The US is taking a harder line against Israel following the election win of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc. American officials warned Israel that defense ties will be hurt if hard right politicians become Israel’s next defense and public security ministers, Ynet reports.
The US is specifically concerned about Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir being appointed to senior posts.
In parallel, the FBI is launching an investigation into the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The dual Palestinian-American citizen was shot during clashes between Israeli forces and terrorists earlier this year. However, there is no conclusive evidence to confirm who killed her.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted that the decision is a “mistake” and that Israel will not cooperate with the US probe. Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel can’t allow foreign investigators to question IDF soldiers.
The American actions and apparent meddling in domestic Israeli affairs have also sparked some media criticism.
Caroline Glick tweeted that Israel cannot allow the US to “veto” government appointments and must say no to Washington. Reporter Haviv Rettig Gur tweeted that “no one trusts the US anymore” as its foreign policy is based on inconsistent moralistic concerns.
Netanyahu is now facing major dilemmas after his stunning election victory. The incoming prime minister will have to navigate between US pressure and the demands of his right-wing coalition partners as he forms and leads the next government.