Rosie Iqbal, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett discussed on BBC Newshour


This is Rosie Iqbal with news our life from the BBC in London. Let's stay with our top story now. The tensions in Jerusalem and the first big test for the new coalition government of Naftali Bennett in place We're joined now by the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, who has, of course, also been Mayor of Jerusalem. Welcome to the program. Yeah, I want to start just by asking you about this march and whether you think this is going to cause nothing but trouble for the new coalition. I hope it will not cause any trouble actually had been Bennett at this particular point period of delayed it and postponed it. I think it's a mistake. It's unnecessary. There is not any particular event. That should be recognized today, So I think it uh, it should have been cancelled then. Uh, I'm sorry that The new camera did not decide so. But on the other hand, I understand that all the necessary uh, precautions were taken another to make sure that it will not Antagonizing not provoke the Palestinians in east Jerusalem, so that there should be no reason for any eruption of hostilities. One imagines one imagines that the decision to allow the march to continue is a result of this unprecedented coalition that there are so many bases that need to be I have spoken to. I mean, given given that this is a potential opportunity with this hugely divergent group of people in power, I wonder if you see it as such an opportunity to re engage in a process that attempts to to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. Well, certainly the fact that the coalition is so strange. An unusual Is a source of potential difficulties and disagreements and, uh amongst the different factions that are part of the coalition and it has to be handled in a great care. Now you should remember it was supposed to take place last week and the former Cabinet by Prime Minister Netanyahu responded for today. So my my guess is that The new prime minister didn't want to, uh, cancel it altogether. Yeah, because it was delightful today. On the one hand, he didn't want to be interpreted as if he's already surrendering. He's his positions because of the creation of the new cabinet. However, I think that he should have done it. I think you should have done it. Uh, any certainly reflects the fact that this is a very strange coalition with different factions that All want to have the voice heard, But the voice is not necessarily congruent. We stay voices of others in cabinet so There might be some difficulties and I hope that in a short while they will find the necessary uh, patron in order to resolve some of these things, do you think, though, that there is at the heart of this coalition of fragility and these widely divergent views that are being held in that coalition At alongside the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu has moved Israel so much further to the right that it makes any possibility of reopening a political negotiation, which might result in a settlement with the Palestinians virtually impossible. No, definitely. Netanyahu. Oh, uh, push the, uh, Israeli politics very much into the extreme right, which is a tragic mistake. That no one can ignore. However. You need to for a tangle. Now I am on the on the Israeli side so I can say that we are not yet ready. I mean, the government is not yet ready. I'm ready any time. But the government is not yet training and I think they should Decide that. The fear of losing the support of the political base Popular beliefs the base of Prime Minister Bennett and he's some of his part this Is not more important than the chance of making a breakthrough. That could change the life of Israel in the entire Middle East. But but But, Mr Bennett, Mr Mr. Mr Bennett is seen to be even more further to the right. It's not just his partners. He is seen to be even further to the right of Mr Netanyahu. Do you think he has the capacity to be a pragmatist? Yeah, I understand your question. But let me just finish was one comment on the Palestinian side. I haven't seen yet. The Palestinians To be ready to make the necessary adjustments in order to move forward, so it needs to for tango, and that's why I feel it is important to emphasize these I'll go back to Bennett. Indeed, Bennett is a right wing girl. He has some right wing party partners in the coalition, Mr Sour and his fiction Just as much right wing has been it. They if they want to survive. Uh, in politics. They may decide to prefer their political interests over the interests of the state of Israel. However, I think that they are Very serious and very responsible presence, and therefore I think that in principle they can make the necessary adjustments. And and shift away from what they thought. When they were outside of the government to where they should be when they are in charge of the government, and I would remind them and you if you don't mind that when I have begging before he became by ministers say that on the day that he will become by me to say he will annex all of the West Bank. As he called Judea and Samaria to be part of the state of Israel. He never did it. He never did it. Why? Because what he saw when he became prime minister, the always from responsibility. That lied on his shoulders, then convinced him to make the necessary adjustments in his basic positions. I hope that it will happen also to Bennett in sour In their partners. It's not impossible, but indeed it requires a certain degree of courage and determination and firmness, which I hope they will manifest. There are serious people. They are worthy people. So even though I personally disagree with them, I have a lot of respect for their for their integrity and for their dedication. What is good for the state of Israel? Okay, so just before we end, I've got a couple of questions really about public trust in politicians and politics. Generally, you were you were convicted and jailed on corruption charges Benjamin Netanyahu had when he was prime minister. A variety of extralegal exits from the from the trials that he was facing to avoid prison If the verdict went against him. All those exits are gone. What do you think will happen if he can't avoid jail given The legacy that he is already left Israel. Just I I just need to make one short comment and say that everything that I was charged with had nothing to do with the Thursday was prime minister. These were old stories. History of 10 years earlier 15 years earlier, all kinds of stories that were built up for reason. But this is not the issue now. Question is whether Benjamin Netanyahu can escape What is inevitable, which is his day in court. You will have to stand in court. He will have to attend the sessions in court. He will have to respond to the charges. I hope for even they hope for the state of his early it will become acquitted. I'm not certain I don't know the details. Okay? I'm afraid that the fact that he is fighting the courts rather than standing in court and trying to explain himself. Is a certain evidence that he may not be entirely confident in his ability to respond to the charges. But this is something that has to be tested. We will have to leave it there. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert joining us live From Israel. Thank.

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