Netanyahu’s return threatens status quo, unveils Israeli extremism

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AMMAN — Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel despite a short stint, returned to power on Thursday, bringing in what is believed to be Israel’s most right-wing government yet. اضافة اعلان

To Jordanian experts, Netanyahu’s return unveils the extremism of Israel’s government and places the Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem at risk. 

‘Fascist racism’“The results of the 25th Knesset showed the transition of Israeli racism to a new phase — fascist racism,” Political analyst Oraib Al-Rantawi told Jordan News. 

Netanyahu, 73, is currently fighting corruption allegations in court and was ousted from the government in 2021 by a coalition of leftists, centrists, and Arab parties. 

However, his return did not take long. On November 1, he entered talks with extreme-right and ultra-Orthodox parties to form a government. 

In those talks were Bezalel Smotrich's Religious Zionism formation and Itamar Ben Gvir's Jewish Power party, both known for harsh anti-Arab rhetoric and for promoting violence against Palestinians. 

“Smotrich and Ben Gvir have previously called for the expulsion of Arab Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship,” Former minister of foreign affairs Marwan Muasher said. “This coalition represents a degree of apartheid that cannot be denied,” he added. 

Netanyahu’s government will be “the most right-wing in the history of Israel and the most racist,” he added. 

Bringing the religious Zionist movement led by Smotrich and Ben Gvir’s Jewish Power party to the center of political and security decision-making in Israel, “despite the movements being classified as terrorist even within Israel,” said Rantawi, will pull the movements from the margins of the Israeli political map to the center. 

Smotrich will head the Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank, and Ben Gvir will take charge of the Israeli police, which has also been operating in the illegally occupied territory since 1967.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu’s government put West Bank settlement expansion at the top of its priority list, vowing to legalize dozens of illegally built outposts and annex the occupied territory as part of its coalition deal with ultranationalist allies, reported AP.
Netanyahu’s government will be “the most right-wing in the history of Israel and the most racist”.
Israeli violence in the West Bank has surged this year. 

Threats to Hashemite Custodianship Since 1942, the Hashemite family has been Jerusalem's Custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites. 

With Netanyahu’s right-wing government, many have voiced concerns over His Majesty King Abdullah’s role as Custodian of holy sites. 

“The time where Israel saw Jordan’s security as its own has passed,” said Rantawi. 

“The right-wing racist alliance will target custodianship. It will not hide its aggression against Jordan, starting with Netanyahu and ending with Ben Gvir,” he added. 

Since 1967, when Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan, provisions regarding the Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites were administered through a “status quo” understanding between Jordan and Israel. 

Despite the custodianship, Jordan has no control over movement in and around the holy sites.

“Policy towards Jordan will be more extreme,” said former foreign minister Muasher. “Violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque will increase, as this (Netanyahu’s) government does not believe in any political solution to the Palestinian cause.”

Ben Gvir has repeatedly visited Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Many Palestinians and leaders see a visit by a serving Israeli minister as a provocation.
“The right-wing racist alliance will target custodianship. It will not hide its aggression against Jordan, starting with Netanyahu and ending with Ben Gvir.”
Israel’s new government has vocally opposed the two-state solution and instead supported extending Israel into the occupied West Bank. 

“Jordan should prepare for such alliances and not deepen its relations in vital and strategic sectors such as gas, electricity, and water” with Israel, said Muasher. 

“Jordan should review its current policy with Israel and expose Israel’s racist practices that are not accepted by the international community,” he added, citing the US’ previous opposition to Ben Gvir as an example. 

“Jordan cannot stand by and watch the formation of this government, and we must adopt a clear and oppositional policy.”

‘Danger’ to Palestine, ArabsThe new government's goal, said Israeli affairs expert and analyst Ismat Mansour, is to “eliminate the two-state solution, expand settlements, and establish a strong infrastructure”. 

“This will create a clash,” he added. “Legitimizing settlement expansion and infrastructure at the expense of the Palestinian territories, the demolition of Area C, which amounts to 70,000 Palestinian houses, and the incursions on Al-Aqsa Mosque will lead to major conflicts.”

Regarding this, Political analyst Labib Kamhawi told Jordan News that the danger of Netanyahu’s government is “looming over the Palestinian cause first and all Arab security second”.

The increase in hostile hate speech by Israel’s new government is “blocking the political horizon,” said Mansour. “The weakening of the Palestinian Authority will also further push toward an explosion.”

However, Mansour believes that Netanyahu has a different agenda in the Arab region. “He wants peace with Saudi Arabia and seeks to achieve regional achievements and bring the Iranian file back on the scene.”

‘No change’ with Israeli racism“Netanyahu will not change anything,” political analyst Labib Kamhawi told Jordan News. Instead, the new government will make Israel’s “racist position against Arabs” clearer. 

This racism, he stated, “exists on the right and left” of Israeli politics.

Kamhawi said that Netanyahu's coming to power would simply confirm the reality of Israel, which is for the government to “highlight the Jewishness of Israel”.

Despite this, he said, “the youth of Palestine have the strength to resist this racism and express rejection”.

On November 13, Netanyahu secured a mandate to form a government, which he did minutes before the deadline on December 21. According to Mansour, many parties in Netanyahu’s coalition were able “to be openly extreme” because these parties “are fully aware that Netanyahu is weak and has no other alternative”. 
The danger of Netanyahu’s government is “looming over the Palestinian cause first and all Arab security second”.
“He has no government without their right-wing, anti-anything-not-Jewish agenda”.

Mission to ‘Judaize Jerusalem’“Israeli settlers make up 10 percent of the Jewish population in Israel, but their representation in the Knesset exceeds this percentage,” said Rantawi. 

This, he said, is an indication that there is an organized and disproportionate representation of the political right. 

“The Israeli right today control 82 seats, including 32 seats for religious settler forces,” he noted. 

Israel is moving to a new phase in government, Rantawi said, “one that emphasizes settlers as the center of decision-making in Israel”.

“They are supported by the forces of ultra-Orthodox Jews and those with extreme chauvinistic national tendency.”

Rantawi anticipates that the West Bank and Jerusalem will witness a major settlement confrontation and works by the Israeli right to accelerate the missions to “Judaize the city of Jerusalem”.

“Israel is preparing a chronological and spatial division of Al-Aqsa mosque,” he said. 

“This is based on projects to expand the Mughrabi Bridge to be an entrance for settlers who believe that the time for building the Temple has come, even if it is on the ruins of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

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