the end of an era? by Ahmed Charsi

An unequal centre-left-to-far-right coalition, with the support of Mansour’s Arab List, on the pretext of needing to avoid elections, ended Netanyahu’s 12-year rule. It is a phenomenon that fits perfectly into Israel’s domestic politics, where absolute proportionality enforces alliances unthinkable in other democracies.

In his speech to the Knesset, Netanyahu praised his record. Financially, this is a fact. Unemployment has fallen, living standards have risen, the high-tech sector has developed. But the tension within the society is very high.

On the diplomatic front, Biden’s arrival undermines Likud’s alleged refusal to “land for peace.” Netanyahu’s record at this point is bleak. He took advantage of the division to close all doors and prevent any possibility of negotiations. This is a mistake, because it is better to negotiate from a position of strength. But it is not certain that the alliance which is successful will do much better.

First, because of its weakness of heterogeneity. Only the desire to get rid of Netanyahu united all its members. It will face the withdrawal of the United States to the Iranian nuclear deal, which is considered important by all Israelis, and also the question of establishing settlements that divide the right and the left, especially Israel. Within the different communities each have very specific social, economic and political demands.

This alliance also has a chance. For the first time in history she joined an Arab party.

Arab Israelis also have their own demands on security, education, industrialization of their territories and ownership of their land. Above all, they are ideal mediators for talking to Palestinians, their families in the regions. If the Bennett government knows how to confiscate this card, it could open up possibilities for real appeasement.

Overall, the situation is not exceptionally stable. Nothing predicts that this new majority will last 4 years. Netanyahu is a master of the art of defeating alliances. Its weakness is legal matters. If he is convicted, his career is over, otherwise he will remain the strong man of Likud, which remains Israel’s dominant party.

This political instability, if confirmed, would pose a real regional problem, but also at the Mediterranean level. Regardless, there is genuine consensus within Israeli society, on strategic and security issues.

It cannot be denied that the Palestinian leadership(s) must qualify their positions to participate in rare breaches, with a view to taking small steps towards peace. We wish it!

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