The far-right government that will soon take power in Israel will be led by Benjamin Netanyahu. It marks a qualitative and alarming break with all other governments in Israel’s 75-year history.
Experts say that Netanyahu’s government is a significant threat to the future of Israel, its direction, its security, and even the idea of a Jewish homeland.
On Thursday night, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned that Netanyahu’s government “will be the first in the history of the state that the United States won’t view as its closest ally.”
The Biden administration is being called on to speak out against the troubling moves, as the new government has yet to be officially formed.
Ministers in the new government are set to include figures such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was convicted in Israel in 2007 for incitement to racism and supporting a Jewish terrorist organization. Ben-Gvir is slated to become the minister of national security.
Bezalel Smotrich, who has long supported outright annexation of the West Bank, is expected to be named the next finance minister, with additional authority over the administration of the West Bank.
Avi Moaz, who once described himself as a “proud homophobe,” is expected to be named the deputy in the prime minister’s office in charge of Jewish identity.
Experts say that while Netanyahu has yet to even take office, he is already on a collision course with the Biden administration, the European Union, and new-found allies in the Middle East under the Abraham Accords.
The Trump administration had given Israel a nod in the direction of applying sovereignty to West Bank settlements, but the matter was suspended in exchange for the Abraham Accords, under whose auspices Israel normalized ties with four Arab countries.
Now, Netanyahu has moved back in the direction of annexation, with the Religious Zionist Party reporting that there is now an agreement to put forward a policy to advance sovereignty in the West Bank.
The Netanyahu government’s posture could make it militarily and politically impossible for a two-state solution to ever emerge. Rather than accept this outcome, the Biden administration should do everything it can to express its support for a society governed by equal rights and the rule of law in Israel, as it does in countries all over the world, experts say.
Annexing the West Bank has been an understood diplomatic redline for decades. The crossing of which would have severe consequences for its diplomatic relations with the West, including the U.S.
It did not yet define which geographic portions of the West Bank were under consideration, but at a base level, it would likely include all of the settlements. These are located in Area C, which is under IDF military and civilian control.
The Netanyahu government is already under U.S. pressure to contain far-right tactics in West Bank. The U.S. has informed Israel that it will not grant entry visas to the US for Israeli security personnel or settlers who engage in violence in the West Bank.
The U.S. also indicated it may reduce its military aid to Israel, or may not grant annual guarantees for $33 billion in assistance for the next 10 years if used against Palestinians in the West Bank.