What are the implications of Lapid's proposal for a “safety net” for any exchange deal with Hamas?

Capture of Jerusalem- The announcement by Israeli opposition chief Yair Lapid calls for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to provide a “safety net” for any exchange deal that could lead to the return of people kidnapped by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Gaza. The strip carries many meanings and implications regarding the future of the emergency government and the functioning of the government, the fighting and the day after the war.

Analyzes have shown that the current government coalition, which relies on far-right parties, is not able to complete any prisoner exchange deal, with Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir calling it a “bad deal” for the prisoners. There has been talk of toppling the government. There has been an exchange and a ceasefire.

Estimates unanimously indicate that Netanyahu is hostage to the extortion of the extreme right represented by the “Jewish Greatness” party headed by Ben Gvir, the “Religious Zionism” coalition headed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and the settler movement in the Likud party. Have become. ,

Israel's outgoing PM Lapid chairs cabinet meeting in Jerusalem
Observers believe Lapid knows the hijackers' file is a vital bargaining chip on the Israeli street in the upcoming elections (Reuters)

rift and harmony

The “safety net” proposal reinforced the presumption that the current government coalition, which insists on continuing the war on Gaza, would not last long if a deal was reached.

Analysts' readings agree that Lapid's announcement came to return all kidnapped Israelis and is not a lifeline to save the Netanyahu government, which will disintegrate or witness changes and new alliances that will take place. The scenario will be preceded by preliminary elections for the Knesset.

Akiva Eldar, a political analyst, believes the opposition leader's proposal to provide a “safety net” for any exchange deal reflects the growing consensus in Israel for the return of the abducted, and is in line with the growing calls for Is. their liberation, to deny the opportunity to extreme right-wing rejectionist parties. for any deal and threatens to overthrow the government.

Eldar told Al Jazeera Net that Lapid strongly opposes Netanyahu's continuation in the post of Prime Minister and holds him responsible for the events of last October 7 and the failure to return people abducted as part of military operations. Are.

The political analyst believes that Lapid is well aware that the kidnappers' file is an important bargaining chip on the Israeli street in the upcoming elections, so he wants to be a partner in any deal and use it in his election campaign. .

He explained that all opposition parties, including the Lapid-led “There Is a Future” party, are convinced that any comprehensive swap deal, regardless of the concessions and the price the government pays, would be the beginning of a crackdown. The current alliance will deepen the rift in Israeli society, strengthen the state of internal polarization, and establish a new phase. In the Israeli political scene.

Eldar does not deny that the “safety net” offer was put forward at the behest of parties in the US administration, even though no indications have surfaced about it. He confirms that Lapid's proposal and his position on the exchange and war agreement are consistent with the administration of US President Joe Biden, who indicated that Netanyahu would have to make changes to his coalition government.

accept and reject

In turn, Amos Harel, military affairs analyst at the newspaper “Haaretz”, believes that Netanyahu is reaching the point where he must decide whether to proceed with the agreement or reject it, and therefore Lapid proposes a “safety net for any deal”.

He pointed out that any potential exchange deal would come with significant concessions by the Netanyahu government and would be seen by large sections of the Israeli public as a victory for Hamas, and that its rejection by Netanyahu would mean a continuation of the war against their coalition partners. . , Ben Gvir and Smotrich demanded.

It is now clear that the extreme right in the government, says Harel, “will create difficulties and obstacles to any deal, as Ben Gvir was quick to publicly declare against a deal that included concessions and the dissolution of the government.” was threatened, and Smotrich is not a compromise and his position on war is far from them.”

The same military analyst said the extreme right worries that a longer ceasefire could mean the end of the war and thus keep Hamas in power, at least in the southern Gaza Strip. Netanyahu is also aware that there would be a partial return of kidnapped people, in exchange for thousands of Palestinian prisoners, as interpreted by large sectors of the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli public saw this as an admission of failure.

Israeli affairs researcher Antoine Shalhat believes that opposition leader Yair Lapid is supportive and supportive of the war, but he differs from Netanyahu regarding the arrangement of goals. One of his priorities is the return of all those kidnapped by Hamas, even with Tel Aviv offering a number of concessions in exchange.

Shalhat told Al Jazeera Net that Lapid, who is in line with the US administration's stance on the exchange deal and the fighting and the manner of the war, is strongly opposed to Netanyahu remaining in power, and considers him critical of the failure of October 7 and achieving the goals. Is responsible for. Of war.

decline and disintegration

The same researcher reported that Lapid – like many Israelis – has become completely convinced that continuing the war and freeing the hostages are incompatible goals, and hence his proposal to provide a “safety net” for the exchange deal was a response to the situation. had come. The extreme right that rejects the agreement and threatens to overthrow the government.

Regarding the realism of this network, Shalhat says that its offer does not save the government from collapse and disintegration, and is limited only to supporting the exchange deal and voting on it in the Knesset so that it can be implemented in view of the threat. Can go. Ben Gvir and the extreme right to abolish the government if a deal is reached.

The researcher said the background to Ben Gvir's threats is also reflected in the behavior of Netanyahu, who has become more hostage to the extreme right as he opposes the withdrawal from Gaza and the liberation of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange agreements. Let's delay. and reiterates the goal of overthrowing the Hamas regime, which conditions this right to remain in government and to continue the war until its objectives are achieved.

Against the backdrop of the state of dependency in which Netanyahu is living, Shalhat says, “The positions of Israeli politicians, including Lapid, are in line with US positions, in opposition to the trend led by Netanyahu to put their personal interests above those of Israel. Is.” “High interest and US interest in the Middle East.”

The researcher believes that Netanyahu is challenging the US position at this stage, but he has not yet reached the stage of breaking the playing instruments with Washington, to practice if Netanyahu breaks these instruments. There are many pressure cards.

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