US believes ‘weak’ Netanyahu is being ‘held hostage’ to right-wing partners

Former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas charged that “Netanyahu’s partners know he’s the weakest he’s ever been, so they’re holding him hostage.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

U.S. ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and a former Israeli consul in New York suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wields little influence over his right-wing coalition partners and that the Biden administration may shift its policy towards the premier in the near future.

The headline of a Washington Post article published Thursday reads “Netanyahu assured U.S. he’d curb the far right. “Has he already lost control?”

“In public, Washington has reiterated its commitment to its ‘shared values’ with Israel. But it is also quietly recalibrating its position, communicating to Netanyahu that he will be held responsible for undermining those values — and warning that his ambitions to curb Iran and normalize relations with Saudi Arabia could be affected,” the report reads.

It appears that should Netanyahu roll out policy changes considered too right-wing according to the Biden administration, the U.S. could move to limit cooperation on fighting the Iranian nuclear threat or even derailing the addition of Saudi Arabia to the Abraham Accords peace agreements.

Former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas charged that “Netanyahu’s partners know he’s the weakest he’s ever been, so they’re holding him hostage.”

Read  WATCH: Two-year state budget to provide ‘billions’ of shekels to fulfill coalition agreements

Speaking to the Post, Nides suggested that Netanyahu is unable to rein in his coalition partners, which could lead to a disruption of cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

“My approach is that you, Prime Minister Netanyahu, want to get big things done – and we want to get big things done,” Nides said. “But if your backyard is on fire, then we can’t get anything done.”

The diplomat also appeared to suggest that the U.S. was exacerbated by changing Israeli policy regarding the Temple Mount. Currently, Jews are prohibiting from praying at the holiest site in Judaism, though they are allowed to visit when accompanied by armed guards.

While the rules have not officially been changed, groups advocating for Jewish freedom of worship have reported record-high numbers of Jewish visitors to the Mount, which has infuriated Jordan.

“Every minute I’m talking about problems with the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, the [West Bank] outposts, on calls with the White House is a minute lost when we could be talking about other things,” Nides complained.

Meanwhile, in a move that angered Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition partners, the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration demolished a new settlement established in Samaria in memory of Rabbi Haim Drukman, the Religious Zionist movement’s recently deceased spiritual leader.

Read  Hungary moving embassy to Jerusalem within the month - report

The evacuation was carried out despite orders by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party), who holds a portfolio in the Defense Ministry, to hold off on any action until a hearing is held on the matter. Smotrich and his party boycotted the Sunday morning cabinet meeting in protest.