Joining me live is news at the New South Wales Sky News contributor Michael Ware, who’s not a New South Wales. He joins us live from the US. And that is particularly relevant, Michael Ware because this might actually change the relationship between Israel and the United States. Already, there’s been a request for money to replenish the Iron Dome.
That’s right, and that will have to be approved by Congress. And already we’re seeing some of the progressive wings of the Democratic Party wanting to make future arms sales to Israel conditional. So, look, the first thing to say is nothing’s a done deal yet. You know, we know that a week can be a long time in politics, particularly in Israel. And whilst this coalition has announced that it has the ability to form a government and notify the president of that.
They still have to be that parliamentary voting in the Knesset that you mentioned now that could come soon or it may take until June 14 for parliament to be resumed. Now, in that time, this loose-fitting coalition, this constellation of disparate parties and disparate interests needs to hold together, because I can tell you now the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu and Netanyahu himself will be doing everything they can to peel the one or two members of this coalition away, that they need to scupper the entire alliance.
I can assure you Netanyahu will be devoting himself to that mission in the next few days. But you’re right to point to the relationship with the United States. This is an opportunity, perhaps, for the Obama administration and an incoming administration in Israel to reset the tenor and the tone of that relationship. Now, we know that Yair Lapid, one of the two rotating prime ministers, has a fairly close relationship with the US. He’s been working very hard over recent years, and he’s actually developed relationships within the Democrat Party.
And, you know, traditionally the Republicans are the most staunch supporters of Israel. So perhaps he’ll be making inroads into the nature of of that relationship by bringing in more congressional Democrats at this. At the same time, Don, Yair Lapid will be perhaps the face of this relatively Hard-Line government, but he could be viewed in the U.S. as a more moderating influence on some of the hawks. So that might make it easier for U.S. President Joe Biden and the secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, to embrace him.
So let’s see what both of these countries do with this opportunity, if, in fact, it does emerge and the coalition survives.
Yeah, it’s funny that you are not funny, but it is very interesting, Michael, that you are putting some doubt over this opposition coalition surviving because you’re right to Rice that this is a country that has been to five elections in two years. Benjamin Netanyahu has shown no signs of wanting to relinquish the leadership in Israel. This is just weeks after the latest flare-up of violence in that part of the world, the latest intifada where the Iron Dome protected Israeli citizens, as it has done in the past.
But there was some commentary a couple of weeks ago that the flare-up and the fight between Israel and Gaza a couple of weeks ago might just help Netanyahu politically, but it hasn’t played out that way.
No, you’re right, Laura, that was the conventional wisdom coming into last weekend, you know, as we know, virtually every society at a time of war rallies around its leader and there’s no greater saber rattling than Benjamin Netanyahu. And he does present a strong on security presence that Israelis have come to rely on over his 12 years in office. So he’s an iconic figure and he’s someone that people have learned to trust with their security. So, yes, it was thought that the.
The conflict with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza might have bolstered Netanyahu enough that no challenge could have been made and we would have had to head into that election in two years. But as you can tell, that’s all changed. And I think it caught a lot of people off of food or on the back foot when that happened. But, look, I just there’s a lot to go into Splice here and just ask you, because, you know, this part of the world better than most of us, but almost better than anyone.
What changes with this opposition coalition? How would Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, the countries surrounding Israel view the new leadership? And would there be a greater chance of some kind of longer term resolution with Hamas?
Well, look, I think, you know, first of all, to your question, most of the regional stakeholders there will be biding their time. They’re going to I suspect they’ll take a wait-and-see kind of strategy for now. But I dare say some of them will see opportunities perhaps for some kind of rapprochement. But first, they, like us, are going to have to see how this potential government comes together and whether know, despite all its differences, it can govern coherently.
And but the broader question is the Palestinian issue. Now, here is a great way to look at some of the tensions within this this alliance or this coalition, because the first prime minister who has been proposed, Naftali Bennett, he’s an ardent Right-Wing Nationalist. He’s pro settler. He he’s pro annexation of further territory in the West Bank. And he opposes a two state solution, which he says would be suicide for Israel, whereas the other rotating prime minister, Yair Lapid, he favors the two state solution.
So, look, right now, put it this way. Right now, the U.S. is not going to push this emerging government for any kind of a grander peace deal, not for quite some time, for several reasons. One is these tensions. The other is its ability to really function. But also right now, pushing for a broader peace deal isn’t in America’s interests, because front and center for America at the moment are trying to get the Iran nuclear deal back together.
Indeed, the negotiations are so advanced that we may see some movement on that within weeks. And what the Bush administration wants to do is going to have to do is to hold its political powder dry on a broader peace deal because it’s going to need that political capital to bring this emerging Israeli administration into the tent where they can live with a new nuclear deal with Iran.
Michael Ware, your knowledge here is invaluable. We thank you so much for your time. We’ll speak again very soon.