AMMAN (Reuters) – Benjamin Netanyahu’s possible return to power will fuel fears of escalating tensions with neighboring Arab countries, but under his leadership relations with Israel Gulf states that have built a
Arab leaders were largely silent on Wednesday over Netanyahu’s election victory in Israel. Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister predicted a new maritime border agreement would come into force, but Palestinian and Jordanian experts predict new tensions.
In the Gulf, where Arab concerns about Iran’s regional power dominate security strategy, Netanyahu’s record of hard-line opposition to the Shia Muslim-dominated Islamic republic has been reinforced by Sunni Muslim Arab leaders. helped build a relationship with
It was under the Netanyahu government that Israel normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020, and with Morocco a few months later.
Abdulkarek Abdullah, a prominent United Arab Emirates political analyst, said that Iran is the main concern for Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates, and that Israel, no matter what government, will always be Iranian. said it has taken a strong stance on the nuclear deal with the world powers.
“Netanyahu was part of the Abraham Accords and signed it, so there is no change in the normalization process,” he said.
“People here[in the Gulf]see this as Israeli politics and Israeli internal affairs and we have nothing to do with it. We are happy to deal with whoever the Israeli people choose to be their leader.”
Abdullah said a victory in what he described as “the worst of the worst in Israeli politics” would primarily affect the Palestinians and kill the two-state solution debate.
Saudi Arabia, a regional power, home to Islamic holy sites, has taken some steps towards reconciliation but has yet to normalize relations.
Saudi academic Aziz Arghassian said he did not expect any further moves by Riyadh.
“For any significant change to take place … there must be a peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis, which is unlikely in the new government,” Arghasian said.
With Lebanon, Netanyahu has threatened to “neutralize” the U.S.-brokered maritime deal, which he believes is still at war with Israel, but Beirut has said Washington believes the deal will continue. He said he was guaranteed not to be hit by a torpedo.
Lebanon’s interim prime minister, Najib Mikati, told Reuters by phone: “We are not afraid of changes in the Israeli authorities. Whether Netanyahu wins or someone else wins, no one will interfere with this (deal). I can’t,’ he said.
He said the US guarantee protects the maritime border agreement with Israel despite Netanyahu’s objections, which he said could benefit the militant Hezbollah that has been fighting Israel.
“Israel cannot go against the will of the United States because it needs the protection of the United States. Therefore, it is unlikely that a Netanyahu-led government will scrap the U.S.-brokered maritime border agreement … Netanyahu’s strong Despite the rhetoric,” Chatham House.
Leaders at the summit in Algiers were tight-lipped about their respective divisions over ties with Israel and reiterated their support for the Palestinian state, which Netanyahu was adamantly opposed to, despite the elections. did not mention.
Netanyahu, whose policies toward the Palestinians have angered many in the Arab world since he first came to power 26 years ago, said that under his leadership the government would act responsibly and avoid “unnecessary adventures.” and promised to “widen the circle of peace.”
But in Jordan, home to millions of Palestinian refugees and their families, his expected victory was feared.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated under Netanyahu’s last prime minister, with King Abdullah scrapping parts of the 1994 peace deal, allowing Israel to use two lands along the border.
“Israel’s policy under Netanyahu was at odds with Jordan’s official policy,” said Hamad Faraneh, a former member of the Jordanian parliament.
“Jordan is concerned about increasing tensions and violence in Palestine, leading to more Palestinian movements and immigration to the Kingdom,” said Faraneh.
Jordan’s Islamist opposition has urged Arab countries to take a tough stance.
“Today the Israeli right is talking about the expulsion of Palestinians. They say there is no (Palestinian) state.. So what is left for the Arabs?” Islamic Action in Jordan Murad Adaira, Front’s Executive Director, said:
“What is required of these Arab countries is to rely on their own people and support the Palestinian resistance.”
HA Hellyer, a non-resident fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel, a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will work with Netanyahu again. He said he would likely find a way.
Netanyahu said, “Even just looking like a peace process officially endorsed by Egypt was terrible,” he said. “But they have dealt with him and will deal with him.”
Reported by Suleiman al-Khalidi from Amman, Maya Gebeily, Timour Azhari and Laila Bassam from Beirut, Aidan Lewis from Cairo, Lamine Chikhi from Algiers, Andrew Mills from Doha and Ghaida Ghantous from Dubai. Written by Dominic Evans.Editing by Howard Goller
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