Israel's foreign policy has long been built in the space between the two poles & ndash; Iran and the United States. In this sense, nothing has changed over the past year and is unlikely to change in the future.
The arrival in the White House of a Democratic president, obsessed with the idea of renewing the nuclear deal with Tehran, has put the new government in a difficult position. Washington hoped for a better understanding with the “ moderate '' cabinet versus Netanyahu's right-wing coalition; Bennett and Lapid initially received a credit of confidence that it would be a shame to lose. At the same time, it was required to convey to the US government the whole danger of lifting sanctions against Iran. The latter task seemed practically impossible if the Iranian negotiators themselves had not shown unexpected stubbornness in putting forward their demands at a meeting in Vienna. Here, not only American politicians, but also restrained Europeans started talking about the dubiousness of a diplomatic solution to the problem, and Israel began to inspect the capabilities of its army to start hostilities.
Will there be a clash with Iran? This is the main intrigue of the coming year. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: neither the United States nor Europe wants this clash, their talk of an “ alternative '' option & ndash; just a way of putting pressure on an intractable partner. American representatives are already ready for an interim agreement on almost all Iranian terms. If Israel wants to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, it will have to make a decision on its own, at best – without the support of the international community, and at worst – & ndash; being condemned. As has been said more than once, the conclusion of the nuclear deal and the failure of the negotiations are equally bad for us. Meanwhile, relations with Washington are slowly but steadily deteriorating amid disagreements between our parties over the Iranian issue.
The Palestinian problem is still of little concern to the international community, although Abu Mazen is with some success trying to establish a dialogue with the new Israeli government (for example, he meets with Gantz) and to enlist economic assistance. Meanwhile, the US is reopening Palestinian diplomatic missions previously closed by Trump. These tendencies, however, should not deceive anyone: as we know from experience, peace initiatives usually end in a surge of violence and another intifada. This is evidenced by the escalation in the territories and the constant ultimatums of Hamas. It is not difficult to predict that next year we will face at least one armed confrontation with Gaza according to the usual scenario: missiles, retaliatory strikes by the IDF Air Force, and Egyptian intervention. What's new here is that Hamas is increasingly reacting to events taking place inside Israel.
The fate of the Abraham Covenants is interesting. At one time, Netanyahu argued that diplomatic relations with Arab countries were established solely thanks to his connections and efforts. The new cabinet manages to successfully maintain and expand these relations (suffice it to recall the opening of the Consulate General in Dubai, Gantz's visit to Morocco, Lapid's meeting with the King of Bahrain, etc.), but their weight and significance are becoming less and less important. While maintaining external cooperation with Israel, our new friends are looking for ways of dialogue with Iran, that is, they are moving away from the main goal of this alliance in the form in which it was conceived by Trump, namely & ndash; unification against a common enemy. Thus, it is more and more difficult for Israel to rely on even indirect assistance from Arab countries in its confrontation with Tehran.
All the more unexpected is the turn in Turkey's foreign policy, which suddenly embarked on a course of rapprochement with Israel under the unspoken slogan of “ forget the old strife. '' The reason for such a sharp warming, apparently, was the same Iran, whose interests in Syria increasingly conflict with those of Erdogan.
Prime Minister Bennett was especially proud of the preservation of agreements with Russia on Israel's right to attack from the air the positions of Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in Syria. The warm welcome given to Bennett Putin dealt another painful blow to Netanyahu's pride, who explained his understanding with the Kremlin by his personal relationship with the Russian president. However, here, too, Moscow's interests remain in the first place, which does not need an excessive strengthening of Iran.
Experts highly assess Israel's rapprochement with India in the light of the formation of an anti-Chinese economic bloc headed by the United States. It is believed that participation in this bloc will allow the Jewish state to reach a new level of international influence.
On the whole, a rather strange picture is emerging: world foreign policy, along which Israel is drifting, is moving in two opposite directions. On the one hand, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation between different countries is strengthening, on the other & ndash; the danger of local and global wars is growing, the arms race and militaristic rhetoric are intensifying. It is impossible to say which trend will win today, but Israel will certainly experience their influence next year, and possibly find itself at the epicenter of the most important events.
Author: Ira Kogan