 2007, when Israel’s tight control over the movement of people and goods began. The outgoing government slightly increased work permits for Gaza’s, a confidence-building measure with no specific end goal. 

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Netanyahu’s return could lead to a change in Israel’s foreign policy. Since 2009, Netanyahu has developed relations with countries like Chad and Azerbaijan and normalized relations with non-democratic Arab countries through the US-brokered Ibrahim Accords. He has established friendships with powerful leaders such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

Lately, Netanyahu has engaged in half-hearted and predictably fruitless talks with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israel has deepened its control over the West Bank by expanding settlements in strategic areas between the enclaves and the Green Line, deepening their infrastructure networks, recognizing the permanency of facilities such as (formerly) Ariel University, and settlements—often by expanding existing communities, colleges, and greater military control over Area C.

As explained in a UN report after the 2014 war, Israel still maintains “effective control” over most crossings, import ports, exports, travel, fishing waters and electromagnetic space.

Netanyahu, a charismatic leader, will work for the development of Israel with newer ideas. It should also be noted that Netanyahu’s government has always had strong friendly relations with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s plans to open an embassy in Israel may accelerate even more. 

Rustam Taghizade is a political analyst In Azerbaijan

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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