Sun 23-June-2024

Netanyahu is like someone seeking refuge from the ashes of the fire

Tuesday 23-April-2024

It is no longer a secret to anyone that the prime minister of the occupation government, Benjamin Netanyahu, is trying to prolong the ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip, even seeking to expand it into a comprehensive regional war if possible. This position is a summary of two factors controlling the behavior of the extremist Israeli government. The first concerns Netanyahu, personally, and perhaps his foreign minister, as well as the army commanders who were insulted on 7 October.

Netanyahu realizes that the last day of the aggression on Gaza will be the first day of his political end, as he, along with the army commanders and the occupation’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, will face harsh punishment and accountability for two matters. First, the crushing failure of 7 October, and, second, the failure of the war they launched against the Gaza Strip to achieve its goals, as they were unable to uproot the resistance, recover the hostages captured by force, nor impose military control over the Gaza Strip as they had promised. Due to the steadfastness and bravery of the people of Gaza, they failed to achieve the main goal of their attack – the ethnic cleansing and displacement of the population of the Gaza Strip. In addition to this, Netanyahu also faces four corruption cases, each of which could land him in prison. The second factor is driven by the racist, fascist right led by Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seek a comprehensive genocide, not only against the residents of the Gaza Strip but of the Palestinian people in general.

Therefore, Netanyahu continues to attempt to disrupt any prisoner exchange deal with the Palestinian side that is accompanied by a comprehensive ceasefire. As admitted by the members of his negotiating delegation, he deliberately disrupted the negotiations by reducing the delegation’s powers, changing his instructions to them and rejecting the proposals made.

Netanyahu’s behavior has caused much embarrassment to the Western governments that support him with funding, weapons and political support, especially for US President Joe Biden, whose administration’s reputation has dramatically fallen. Biden is on the verge of losing the upcoming presidential elections due to his support and participation in the violent war on the Gaza Strip. Many governments have become afraid of being held accountable for the crime of genocide committed by Israel.

After the US passed the ceasefire resolution in the Security Council, even though it tried to downplay its impact by being misleading regarding how binding it is, Netanyahu resorted to committing three dangerous provocations, hoping they would lead to a complete explosion. The first was the assassination of the World Central Kitchen aid team, followed by the bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, and then the brutal assassinations of three of the heads of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh’s sons, as well as four of their children. At the same time, he continued the barbaric bombing of the Gaza Strip and the attacks by the occupation army and settlers in the West Bank.

Netanyahu is only thinking about saving himself and his political position and does not care about the lives of the Israeli captives or whether they all die by Israel’s bombings. However, he seems to be seeking refuge from the ashes of the fire because the longer the aggression lasts, the greater the influence of the five factors he cannot escape.

First are the Israeli human losses, which amount to more than Israel lost in its aggression in 1967, in which it defeated three Arab armies. Second is the heroic steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and their legendary willingness to make sacrifices and remain perseverant, as demonstrated by Haniyeh’s reaction when he learned of the martyrdom of his sons and grandchildren. Third is the huge losses suffered by the Israeli economy, which led to the downgrading of Israel and its banks’ credit rating, including the collapse of the tourism and agricultural sectors, the deterioration of the information technology sector, which makes up 50 per cent of Israeli exports, and a decrease in Israeli military exports by up to 25 per cent. This is in addition to many investments leaving Israel and major international investment funds, such as the Norwegian and Irish investment funds, to withdraw their investments from many Israeli banks and companies. Fourth, it is the sharp deterioration of Israel’s reputation and its increased international isolation to the point that has terrified Biden and many Western leaders, leaving them fearing for the future of their strategic ally. Fifth is the increase in protests and demonstrations organized by the families of Israeli hostages, which have merged with demonstrations demanding the dismissal of Netanyahu, the overthrow of his government and the holding of new elections. All of this is accompanied by the expansion of popular protests and movements in many Western countries to the point that some of their governments were forced to change their positions and stop exporting weapons to Israel, as was the case with Canada.

The Palestinian people paid a heavy price for this aggression and an unmatched tax for remaining steadfast in the face of it, with no less than 40,000 martyrs, including 16,000 children, more than 10,000 women and over 76,000 wounded. A large number of them were martyred due to Israel destroying hospitals and medical facilities. However, the general conclusion is that Netanyahu’s fascist government is headed towards its inevitable fate of failure, no matter how hard it tries to prolong its attack and how far it goes with its crimes. This will not be limited to Netanyahu and his government but will extend to the fate of Israel itself due to the fascist turn taken by most components of Israeli society and to the future of the international community, international law and human rights resolutions.

Gaza is a small spot in a vast and great world, but its action shook the entire world from north to south and from east to west. The question that arises is: what will people who are angry at the behavior of their governments, especially those who deny the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people, do? What will the international system do after the dangerous level of double standards and the extent of denial of the moral principles, values and human rights that that system has long promoted are exposed?

The issue of Palestine is no longer an issue that concerns the Palestinian people alone, which Nelson Mandela described as the first issue of human conscience in our time. Now, after the violent war crimes in Gaza, it has become the greatest test for all of humanity.

-Mustafa Barghouti is a Palestinian physician, activist, and politician who serves as General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, also known as al Mubadara. He has been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006 and is also a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Central Council. His article appeared in MEMO.

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