To Gulf Leaders, Palestinian Rights and Regional Harmony Trump Israeli Internal Politics
An Israeli man walks by a Likud party campaign billboard showing Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid on March 15, 2021 in Hadera, Israel. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

To Gulf Leaders, Palestinian Rights and Regional Harmony Trump Israeli Internal Politics

Regional analysts doubt new government in Jerusalem will yield major shift on existing agreements, key regional issues; say implementing two-state solution is of utmost concern for most nations

Many Gulf leaders are hoping that Israel’s fifth election in four years, set to take place next Tuesday, will yield political stability and facilitate a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, analysts in the region told The Media Line. 

Gulf newspapers and media outlets have been reporting on the elections with relative impartiality, the experts said. This includes not backing a particular bloc in the contest, reporting about all sides in election news and publishing statements from across the political spectrum. 

The analysts also noted that the 2020 Abraham Accords treaty signed by Bahrain and the UAE to normalize ties with Israel remains strong and stable. 

“The election process in Israel is going smoothly, and the Abraham Accords are also going the way they were meant to,” said Marwan Hatem, a journalist specializing in Israeli affairs.

 “As a follower of Israeli news, I see that all parties will follow these accords, and there will be no problem or obstacle in implementing the further development of relations between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE,” he said.  

 In fact, Bahraini political analyst Saad Rashid believes that Bahrain and Israel will develop more economic, political and security agreements. 

 “Israel is a state of institutions … and it has its own path. Its foreign policy is stable and clear, and there are many points of agreement with the Gulf states, [be it] those who signed the Abraham Accords with Israel or those who did not,” he said.  

“Despite everything that happened during the last period in Israel, relations between Bahrain, the UAE and Israel continued to progress,” agreed Bahraini analyst Mohammed Mubarak. 

“All we expect from the Israeli elections is political stability in Israel, and we hope that the Israelis will choose someone who will represent them and bring them prosperity and progress, and who can end the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians,” he added. 

Bahraini journalist Mohammed Hassan also told The Media Line that in the Gulf, “it is not important who wins the elections in Israel, as much as it is important to be in agreement on important political issues in the region, including having practical steps to move forward on the path of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” 

This sentiment was echoed by Saudi political analyst Mutlaq Al-Anzi, who told The Media Line that “we look forward to having a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” 

Al-Anzi also said that the UAE and Bahrain are “moving in the direction of deepening relations” with Israel, whose foreign policy “is based on several institutions, not people” and therefore will largely be unaffected by a new government. 

“Israel’s stability is certainly part of the stability of the region, but stability must be for the Palestinians as well,” said Saudi journalist Sabika Al-Dosari. 

“In general, it does not matter who is the prime minister, cabinet formation, or members of the Knesset, but the most important thing is what they will present to the region and the Palestinians.” 

In general, Israeli elections are an “internal matter” and the main concern in the region is the impact on resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, says Ahmed Al-Faraj, a Saudi professor of international relations. 

“The Gulf and Arabs are waiting for what the next government will present to the two-state solution,” he said.  

He called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “one of the longest conflicts of this century,” and slammed the ruling Democratic Party in the US for failing to continue efforts by the previous Republican administration for trying to resolve it. He also warned that “we should not wait for much from the Israeli government.” 

 “Settlements will continue and restrictions will be imposed on the Palestinians as well,” he said. “This is a permanent policy of Israel. It is true that we agree on hostility against Iran, but we differ on the Arab issue.” 

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