The Israeli home front should watch the latest regional moves

Protesters attend a massive ‘Independence Party’, in a demonstration against the judicial reform of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nationalist coalition government, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 25, 2023. REUTERS/Corinna Kern (CORINNA KERN /)

Always attentive to regional challenges in terms of their national security, even with sectors that seem divided within their civil society, but interpreting the step back taken by the prime minister as positive Benjamin Netanyahu In the debate that gave rise to the crisis over judicial reform, this week the State of Israel commemorated the 75th anniversary of its Independence.

The prime minister knew how to interpret pausing his political strategy for judicial reform as a sign of democratic health, which, according to his critics, was an element of social irritation and subjugation of the stability of Israeli democratic institutions. However, some minor pockets of discontent continue underlying the opposition, although to a lesser extent than the massive mobilizations seen in almost the entire country a few weeks ago.

While that is happening, Israel’s enemies see an opportunity to take advantage and capitalize on the potential disorder that could be unleashed if mobilizations return to the streets. The construction of the idea of ​​his adversaries is simple but not for that reason innocuous: “To the extent that the Netanyahu government finds itself in charge of resolving the issues derived from the protests, its enemies believe that they will find themselves in a favorable position vis-à-vis an Israeli state focused on its internal problems and therefore not as attentive to deepening that regional challenges demand”.

Although none of this has been confirmed or denied by Israeli national security; Western intelligence agencies maintain that – for the first time in many years – its enemies perceive a certain underlying vulnerability within Israel. In fact, some regional movements in recent weeks, such as the rapprochement and imminent reactivation of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, may be a complication in Jerusalem’s diplomatic strategy due to the progress that was expected in the short term. deadline on an official recognition of the House of Saud towards the Jewish state; At the same time, it could trigger certain disagreements between Jerusalem and Washington, which is why disagreements between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government are looming, something that Israel does not want or need as it seeks to avoid the aggravation of any internal crisis with an opposition crouching in its desire to weaken the prime minister.

In this direction, the confirmation of the Israeli security agencies of the plans of the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, to accept the official invitation of Riyadh to visit the Saudi kingdom, repaid by Tehran with its invitation to the Saudi king to visit Iran. Both events were hailed and endorsed by the leadership of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, who are also arranging to meet with Saudi officials next week to agree to normalize relations that had not only been severed but had no chance of being restored after Hamas overthrew -through a coup that gave it control of Gaza- the Palestinian National Authority and killed several men close to Riyadh in that unexpected coup in 2007.

The movement hamas He publicly declared on several occasions his search for the destruction of the State of Israel, so Saudi support would have a high regional impact and Hamas would feel strengthened in its postulates. According to European security agencies, the Palestinian movement has expanded and strengthened its operations in South Lebanon. An embassy of a major western European country in Beirut has issued classified reports indicating Iran’s ties to and aid to that Hamas expansion from southern Lebanon towards Israel’s northern border, a territory that supposedly should be controlled by UN troops and free of weapons other than those of the Lebanese army. Given this, Israel accused the Palestinian movement of having fired some 25 missiles on its territory from that region of Lebanese territory earlier this month.

According to other reports published by the regional Arab press, Iran has also given itself diplomatic work to restore its relations. with the Arab Republic of Egypt (considered a power in the Arab world) with which Israel has relations and a peace agreement for several years that allowed both countries to work together in terms of exchange, trade and science and technology, but most importantly, in important aspects of national security for both states.

On the same map of changing relations, Arab states are reaching out and inviting Syria, an open ally of Iran and an enemy of the Jewish state. This sets up a strong signal from the Arab countries in favor of President Bachar Al-Assad, who had been expelled from the Arab League and denounced by it as a regional pariah given the brutality with which the Syrian Sunni community denounced having been repressed for his government during the so-called Arab Spring uprising of 2011, and the same in the subsequent harrowing civil war that followed and destroyed much of that country. However, the current rapprochement with Assad is marking his return to the concert of Arab states.

As confirmed to Infobae by Arab sources, the Cooperation Council for the Gulf Countries (CCPG for its acronym in Spanish), Saudi Arabia would be playing a decisive role in the instrumentation to lift the veto on Al-Assad and facilitate the return of Syria to the Arab chessboard. with the sole demand that the Syrian Sunnis -supported by the Gulf Arabs- have greater participation and decision-making capacity in the Syrian government.

Western intelligence agencies have detailed reports on the trip of the Syrian Foreign Minister, Feisal Al-Miqdad to Jeddah and the meetings he had with his colleagues from the Gulf. These meetings were the first formal meetings of a senior Syrian official with the GCCG since the Arab League had severed relations with the Syrian government. This aspect should be central for Israel as it shows an unexpected rapprochement between Syria and the powerful members of the CCPG. In this map of political rearrangement of relations in the Arab world, Israel is facing a scenario that is changing rapidly and that may not be stable or calm for it.

The relevant detail of the board that is being drawn seems that it is no longer divided in the historic Sunni and Shiite confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Riyadh is no longer inching towards Jerusalem and away from Tehran as it was in the days of the Trump administration, where the Abraham Accords were reached and Syria is no longer regarded as a fringe dictatorship by the Arab world. These movements open up a scenario of new challenges for the Israeli government where the central concern was how to address the military problem posed by Iran by virtue of its nuclear progress and the threat that this meant for Jerusalem, plus Tehran’s support for Palestinian groups today. it is enlarged and will surely prevent him from reaching new peace agreements with other Arab states with whom he planned to do so.

This is where the importance that Israel’s adversaries assign to internal discord and any political crisis in their government lies. Any internal disagreement will make them feel stronger and more optimistic; in fact -although this is unlikely to happen- they are installing the idea that Israel’s internal conflict generates a position of wear and tear that can lead to its destruction, something that they have sought and tried to date without success in successive wars against the Jewish state. Thus, beyond his well-known rhetoric, his enemies are waiting for the reactivation of the protests on the judicial reform and trust that they will spread to other aspects of the political life of the Israeli state, so there is no doubt that the discord internal political class and the effervescence of civil society against his prime minister favored his enemies, who continue to focus on Jerusalem as their most relevant objective.

Although many Israeli citizens do not see it, Israel today is seen by several Arab governments as a divided civil society with a marked deterioration in its functioning in relation to previous years. Whether or not this is a reality is not relevant to the perception of his adversaries. Even without publicizing it, some friendly Arab countries such as the signatories of the Abraham Accords are rethinking Israel’s regional strategic situation considering the potential internal conflict that could affect its military capacity as an ally. Given this, the Israeli state, its government and its civil society should deepen their vision of this eventual scenario as an important wake-up call and interpret that, if it ever exhibited the strength that led it to victory against its enemies, it It happened because of the unity of his people with their different governments and if he does not want to give up that strategic advantage, he should not expose his internal political disagreements as they were done. Doing so exposes him to the plans of his enemies and weakens him beyond his military strength and is highly dangerous because it would not be strange to place him in a scenario of limited options where it is not unreasonable to think that, as the only alternative, he should face a new defensive war of very high cost.

For this reason, all the parties within Israeli politics would do well to negotiate and reach a compromise that lowers the underlying internal tensions and makes it easier for their government to concentrate beyond its borders. For its part, the Biden administration, rather than manhandling Netanyahu for his attempted judicial reform, would do well to encourage a useful commitment to the regional security of the State of Israel since it is the only reliable partner it has had for years in relation to to Washington’s interests in the region.

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