Israel’s new political landscape after a recent general election has raised concerns that the expanded influence of the far-right camp in the Jewish nation could only add to the turbulence in the Middle East, which has long been mired in conflicts elsewhere.

We are disturbed by the prospect of a new hard-line Israeli government provoking a fresh chain of violence.

In the Israeli parliament elections on Nov. 1, the right-wing forces supporting former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a majority.

Netanyahu, who was ousted in June 2021 amid political turmoil and in the face of bribery and other criminal charges against him, has received the official mandate from the president to form the next government. He is expected to return to power after about one and a half years of being in the opposition.

More than seven decades since the foundation of Israel, Palestinians have yet to have their own nation. Suffering under Israel’s occupation, more than 5 million Palestinians live as refugees. This dire, unreasonable situation for Palestinians is at the root of instability in the Middle East.

The international community has been calling for a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which envisions an independent State of Palestine peacefully coexisting with Israel.

But Netanyahu, a hard-line politician who was in power for 15 years, has consistently rejected the idea and promoted Israeli settlements in occupied territories, which are illegal under international law.

What is worrisome is that a far-right party promoting an even more extremist policy agenda has more than doubled its parliamentary strength.

Its radical rightist proposals, including the annexation of the entire occupied West Bank and expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied territories, have gone over well with voters and helped the party become the second largest bloc in the coalition being put together by Netanyahu.

If Netanyahu prioritizes ties with the ultra-rightest group and adopts discriminatory policies, he would certainly face a fierce backlash from Palestinians. That would deeply undermine Israel’s democracy itself. We urge Netanyahu to restrain himself from treading down this dangerous path.

A sense of hopelessness has grown among Palestinians living in occupied territories. About 90 percent of young people in the Gaza Strip believe their lives are abnormal compared to the lives of youths living elsewhere, according to an online survey of young people under 30 living in the Palestinian enclave conducted this summer by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The survey also found that nearly 70 percent believe there will be new rounds of escalations of fighting in the future.

On Nov. 23, two blasts in Jerusalem near bus stops killed a teenager and injured more than a dozen citizens. Israeli authorities believe they were bomb attacks by Palestinian militant groups. The incidents could trigger a wave of violence by both sides under the new government.

A deteriorating security situation in Israel could further destabilize the region. If the Israel administration steps up its suppression of Palestinians, the country’s efforts to improve its relations with Gulf states and Turkey, which have made some progress, would be negatively affected.

Tensions between Israel and its archenemy, Iran, would soar.

The United States has traditionally had a special relationship with the Jewish state. Washington has been providing massive military aid to the country.

After Israel’s election, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his concern over spiraling violence in the occupied West Bank. The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden, which supports the two-state solution, should make stern responses if Netanyahu adopts a policy that hinders the Middle East peace process.

Japan, which depends on the Middle East for 90 percent of its crude oil imports, has a clear interest in supporting efforts to promote stability in the region. Tokyo has been making steady, if low-profile, diplomatic efforts to build trust between Israel and Palestine.

To prevent these efforts from going down the drain, Japan needs to expand its involvement in promoting regional stability with a clear and determined commitment.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 25

QOSHE - EDITORIAL: New far-right government in Israel threatens Mideast peace - The Asahi Shimbun
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EDITORIAL: New far-right government in Israel threatens Mideast peace

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25.11.2022

Israel’s new political landscape after a recent general election has raised concerns that the expanded influence of the far-right camp in the Jewish nation could only add to the turbulence in the Middle East, which has long been mired in conflicts elsewhere.

We are disturbed by the prospect of a new hard-line Israeli government provoking a fresh chain of violence.

In the Israeli parliament elections on Nov. 1, the right-wing forces supporting former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a majority.

Netanyahu, who was ousted in June 2021 amid political turmoil and in the face of bribery and other criminal charges against him, has received the official mandate from the president to form the next government. He is expected to return to power after about one and a half years of being in the opposition.

More than seven decades since the foundation of Israel, Palestinians have yet to have their own nation. Suffering under Israel’s occupation, more than 5 million Palestinians live as refugees. This dire, unreasonable situation for Palestinians is at the root of........

© The Asahi Shimbun


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