S Ovwata Onojieruo

Here’s how Netanyahu could secure Arab votes

Skeptics of the Bibi-Gantz agreement have finally been proven right, however not with much drama between the two leaders as some predicted. The separation between these Men, seemed more on a party than individual basis. Although we may expect certain level of personal clashes in the coming days, the looming election seem just a stone throw away with each candidate trying to ramp up support from loyal bases, while also trying to destabilise the support-base of opponents.

While Netanyahu seem a master at the act, the skepticism on his new experimentation for warmer ties with the Arabs may less likely hurt his loyal base unlike the thoughts of some. However here’s exactly what Netanyahu can do to further this ongoing design while keeping on even higher scales the support from his base;

Firstly, Stick with the Trumpian principle. In several unprecedented moves, Trump’s interference in the middle East while upsetting traditional diplomatic process, created a definitely new system wherein “Cooperation is based on shared similarities, and not conflicting differences.” Of course obvious points of similarities between Jews and Arabs go way-back in time. Importantly, current economic hazards caused by Covid-19 remain a most viable talking point for renewed cooperation. Realistically, the more similarities are highlighted the more differences become obscure and vice versa.

But hostile dissimilarities cannot just be ignored, they certainly must come to play, thus Netanyahu’s only route of escape remain to;

Avoid key issues. This may sound absurd, certain issues on ground seems so realistically pressing as though the entire survival of Jewish-Arab cooperation depended on their handling, yet such assertions in itself are a mirage. Key issues in politics are transitory, most of the times depending on ones ability to craft out reality from seeming absurdity, and an overt eloquent manner of subtle presentation, thus bringing into ‘limelight’ what many would feel were ‘off-light.’ This exactly may prove Netanyahu’s strongest point. He must craft out a narrative, which while seeming to halt highlighting what could be conflictual talking points, would replace these long traditional points with new ones, creating an idyllic happiness, which in itself must be real.

However this may not always be acceptable, as flared up minds would definitely want answers and substantial declarations, hence he must;

Make general statements, and easily amendable promises. The goal is to get the Arabs on his train, their first fear would remain whether or not he can be trusted. This is an obvious reality wherever there have been situations of hostilities in time past. Thus Netanyahu must make emphatic statements, general in its nature which can be interpreted either way. This isn’t a time for vague statements. Selected actions could help amplify the weight of his statements; we are humans and anything similar to reality could obviously become real, yet still, the astute politician must make easily amendable promises, not because he doesn’t intend to fulfill them, but because the political hemisphere is unpredictable, and the impossibility of arriving at similar consensus even amongst one’s own ranks may prove a problem. Thus promises made, must be such as can easily be amendable once it comes to time for compromise. Most times rigid looking promises are no-promises as they end up been unfulfillable hurting one’s political future.

Yet still in making promises with the Arabs, the past can never be ignored. It is a psychological effect that humans confront any with whom they’ve had negative running’s in time-past, thus to avoid this effect, Netanyahu must;

Flee hostile talking points. They are many, from the settlement disputes to the Nation-state law, Israel-Palestinian conflict et al. These are obvious talking points which may seem inescapable, yet he must remember the first principle, Viz; “Focus must be on shared similarities and never conflicting differences.” With this in mind, even seeming negativities could become openings for greater cooperation.

However Netanyahu must remember; despite his appeals to the Arabs, his base; the conservative Jewish voters are watching him closely, hence he has to;

Avoid the Apology clause. This is politics, and politics is an obvious reality which unlike Science changes with the times. The past must remain in the past, here exactly is the present. Shifting to incidents of the past not only could prevent future cooperation, but switch off support from his base, the moment he places his appeal on making an apology for Jewishness. Thus while trying to appeal unto Arab voters, he must look out more unto appeasing his Jewish base, lest he gives his opponents enough talking points, to hurt his bid.

However, Netanyahu must conclusively have an ever ready escape route, an explanation to fall back on in the event of a possible failure. None can foretell, the political field is sometimes too unpredictable to be predicted.

About the Author
S Ovwata Onojieruo is a Theologian, Political Scientist and Philosopher, whose Research interest spans across the areas of Legal theory, Political Philosophy, Social Epistemology, International Politics and International Relations theory. He currently functions as a Post-graduate Researcher, and Tutorial assistant with the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and can be reached on twitter @OvwataS
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