Friday 5 March 2021 - 21:07

Saudi Arabia ’Fears Defeat of Netanyahu’ In Upcoming ‘Israeli’ Election

By Mustafa Abu Sneineh
Story Code : 919901
Saudi Arabia ’Fears Defeat of Netanyahu’ In Upcoming ‘Israeli’ Election
A Saudi source close to the royal family told the ‘Israeli’ channel that Riyadh is following the ‘Israeli’ election campaign closely and hopes that Netanyahu will not be removed from power in the 23 March vote.

“[The Saudi royal family] not only prefer Netanyahu, but they love him," the source was quoted as saying. "He has the required charisma, and he knows very well what he is doing."

On Iran, the source added: "We are very concerned about his replacement by the head of the opposition [Yair Lapid], who will change some things."

Saudi Arabia's ties with ‘Israel’ have strengthened in recent months, with the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all signing US-sponsored normalization deals with ‘Israel.’

In November, Netanyahu made a secret visit to Saudi Arabia and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Saudi Arabia is wary of Netanyahu’s rival, Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid [There Is A Future] party. It worries he would be more likely to engage with Iran and to acquiesce to US President Joe Biden's foreign policy shift towards China and Asia, reducing the number of US staff devoted to the Middle East.

Another Saudi source told i24 News that Saudi Arabia sees Netanyahu as the “spearhead against Iran”, the channel reported, adding that Saudi officials will not address this publicly or interfere in the ‘Israeli’ election.

Lapid’s office declined to comment on the statements.

Last week, the US published a report revealing that Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.

Saudi-US relations appear cooler now, under the Biden administration, than they were during the tenure of Donald Trump, who was the driving force behind the recent normalization deals.

In February, an ‘Israeli’ pro-democracy watchdog called for a criminal investigation into contacts made by a member of Likud - Netanyahu's party - with Palestinian Authority [PA] figures to “quietly” endorse the sitting prime minister in the upcoming March elections.

The Likud plan was to convince Palestinians inside ‘Israel,’ who make up 20 percent of the population, to vote for them instead of the Joint List, a Palestinian political alliance.

The PA in the occupied West Bank is also wary of Likud rival parties New Hope and Yamina. It sees them as more right-wing and extreme in their political views than Netanyahu.

The PA believes that a government ruled by Yamina and New Hope could accelerate the annexation of large areas of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, making any ‘peace’ talks and the ‘two-state’ solution even less likely.
Source : MME