President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Twitter Thursday, sending a sudden thrill through the Israeli electorate just two weeks ahead of the election on April 9. Israel’s embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, immediately welcomed the announcement – and so, helplessly, did Netanyahu’s election opponents.
Whatever the symbolic power of Trump’s recognition for Israelis – and it is symbolic, as the strategic 500 square-mile plateau has been under Israeli control since 1967, when Israeli troops seized it from Syria – his Golan move will have a fierce afterburn. It damages Israeli security and undermines American interests in the Middle East and beyond, while stirring a hornet’s nest that didn’t need stirring.
Netanyahu, facing voters for the fourth consecutive time in just two weeks, is in the fight of his political life. His re-election quest has run into two major roadblocks. The first is a looming indictment for multiple corruption charges -- Israel’s attorney general has already announced his intent to indict the prime minister. The second is the Blue-White Coalition, an unexpectedly strong challenge from a new electoral alliance headed by three former army chiefs of staff and a former finance minister. Only a decisive electoral victory and the chance to pass a law granting him immunity while in office might rescue Netanyahu from an ignominious fate.
Read the full article in POLITICO Magazine.
More from CNAS
The Senate Is Dropping the Ball on Middle East Air Defense
Establishing a regional security framework in the Middle East would be a breathtaking sign of progress, and the Senate cannot afford to trip out of the starting blocks....
By John O'Malley
Want more capable military partners? Empower and promote Foreign Area Officers.
When defense ministries in need of reform are left to their own devices, institutional weakness and corruption ultimately produces hollow armies....
By Jonathan Lord
Biden Can Keep the Two-State Solution Alive
Small details matter a great deal—and they have the potential to become big international headaches....
By Ilan Goldenberg
Can Gaza be rehabilitated without aiding Hamas?
The bombs may have stopped falling on Gaza and the rocket fire from there has ceased for now, but Gazans face a huge task of rebuilding. Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middl...
By Ilan Goldenberg