Netanyahu’s own goal

Cesar Chelala
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

It may be a surprise but Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, is the owner of a boomerang. Although boomerangs are considered an Australian icon, his use has extended to most other countries. The two main kinds are returning and non-returning boomerangs. Netanyahu owns a returning boomerang. Because of some failures of construction, Netanyahu’s boomerang often miscalculates and after he throws it, it returns and hits him with a force stronger than the one with which it was thrown. As the reader may have guessed, his boomerang are his policies towards the Palestinians, which not only have caused them terrifying suffering, but have substantially increased the chances for a wider war in the region and even beyond.

The Israeli leader intends to completely destroy Hamas. However, an opinion poll conducted in Gaza and in the West Bank by the Ramallah-based non-profit Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) showed strong support for Hamas both in Gaza and in the West Bank after the October 7 attacks. That same poll shows that the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has grown even more unpopular since the start of the Gaza war. The results of the poll were published by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he would like to be remembered as the protector of the Israelis. However, the security of the Israelis has never been as threatened as it is now by Netanyahu’s failure to have reacted to intelligence warnings about an impending Hamas’ attack. Also, as never before, many Jewish voices for peace have joined the protests against Netanyahu’s policies. In spite of that, and unlike the heads of the IDF and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, Netanyahu has refused to admit responsibility for the tragic events of October 7.

Last January 18, Gadi Eisenkot, a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff, who is also an observer on Israel’s war cabinet, said in a television interview that Netanyahu is responsible for the political, security and intelligence failures that culminated in the death of more than 1,200 Israelis and injured approximately 3,000 last October. Eisenkot also avowed that the prime minister had subordinated Israel’s war plans to his own perverse political needs.

Netanyahu has consistently refused to accept the two-state solution to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. However, the brutal Israeli reprisals against the Palestinians have shown that the two-state proposed solution has been supported by an increasing number of governments around the world.

Netanyahu’s policies of continually building settlements in clear defiance of international law has made even this possible pathway to peace fraught with practical impediments. Perhaps the biggest hindrance for the two-state solution is what will be the law of the land in the West Bank and Gaza? As of now, it is estimated that more than 700,000 settlers now live in 150 settlements and 128 outposts in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem (Outposts, unlike settlements, are not authorized by the Israeli government.)

Should a two-state become a reality, to which law will the settlers respond to? Palestinian or Israeli? And if it is Israeli law, how can the Palestinian territory be considered an independent state? Netanyahu’s policies of unrelenting settlement construction and displacement of Palestinians from their own land has made this a dilemma difficult to overcome. Settlements are considered illegal under international law and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area under occupation. Who will evict the settlers from their present habitats and land?

Excerpted: ‘Netanyahu’s Boomerang’.