In the latest edition of "De cara al mundo", on Onda Madrid, we had the participation of Marta González, journalist and international analyst, who analysed the current situation in the Middle East, following Netanyahu's victory in the Israeli parliamentary elections.
Despite his court dates, will Netanyahu be able to form a government?
He has the potential to form a government in all likelihood and to form a stable government, which is what Israel has been demanding for years. But there is one thing to bear in mind, and that is that in Israel the party that wins the elections does not necessarily govern. What is possible is that on this occasion the formation of a government is more feasible because the support it has is more solid, but it is not necessarily the party that wins the elections or the leader who has the most seats that ends up governing.
What does Netanyahu's return to power mean? Is Mr Netanyahu really going to go down in Israel's history as a key Prime Minister? We could think of Ben-Gurion, of Golda Meier, of Beguin...
I believe that time will eventually put everyone in their place. The left in general in Israel has for some time been launching accusatory campaigns against Bibi Netanyahu, but because of his own personality. Bibi is not a quirky character despite all the image he projects abroad; he is a very rational person, with a very strategic vision of what the state, the government and also Israel's presence in the region are all about.
This clashes very much with the conception of the left in the last ten or fifteen years and of the Arab parties, which do not quite understand that Palestinian nationalism is intrinsically linked to the concept that Arabs have of Zionism and of Israel's independence as a free, sovereign and independent state in the region. Hence all that back-and-forth when it came to negotiating with Arab parties, to bringing them into the previous coalition, which is what I think has taken its toll on the previous coalition.
And to the question of whether he will go down in history, in time I think he will. I don't know if he will be on the same level as Ben-Gurion and the people you mention, but he has taken very significant steps in his term of office, which in time will become a reality. For example, the Wye Plantation Agreement in 1997, which were fundamental in establishing the foundations for subsequent agreements. The Abraham Accords he has finished weaving, whether it concerns the nuclear deal with Iran or the position of Sunni countries towards Israel, separating from the Palestinian cause, which is also an achievement and will eventually bear fruit.
Speaking of the Palestinian cause, at the Arab League summit in Algiers we saw long-standing Palestinian demands emerge. Perhaps a reaction of the more radical countries to the absence of the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In this case, these old grievances have found their way in, which complicates dialogue or possible negotiation with Israel.
Palestinian nationalism continues to fail to understand that the Palestinian cause today is not only residual, but that practically no one cares about it, least of all within Israel. In other words, it is a cause that was stillborn from the beginning, and that is being held up from a legal and juridical point of view with a pair of pliers.
What you are saying is very forceful.
It is very blunt, but that is how it is. Moreover, Palestinian nationalism has missed many opportunities. I am not saying that there has not been a mismatch of times and that Israeli leaders and Palestinian leaders have not agreed at the same time to establish agreements, but regardless of who governs in Israel, Palestinian nationalism does not understand the issue of Israel's legal independence in the area, and that is a serious problem because it will not accept any Israeli border in the area. Therefore, the Palestinian cause, as it is understood of two independent nation states in the same territory, is born dead, stays dead and there is no more chance of resurrecting it.
We would need many hours to discuss this. At this point I wanted to talk more about the role of the next Netanyahu government vis-à-vis Iran at a time when the Islamic Republic is trying to expand in the Maghreb, where it is intensifying its ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the issue of the Houthis in Yemen, who are using their weapons. What will be the position of Netanyahu and the Israeli government?
To begin with, we have to wait for the prudent time that Israeli legislation allows for a government to be determined, and depending on who the final supporters are, they will opt for a tougher or more pragmatic position. In any case, Bibi's position has been the same since the beginning of Israel, as has Lapid's, or Benny Gantz's, or that of any Prime Minister. There are no parties here, it is in Israel's interest. In this sense, except for parties that are not in government today, or even in parliament because they have not entered because they have not passed the 3% threshold, such as Meretz, National Home, which are more radical, or even Balad, which is the Arab party considered the most Islamist, the position of Israel as a state and of Bibi, in particular, is very strong.
Israel will not under any circumstances allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons for two reasons. The first is because it threatens its national security, and the second is because it would provoke an arms war in the Middle East that nobody wants, because the next country to want nuclear weapons will be Saudi Arabia, which has already expressed that interest, and nobody in the region is interested in that.
Russia agrees with Saudi Arabia on the oil issue, which the United States is not happy that its former ally is backing Putin, but Iranian drones are playing an important role in Ukraine, so how is all this happening - is there a gibberish where ideologically or because of a set of principles and values things don't add up?
Saudi Arabia is undergoing a very interesting process of transformation, both internally and geostrategically. The privileged relationship it has maintained with the United States from the beginning of its creation has been based on two principles: it got oil at a favourable price and the United States guaranteed its security.
At a certain point - and we can go back to the Obama era - when it decided to withdraw its troops, leave and turn strategically towards the Pacific, Saudi Arabia realised that it needed to diversify its economy, but also to be strategically independent from the United States. And in this sense it is looking for other strategies that do not necessarily favour the United States, because it is not interested in aligning its interests with those of the American power at that moment. It is independent and has ties with China, Israel and Russia.
At the moment it is in a complicated situation because it is engaged in a proxy war with Iran in Yemen through the Houthis. Iran has directly threatened it. In fact, drones have entered its airspace and there have been direct hits. So you have a problem there but, on the other hand, you are saying to the US "you are not the one who dictates to me my domestic or foreign policy".
A few weeks ago, you said no to this question, but now, with the protests, do you think the Ayatollahs' regime can fall?
In spite of everything, I see it as difficult. There are many external interests in it changing, but there is an internal element that is not valued and that is the rise of Sunni Islamic fundamentalism, which would be an element that is not being sufficiently valued, but which would open the door to the decomposition of a country of 80 million inhabitants, which nobody wants. Moreover, with Netanyahu at the helm of the Israeli government, Iran will be looking for an external enemy to rally the population beyond the protests. So I think the regime is still very united in spite of everything.