More than 100 former and retired Israeli diplomats have sent a letter to the new Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, warning him that his government’s extremist policies will harm Israel’s foreign relations.
The letter came as Netanyahu’s government was officially sworn in yesterday.
The signatories, including the former ambassadors to France, India and Turkiye, expressed “profound concern at the serious damage to Israel’s foreign relations, its international standing and its core interests abroad emanating from what will apparently be the policy of the incoming government.”
“This concern is compounded by public statements made by potential senior office-holders in the government and the Knesset, by reports of expected changes in Israeli policy in Judea-Samaria/the West Bank, by some possible extreme and discriminatory laws which are oppressive to minorities,” they said.
Netanyahu returns as prime minister, backed by many far-right figures, especially the heads of Otzma Yehudit, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich.
Ben-Gvir is the minister of national security in Netanyahu’s government whose extended powers include supervising the police in Israel as well as some police activities in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, Smotrich was appointed minister of finance as well as having the authority to appoint the head of an Israeli military unit that deals with crossings and provides work permits to Palestinians.
During his election campaign, Smotrich proposed a series of drastic legal reforms, which critics saw as a clear way to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
The former diplomats warned that the backlash could harm Israel’s alliance with the United States and undo the progress of the Abraham Accords normalisation agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Morocco.
Meanwhile, a Jerusalem police spokesman said about 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Knesset yesterday to protest against Netanyahu’s government.