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With Trump a lame duck, Bibi is moving fast

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Benjamin Netanyahu boasts that “he has been very busy” in recent weeks since the results of the US elections have made it clear that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021. He has done practically everything conceivable to create new facts on the ground, prior to the transfer of power in Washington. Together with the present occupant of the White House and his fellow traveler, Donald Trump, the flurry of activity that Netanyahu has initiated on the regional level — and especially on the Palestinian front — presents immense challenges to the incoming US administration, raising serious questions for the Israeli relationship with the United States in the future.

Netanyahu’s assumption that his provocative adventurism during this lame duck period can be carried out with impunity, however, is misplaced — if not utterly mistaken. The amount of suspicion and ill-will it fosters threatens to endanger decades of robust Israeli ties with the United States. The close association between Trump and Netanyahu, frequently at the expense of the long-term interests of the countries they head, has already undermined the bipartisan basis upon which these links have rested. Instead of further endangering their durability, Israeli coalition, as well as opposition leaders, would do well to rein in Netanyahu’s hyperactivity before it is too late.

Benjamin Netanyahu has many reasons to use the short weeks before the transfer of power in Washington to his advantage. In his mind, this period provides an unusual opportunity to pursue a multiplicity of actions with very little — if any — detrimental pushback. In fact, military initiatives both close and farther from home can, or so he thinks, assist in resurrecting his somewhat tainted image as “Mr. Security,” while simultaneously reinforcing his right-wing political base. Indeed, in light of the drop in his popularity in the wake of repeated errors in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic fallout, external ventures have the added value of diverting attention away from growing domestic unrest on the eve of yet another round of elections to be conducted during his trial on several counts of bribery and malfeasance. The prime minister is well........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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