Should Be the Priorities for the New Government?
Governing is first and foremost about
prioritising, so when Israelis go to the polls they are in fact choosing between
priorities, a product of ideology, values, capabilities, challenges, political
constraints and leadership.
Whereas the Right and the Left in
Israel try to shape the debate as if it is between different priorities
regarding the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the new Blue and White
party has no coherent policy on the issue. It claims that there is no Right or
Left anymore and that the debate is about the kind of
leadership Israel needs rather than where it will lead. In
fact, most of those who intend to vote for “Blue and White” come from the
centre-Left circles so they likely oppose the Right’s approach about
The Israeli government’s priorities
after the election will of course reflect their results, mainly in the
Palestinian context, where Israel will have to examine the American peace
proposal and adopt a policy towards it. And while prioritising has historically
been centred on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in this election, even as the
new US peace plan is about to be presented to the parties, the new ‘Blue and
White’ party seemingly has no coherent policy on that issue.
THE TRUMP PEACE PLAN AND THE PALESTINIAN ARENA
Israel’s response to the plan will
reflect its commitment to seek a peace that guarantees its security and so will
probably be ‘Yes, but’. At the same time, Israel will have to:
IRAN, RUSSIA AND RELATIONS WITH THE US
On most other National Security
challenges there are very limited differences between the parties. Israel will
have to keep fighting against the threats emanating from Iran in Syria and
elsewhere in the region – especially against Iranian efforts to improve
Hezbollah’s rockets; continue to oppose the Iranian nuclear deal, and
cooperate with Washington in an effort to bring Europe on board; cooperate with
Russia to maintain its freedom to operate against Iran in Syria; keep fighting
against the attempt to delegitimise and boycott Israel and expose the
anti-Semitic nature of anti-Zionism; keep and deepen the strategic relations
with the United States while trying to stop the process that turns relations
with Israel into a partisan issue; and further enhance cooperation with the
pragmatic Arab states – both those with whom Israel has a peace agreement and
with those whom it does not.
THE PRAGMATIC ARAB STATES
These pragmatic Arab states share the
same view of the region, and identify all radicals – from extremists such as
ISIS, Al Qaeda and Iran’s leadership to the more ‘realistic’ Moslem
Brotherhood (and the states they control like Qatar, Turkey and Gaza) – as
dangerous threats. Israel should try to convince these pragmatists to use the
expected Palestinian rejection of the American peace plan as a justification for
having closer ties with Israel. This may eventually help in pushing the
Palestinians to adopt a more realistic approach towards the peace plan.
With the growing pressures on the Iranian regime and on the Palestinians (both the PA and Hamas) the probability of escalation might grow significantly. This means that Israel must continue to spend more on improving its military readiness and maintaining its intelligence, air, cyber and army superiority. This requires that the Israeli economy continue to flourish and that domestic unity is restored after what has been a bitter elections period. At this point the chances that such unity will emerge seem limited, but politics, and especially Israeli politics have always been full of surprises.