What Benjamin Netanyahu Achieved, and What His Successors Can Learn from Him

Eight days ago, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ended an unprecedented twelve consecutive years in office. Whether he will return to the office is anyone’s guess. David M. Weinberg, while frankly acknowledging Benjamin Netanyahu’s flaws and policy failures, argues that there is much to praise about his tenure. Above all else, Weinberg writes, Netanyahu made Israel strong militarily, diplomatically, and economically:

Israel’s economic attractiveness overwhelmed the nefarious Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which sought to isolate Israel and to strangle it economically. Economic success also was one of the key ingredients of last year’s Abraham Accord peace treaties. Gulf Arab nations marveled at Israel’s technological and economic success and pined to partner with it.

Onto this, Netanyahu layered global diplomatic outreach, aimed at developing new political alliances and business markets for Israel—ranging from India and China to Africa and South America. He also expanded Israel’s diplomatic ties to Russia and Eastern Europe. All this has provided the Jewish state with a more broad-based diplomatic [operation] than ever before, allowing it to maneuver on the global playing field for strategic advantage.

I doubt that this was what Netanyahu was thinking about at the time, but numerous public figures in the Arabian Gulf have told me that more than anything else it was Netanyahu’s defiant speech in Congress [opposing the nuclear deal with Iran] that drove their leaders forward toward open diplomatic relations with Israel. . . . They [also] recognized that Israel is the only country in the region engaged in concrete, daily combat against the Iranians, through covert intelligence operations and targeted strikes.

Prime Minister Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Lapid would do well to embrace Netanyahu’s strategic doctrines (and even to give him some credit), and in so doing lead Israel toward ever-more-robust security and diplomatic achievements.

Read more at David M. Weinberg

More about: Abraham Accords, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel diplomacy, Israeli economy, Israeli politics

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion