Not only did the two countries join the agreement to renew relations between Riyadh and Tehran, or help benefit the region; for Israel it was as important as internal business. Israeli political officials, partisans and the media were all talking about the consequences of such an agreement, ending the isolation that Tel Aviv had tried to create around Iran; an isolation that Netanyahu announced he would try to maintain after returning to the post of Prime Minister.
However, what happened a few days ago, through the intervention of China, means that the alliance that Israel and the United States tried to create against Tehran is weakening.
Tel Aviv and Washington are working to build a regional structure based on information, security and economic cooperation with the Gulf states, which led to the normalization agreements. However, they did not achieve the ultimate prize: Saudi Arabia agreeing to a relationship with Israel. As a result Riyadh refused to deny entry visas to an Israeli delegation invited to a United Nations conference.
The Saudi-Iranian deal also reminds Israel of China’s traditional support for the Palestinians, without Beijing being Israel’s enemy.
From the Israeli point of view, this agreement is an attempt by China to calm Iran’s anger stemming from its denial of its nuclear policy. This means that Beijing wants to find a balance between the Arabs and Iran. They say no one can dance at two weddings at the same time, but it seems the Chinese can – and have for quite some time – until the music stops at one, or both.
China’s main concern is the fight against America, which has turned into a cold war. Israel must understand that its image as a country in crisis will encourage China to increase its support for its enemies, because they are also America’s enemies, and Israel will probably pay a price that exceeds the confrontation between the Chinese and the Americans .
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But Iran came back from the brink when it gave drones to Russia to help it in its war in Ukraine. This happened after a summit between China and Iran in which many cooperation agreements were signed – some of which affect Israel’s technological security.
The recent agreement to end hostilities with Saudi Arabia has made Iran a continental geopolitical player, reaching beyond the borders of the Middle East and allowing it to benefit from the technologies allegedly promised by China to provide, such as access to its large spy satellites. This raises serious questions about Israel’s national security.
Instead of coming up with an appropriate answer, the Israeli parties are using the Arab-Iranian deal as a new weapon that will be used to exchange blows between the two rival camps in the Knesset. This brings to mind the opinion of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that “Israel has no foreign policy, Israel only has domestic politics.” This lack of foreign policy is also reflected in his failure to formulate an organized long-term policy, and his inability to make critical decisions regarding serious issues such as Iran’s nuclear program and the future of relations with the Palestinians. In some of these issues, Israel is approaching – or has already reached – the point of no return, which increases its challenges, and may end with the sudden destruction of the state.
Israel faces economic threats and understands how its enemies feel when Tel Aviv harms its own interests, once a source of strength and protection. He is starting to pay a heavy price for his internal turmoil and things are expected to get worse if this division continues.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.