News Analysis: Netanyahu's victory to witness more confrontation with Palestinians, possible war against Lebanon

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-11 22:23:40|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Local analysts agree that as Israel's Blue and White alliance led by Benny Gantz has conceded the electoral race, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is inching closer to forming a government for a fifth time.

Under his government, with the right-wing parties who are backing Netanyahu, conflicts will increase between Israel and Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, experts said.

"The political base inside Israel has shifted to the right. Today, everybody in Israel is speaking about security and there is no mention whatsoever for the peace process, the two-state solution or other economic issues that used to be a slogan carried by the left wing," said Sami Nader, director of Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs in Lebanon, adding that the priority for the right-wing parties is the security of Israel.

Nader explained that Netanyahu not only transformed the Likud Party into a party defending the Jewish identity and security but also shifted the focus from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the confrontation with Iran.

"This would say that the confrontation with Iran will witness more tension. It will increase and get sour," he said.

Nader added that the U.S. President Donald Trump's designation of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization one day ahead of the Israeli elections was meant to support Netanyahu in his electoral campaign.

Moreover, Nader said that the chances of a war at present are greater than the past.

"Now that the elections are over, Netanyahu has nothing to lose. He can deal with the threat by waging a quick war that may include Lebanon as well," Nader said, adding that Israel will go into a long and exhausting war. It tried in its 2006 war against Lebanon but failed to reach its objectives.

Nader added that Iran may drag Israel into a protracted war because of the increased American sanctions.

Political analyst Youssef Diab told Xinhua that Netanyahu's fifth term means that there will be more confrontation because he will attempt to take advantage of the presence of Trump in power for him to make historical achievements.

Netanyahu may want to achieve all the things that he has been campaigning for ahead of the elections such as turning Jerusalem into the capital of Israel, placing Golan Heights under Israel's authority in addition to annexing parts of the West Bank as Israeli territory, Diab said.

The United States has taken a series of measures against Palestinians in order to increase pressure on them to accept a new peace plan to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is rejected by Palestinians.

The Palestinians say the U.S. plan, known as "Deal of the Century," is meant to eliminate rights of Palestinians, mainly refugees' right of return.

Diab added that the Palestinian and Syrian populations will not remain silent if Netanyahu attempts to implement such measures in reality.

"People in Palestine and Syria will not accept these measures regardless of the reaction of Arab regimes which will lead to more confrontations," he said.

Diab added that Israel will continue to attack Iranian targets in Syria, adding that new sanctions by the United States will be imposed on Iran and Lebanon will be one of the battlefields.

He also explained that Iran is well aware that the international community wanted Lebanon to remain secure because of the presence of over a million of Syrian refugees who will attempt to immigrate to Europe if a war erupts in Lebanon.

"Iran will use Lebanon to pressure the international community and achieve better conditions when going into negotiations," he said.

Meanwhile, Political analyst Rafik Nasrallah does not consider that Netanyahu's victory will lead to much changes in the region.

"Despite the fact that the stay of Netanyahu in power is part of the measures that are needed to accomplish the 'Deal of the Century,' I do not believe that any war will take place," he said.

Nasrallah believes that more conflicts will take place in Gaza with the Palestinians in preparation for the "Deal of the Century" but Arabs and the Palestinians will not remain silent.

He added that Netanyahu will not wage a war against Lebanon because the United States and Israel have other alternatives such as sanctions which caused much economic deterioration in Iran and Syria and possibly in Lebanon soon.