Labor leader Avi Gabbay speaks at a faction meeting.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wrong to put all his eggs in the Republican basket and turn off American Democrats, Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay said on Tuesday at the Institute for National Security Studies Conference in Tel Aviv.
He cited last week’s Pew Research Center study that found a significant decrease in support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among US Democrats.
“Netanyahu thinks the government in the US will always be Republican, and he is mistaken,” Gabbay said. “Eventually Trump will be replaced, and then Israel will be in trouble, because the Pew study found only 27% of Democrats support Israel. This is a diplomatic blunder of Netanyahu, who thinks he can give up on the bipartisan relationship.”
Gabbay said Netanyahu’s Likud came to power as a liberal, socioeconomic-minded party and will leave power as a nationalist party that has rotted Israel’s democratic system.
While Gabbay said Israel needed to separate from the Palestinians “for the good of our children and grandchildren,” former Likud ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Gideon Sa’ar, who spoke after him, eulogized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“A dysfunctional Palestinian mini-state in Judea and Samaria will not increase peace or security in the region,” Sa’ar said. “Negotiations with the Palestinians are at a dead end. The Abbas era is over. His historical role ended with no accomplishments for his people.”
Sa’ar said Israel must prepare for the US to leave the Iranian nuclear deal, and that Israel needs an independent ability to target the Iranian nuclear program and cannot rely on the US.
By contrast, Zionist Union MK Omer Bar Lev told the conference that it is in Israel’s interest that the Iran deal remain intact.
“Canceling the agreement would cause great harm to our security interests and enable the Iranians to break through a wide open door to a nuclear capability,” he said.