Tehran-Riyadh detente disrupts Netanyahu’s plans: report

March 12, 2023 - 20:55
Ex-Israel PM says Saudi-Iran deal is a fatal blow to Israel

TEHRAN- The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suffered a significant setback as a result of the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, The Associated Press said in a commentary on Saturday.

Netanyahu had aimed to incite concern about Tehran’s nuclear program and the Islamic Republic’s leverage in West Asia.

The Associated Press described the recent round of negotiations in China that set the stage for restoration of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia as a “breakthrough”.

The breakout of the report comes as divisions in the Israeli regime has caused a rupture in Tel Aviv, the news agency said. Massive unrest over the contentious judicial reforms proposed by Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition cabinet is largely alarming.

It went on to say that the accord, which permits Iran and Saudi Arabia two months to reopen their embassies and re-establish contacts after seven years apart, is one of the most “striking shifts” in West Asian diplomacy in recent years and has sparked “cautious optimism” in the region.

The report highlighted that such appeasement has led to “disappointment” and “finger-pointing” in Israeli political circles.

It also pointed out that although Netanyahu had bragged about the so-called “normalization deals” that the U.S. had mediated with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan in 2020 and promoted them as part of a larger effort to counter Iran’s influence in the region, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cooperate with Iran has “thrown cold water on those ambitions.”

Netanyahu had fantasized that a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia would allow the Tel Aviv regime to fundamentally alter the region and elevate Israel’s stature.

Similarly, the report said that Israel is “largely alone” in its unsuccessful attempts to diplomatically isolate Iran and its warnings of a unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities as a result of Iran and Saudi Arabia’s reconciliation.

“Political victory for Iran”

Also, former prime minister Naftali Bennett on Friday harshly criticized the restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, saying it represented the failure of Israeli efforts to create a regional alliance against Tehran.

“The renewal of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a serious and dangerous development for Israel and is a political victory for Iran. This a fatal blow to the effort to build a regional coalition against Iran,” Bennett tweeted.

“This is a resounding failure of the Netanyahu government and is the result of a combination of diplomatic neglect, general weakness and internal conflict in the country,” said Bennett, according to The Times of Israel.

“Countries in the world and region see Israel divided with a non-functional government, focused on serial self-destruction. And then those countries chose a side,” said Bennett.

“The Netanyahu government is a resounding economic, diplomatic and security failure, end every day it goes on endangers the state of Israel. We are in need of a broad national emergency government that will work to undo the many damages that have been done,” Bennett said.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid also slammed the agreement as “a complete failure” for Israel, calling it “a collapse of our regional defensive walls that we had been building against Iran.”

“This is what happens when you are focused on the judicial madness instead of doing the work against Iran and strengthening ties with U.S.,” Lapid said.

Their comments come after regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in Chinese-brokered talks seven years after relations were severed.

The deal comes even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken in recent days of his hopes of reaching a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

Even MKs in Netanyahu’s Likud party voiced veiled criticism.

“The world does not stop while we are focused on power struggles and head-butting, especially not the worst of our enemies,” said veteran Likud MK Yuli Edelstein.

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