’Powerful Bomb’ Planted by ‘Israel’ behind Natanz Station Explosion – Report

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’Powerful Bomb’ Planted by ‘Israel’ behind Natanz Station Explosion - Report

By Staff, Agencies

‘Israel’ is responsible for the explosion that took place at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site on July 2nd, by means of a “powerful bomb”, The New York Times [NYT] reported, citing an unnamed source described as a Middle East intelligence official.

According to the NYT source, the incident is not connected with other explosions that took place in Iran earlier, in particular a blast near Tehran’s Parchin military complex, which some reports have suggested is a missile production facility.

Relatively, former US national security adviser John Bolton questioned whether the recent explosions could have been connected and represented “a precursor of a larger attack”.

The NYT also cited a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC], who confirmed the explosive at the Natanz site, adding that investigators “have considered the possibility” that “a cruise missile or a drone” was used to attack Natanz, but saw a bomb scenario as more likely.

“The episode will probably accelerate plans to move more of Iran’s most sensitive facilities underground”, the IRGC member reportedly said.

The damage caused by the incident was described by Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, as “significant”, noting that it could slow the development of cutting-edge uranium enriching centrifuges.

The cause of the incident has not yet been officially confirmed, but some reports suggest that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] has determined the reason behind the episode, and the facts will be announced “at a proper time”.

Iran also announced plans to replace the damaged Natanz site with a larger building with more advanced equipment.

Responding to unconfirmed media reports that suggest Tel Aviv’s involvement, Zionist war minister Benny Gantz stated that “not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us”, however he repeated that “nuclear Iran is a threat to the world and the region”.

Iran has consistently stated that it does not aim to develop a nuclear weapon, outlining that the goals of the country’s nuclear program are exclusively peaceful.

Netanyahu and Covid19

 

BY GILAD ATZMON

netantahu  and Crona.jpg

FNA*: Netanyahu was very quick to administrate a lockdown at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel. Was Covid-19 his only reason for the lockdown?

 Gilad: You are tapping here into a crucial aspect of the Covid 19 affair which none of the Western media has been brave enough to look into. As early as March 12, the Israeli PM announced nationwide school closures and urged the formation of an emergency unity government to “save the lives of tens of thousands” of Israelis from the coronavirus, Netanyahu presented a profoundly stark assessment in which there would be “tens of millions of deaths” worldwide unless the pandemic was stopped.  Political analysts who follow Netanyahu closely immediately understood that Netanyahu desperately needed the pandemic and the hysteria around it. And it is clear that the Israeli PM managed to utilize the corona crisis to serve his cause. He postponed his trial. He formed a large unity government and practically destroyed both his rival party (Blue & White) and its leader Benny Gantz.  So it was no surprise that once Netanyahu was finally able to form his unity government, Israel was relieved of its lockdown: Israelis were free to enjoy the sun again. Far more peculiar is the fact that the rest of us needed Netanyahu to form his government so that our leaders would also allow us to enjoy the blue sky.

FNA: The political deadlock came to an end with the formation of an emergency cabinet to address the coronavirus outbreak. Why did Netanyahu unite with his forever rival Benny Gantz after they competed with him for power for over a year? Why did he make such an abrupt political u-turn?

Gilad: We are often misled into believing that the Jewish state is a pluralist political entity divided between Left and Right political blocks. The truth can’t be further. The Jewish State is a hard-core nationalist entity. It is institutionally discriminatory. It differentiates racially between Jews and the indigenous people of the land.

Though it seemed for a while that the Israeli Knesset was divided between Netanyahu’s block and the so called ‘centre Left block,’ the vast majority of the Knesset Members within the so called Centre Left block are actually to the right of Netanyahu.  This applies to Avigdor Lieverman and his party. Many of the Blue & White’s politicians, some of them war criminals, ended up in Netanyahu’s government. Even the Labour party is ardently right wing in its approach to the Israeli Arab conflict. In Israel there is only one left party that upholds universal and ethical philosophy. It is called the United Arab List.    

FNA: When all of the courts, including the court in which his case was pending, were closed as a measure to counter the coronavirus outbreak, Netanyahu formed a unity cabinet,  became  Prime Minister and was granted immunity against the court’s decision in his case. Do you believe that at some point in the future justice will be served, and he will be held accountable for the allegations of bribery and favouritism? 

Gilad: I am not so sure how valid or serious the bribery and favouritism allegations are against Netanyahu. I can tell you that Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are by far more grave than Netanyahu’s cigar consumption. I would like to add here that I believe that it was Netanyahu’s early and radical reaction to the coronavirus that defined the tone and policies of many Western governments. Since we still do not know the origin of coronavirus, what it is all about, I tend to believe in the possibility that the current health crisis is the result of a military affair. If there is any basis for such an assumption, Israel amongst just a few other countries is a major suspect. I do believe that the constant havoc that we see in the world at the moment is there to divert attention from crucial questions to do with the crisis and its possible origin. 

True scrutiny of the criminal possible aspects involved with the pandemic is overdue, as the notorious virus clearly hasn’t killed as many millions as Netanyahu predicted in early March. 

  • An interview conducted by Iran’s FNA

“Greater Israel” in the Making: Netanyahu Regime’s Illegal Annexation Scheme Nears Implementation

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, June 24, 2020

Trump’s unlawful Deal of the Century scheme green-lighted Israeli annexation of illegally established settlements on stolen Palestinian land and the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu earlier vowed to press ahead with annexation. 

Reportedly on or around July 1, he’ll initially announce the annexation of what the Times of Israel called “three West Bank (settlement) blocs,” not the Jordan Valley for now, adding:

“Well-placed sources told The Times of Israel last week that the joint mapping committee tasked with delineating the contours of the annexation move still had weeks if not months of work, and the IDF has not been told precisely what Netanyahu has in mind.”

For starters, Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion, three large settlements, will be annexed in the coming days, ruling coalition partner Benny Gantz reportedly going along with what’s clearly a flagrant breach of international law.

According to the broadsheet, there’s “relative consensus, domestically and in Washington,” to making the move.

Or is there? The Times of Israel added the following:

“The US initially said it would recognize annexation immediately, but subsequently appears to have at the very least tempered its enthusiasm for the controversial move before the joint mapping committee can complete its work.”

“The (Trump regime) is highly unlikely to approve an Israeli move to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank by the July 1 date envisioned by Netanyahu,” according to an unnamed “well-placed source.”

Annexation of historic Palestinian land in whole or in part will formally end the two-state illusion — what long ago was possible, clearly not now.

Trump regime hardliners are on board with the most extremist of Netanyahu regime policies — time and again blaming victims of US/NATO/Israeli high crimes for what’s committed against them.

At most, Trump and Pompeo et al may only press Netanyahu to slow, not abandon, illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

It’s highly unlikely that Biden will soften US policy toward long-suffering Palestinians if he succeeds Trump in January.

Throughout his time as US senator and vice president, he one-sidedly supported Israel, including three preemptive wars on Gaza based on Big Lies.

On June 16 at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and four Palestinian human rights groups discussed the illegality of Israel’s annexation scheme.

They warned that it’ll “normalize Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation,” adding:

“The Israeli plan would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm, and Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.”

On the same day, 47 UN special rapporteurs denounced the annexation scheme as “a vision of 21st century apartheid.”

A presentation by Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies’ international advocacy officer Nada Awad to the UNHRC on behalf of Adalah and the four Palestinian human rights groups said the following:

“Last month, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel swore in a new government seemingly committed to formally annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) in the West Bank in July, in a blatant violation of international law.”

“This annexation, part of the so-called Trump-Netanyahu ‘Deal of the Century’ and the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition agreement, normalizes Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation.”

“The principles of this plan are enshrined in Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Basic Law enacted in July 2018.”

“This law established a constitutional order based on systematic ethnic supremacy, domination, and segregation in the so-called ‘Land of Israel’ and the denial of the realization of national self-determination for the Palestinian people.”

“Article 7 of this law provides that Jewish settlement is a national value to be encouraged and strengthened, giving the state authorities further constitutional legal tools to justify the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories.”

“This law intends to justify as constitutional segregation in land and housing that targets all Palestinians in historic Palestine, including Palestinians citizens of Israel, who have suffered decades of systematic oppression.”

“Annexation would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm.”

“In this context, Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.”

“We call on the UN and the international community to call for the dismantling of all settlements, to vehemently oppose any annexation, and to guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return to their homes and property.”

Separately, Adalah called Netanyahu’s annexation scheme a flagrant breach of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and other international law, including binding Security Council resolutions.

Israeli occupation, settlements, land confiscations, resource theft, and related abusive practices are “profound” high crimes against peace and the fundamental rights of all Palestinians.

If annexation proceeds as planned, the West Bank will resemble Gaza, a second open-air prison for a bludgeoned into submission people.

It’ll resemble Dante’s hell, its gate bearing the inscription: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

A Final Comment

On Monday, thousands of Palestinians rallied in Jericho against Netanyahu’s annexation scheme.

Dozens of foreign diplomats joined them, including Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for Middle East peace — a position accomplishing nothing because of the US/Israeli regional imperial project.

As long as Washington supports Israeli aims, views of other nations never made a difference because a price to pay by the world community on its ruling authorities for the worst of their high crimes was never imposed.

The so-called peace process was and remains a colossal hoax, a notion the US, NATO and Israel reject.

Yet the illusion of what never was and isn’t now persists, establishment media, Western officials, and UN secretary general fostering it.

Palestinians were abandoned over a century ago by the infamous Balfour Declaration, the beginning of the end of historic Palestine.

Generations of political, military and cultural repression of its people followed, including dispossession from their land, other property, their fundamental rights, and in countless thousands of cases their lives.

Establishment of a nation for Jews on stolen Palestinian land was and remains a scheme to advance Western interests in the oil-rich region.

It led to over 100 years of endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation,

Historic Palestine and rights of its people were and continue to be abandoned in deference to Western/Israel regional control.

Palestinians are largely on their own, resistance their only option, staying the course no matter the long odds against them.

The world community never offered more than lip service help — the plight of ordinary people everywhere, exploited to benefit privileged interests.

It’s much the same in the West as in the Middle East and Occupied Palestine.

Ordinary people are largely on their own to press for positive change they’ll never get any other way.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Another Day in the EmpireThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Netanyahu Lashes Out against Law Enforcement Before Entering Court

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May 24, 2020

Netanyahu

Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust has begun Sunday at the Jerusalem District Court. It is the first time in the country’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing a criminal trial.

The indictments have been read for the three separate cases the enemy’s prime minister has been charged in.

Israel Police reinforced their presence in advance of Sunday’s session, partly in anticipation of protests in front of the courthouse. Two main protests are planned: a motorcade to Jerusalem by the pro-democracy Black Flag group, whose members will then demonstrate in front of the courthouse alongside a group of pro-Netanyahu demonstrators.

The judges will announce the next steps in the trial in the coming days.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty, just like every citizen, adding that he is “sure that the justice system will hold a just trial for him. I reiterate that my colleagues and I have complete confidence in the justice system and law enforcement. At this time, perhaps more than ever, we must act as a state and society for unity and reconciliation, for the State of Israel and for all Israeli citizens.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the panel of judges he has read and understands the three indictments against him.

Speaking to the press before entering the Jerusalem District Court,  Netanyahu told reporters the investigations against him “were tainted from day one,” and called the three indictments against him “ludicrous.” Netanyahu called to allow a live broadcast of his his entire trial.

Source: Israeli media

Israel: A utopian image or merely a mirage?

May 13, 2020 – 21:53

TEHRAN – While the founders of Israel had envisioned a utopia for Israeli settlers, now after 72 years, it has brought no freedom or justice to anyone except for some Zionist Jews and been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians an Israeli-American activist and author tells the Tehran Times.

‘Genocide and ethnic cleansing is the practice of Israel’ 

On promises by the founders of Israel, including Ben Gurion, who had envisioned a utopia for settlers in Israel based on freedom, justice, and peace,  Miko Peled says “Israel is an apartheid regime” which “has been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

He says Israel is “providing Jewish citizens who are Zionist with all the rights of liberal democracy.” 

He also says it “is true” that some Israelis are returning to their original countries as they are fed with governance.

‘Corrupt Netanyahu main reason behind Israeli political crisis’

Israel has been in a political crisis after three inconclusive elections and it is facing the growing prospect of an unprecedented fourth election.

Peled says it is mainly because “Israeli politics is controlled by the corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu and his racist, violent allies.”

The deadlock ended now that Netanyahu got an agreement that he accepted and protects him and allows him to continue to serve as prime minister, he says, adding there was even social disobedience “about the fact that the man they voted for, Benny Gantz, who promised to unseat Netanyahu, lied to his voters and is now sitting with Netanyahu.”

‘Israel not a democracy but an apartheid’

On claims by Tel Aviv and its allies in the West that Israel is the only democratic country in the West Asia region, Peled says, “Israel is not and has never been a democracy. It an apartheid regime.”
 
He goes on to note that “the problem with West perspective is that it is a Zionist perspective which recognizing the legitimacy of Zionism and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians.”
 
 Israel sees Trump’s reckless policies toward Iran ‘a great thing’ 

Actually, in over a year that Israel has been holding three elections, each time Donald Trump has taken a step to promote chances of Netanyahu in elections. His administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and recently Mike Pompeo claimed that annexation of lands in the West Bank does not violate international law. However, each time Netanyahu’s party failed to win enough seats in Knesset to form a government.

“Israelis are actually very happy with Trump. His support for the Israeli regime and his reckless policies regarding Iran and the Palestinians is seen as a great thing,” Peled points out.

‘Racism in Israel comes even at expenses of public health’

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Israel is refusing to release Palestinians who are held in crowded prisons, he said, noting, “Israel never respected Palestinian rights, even now that the spread of the Coronavirus is dangerous to all people.” 
“Racism in Israel is so strong that it comes even at the expense of public health,” the activist regrets.

 ‘2 million people of Gaza are heroes’

Gaza Strip is considered the greatest open prison on the earth.

Peled calls two million residents of Gaza “heroes” who are victims of “Zionist racism and violence”.

He also notes that except Iran, no country in the world cares about the miseries of the Gazans.

“They are victims of Zionist racism and violence and of the fact that the rest of the world, with the exception of Iran, do not care about them.”

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خطرُ حكومة الرأسين الإسرائيليّة: كيف يواجَه؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

بعد نيّف وسنة وبعد 3 انتخابات عامة توصّل نتنياهو إلى تشكيل حكومة ائتلاف مع حزب «أزرق أبيض» ضمن فيه رئاسة الحكومة في الكيان الصهيوني لـ 18 شهراً تعقبها 18 شهراً أخرى يكون فيها رئيس حكومة بديلاً. فترة يظنها كافية لتصفية ملفاته القضائية التي إذا فعلت ووصلت إلى منتهاها فإنها تقوده إلى السجن بعيداً عن أيّ منصب رسمي.

في المقابل ضمن بني غانتس رئيس «أبيض أزرق» والذي فشل في تشكيل حكومة بمفرده بعيداً عن الليكود ورئيسه نتنياهو، الوصول لأول مرة إلى منصب «رئيس حكومة بديل» الآن ورئيس حكومة أساسي بعد 18 شهراً أيّ بعد انتهاء مدة رئاسة نتنياهو. ومع تشكل هذا الائتلاف الحكومي ذي الرأسين في كيان العدو تطرح أسئلة كثيرة حول الأداء الإسرائيلي في الإقليم بشكل عام وتنفيذ «رؤية ترامب للسلام» والمسماة «صفقة القرن» التي قد تستوجب من الثنائي الإسرائيلي الأميركي عمليات عسكرية تلزمها لإزالة العوائق من أمامها.

قبل مناقشة هذه الأسئلة والإجابة عليها، لا بدّ من استعادة مقولة قديمة تفيد بأنّ «إسرائيل» في كلّ مرة يتعاظم فيها مأزق داخلي أو يشتدّ بتصورها خطر خارجي أو يتزامن الاثنان معاً فإنها تلجأ إلى حكومة ائتلاف تسمّيها «حكومة وحدة وطنية» تذهب بها لمواجهة المأزق أو الخطر بفتح جبهة حرب تنسي جمهورها المأزق او تبعد او تعالج الخطر.

وصحيح أنّ تشكيل الحكومة الراهنة أملته ظواهر عجز أيّ من الطرفين عن تشكيل حكومته الخاصة رغم محاولات تكرّرت بعد 3 دورات انتخابية، إلا انّ الواقع الإسرائيلي من حيث التحديات الداخلية وما تتصوّره من مخاطر خارجية يوحي بأنّ مثل هذه الحكومة ذات الرأسين الأساسي والاحتياط المتناوبين على رئاستها هي حكومة تشكل مصلحة لـ «إسرائيل» الآن، في ظلّ ما تضخمه حكومة نتنياهو الراحلة من خطر خارجي محدق يتمثل حسب زعمها بالوجود الإيراني في سورية وبتنظيم المقاومة في جبهة الجولان بالتعاون والتنسيق بين سورية وحزب الله الذي بات يملك حسب الزعم الإسرائيلي 150 ألف صاروخ متفاوتة المدى فضلاً عن 1000 صاروخ ذات رؤوس الدقيقة. وهذه ترسانة تغطي كامل مساحة فلسطين المحتلة. وكلّ ذلك لا يعالج برأيهم إلا بالعمل العسكري الذي يجهض هذا الخطر بتدمير هذا السلاح.

أما التحدي الآخر ففيه أيضاً ما يستحق «جمع الكلمة» على حدّ قول أحد خبرائهم الاستراتيجيين حيث إنّ من مصلحة «إسرائيل» أن تبدأ بتنفيذ «رؤية ترامب للسلام» المسماة «صفقة القرن» بما فيها من ضمّ أرض وإطاحة حلم الدولة الفلسطينية، وصولاً إلى التصفية النهائية للقضية الفلسطينية كلياً بإسقاط حق العودة وتشكيل «دولة إسرائيل» نهائياً على أساس أنها «وطن قومي لليهود» أو كما جاء في قانونهم الأخير «دولة يهودية». ومن أجل ذلك وفي غضون 48 ساعة من إعلان الاتفاق على تشكيل حكومة ائتلاف اعلن نتنياهو انه «آن الأوان لتضمّ إسرائيل نهائياً مستعمرات الضفة الغربية وغور الأردن» التي تشكل مساحة 30% من الضفة الغربية.

إذن أمام حكومة الرأسين الإسرائيليين ملفان وتحديان كبيران، فكيف ستعالجهما أو كيف ستتصرف حيالهما؟

بالنسبة للموضوع الأول أيّ إيران وحزب الله، تتمنّى «إسرائيل» ان تواكبها الولايات المتحدة في قرار مشترك للذهاب إلى حرب تدميرية واسعة وخاطفة تفرض على إيران الخروج من سورية، وتدمّر ترسانة صواريخ حزب الله. فهل هذا في متناول يد حكومة الرأسين؟

في الإجابة نقول إنّ الزمن الذي كانت الحرب في المنظور الإسرائيلي بمثابة مناورة تحدّد هي وقتها ومدّتها ونطاقها وحجم المغانم التي تريدها، ثم تذهب إليها وتنفذها كما خططت أو بأفضل مما خططت، إنّ هذا الزمن ولى إلى غير رجعة حيث كانت الصورة الأخيرة لها في العام 1982 في لبنان، أما بعدها فقد رسمت صورة جديدة في العام 2006 وفي لبنان أيضاً حيث كسرت المقاومة التي يقودها وينظمها حزب الله كلّ معادلات «إسرائيل» وتصوّرات قادتها وحطمت مقولة الجيش الذي لا يُقهر، ثم كانت الحرب العدوانية على سورية وتطورات رافقت هذه الحرب لتعزز مقولة الردع الاستراتيجي المتبادل ومقولة ان «إسرائيل يمكن ان تطلق الطلقة الأولى إيذاناً ببدء الحرب لكنها لن تستطيع التحكم بشيء من مجرياتها».

فـ «إسرائيل» اليوم وفي مواجهة محور المقاومة المتماسك والمتكامل في قدراته العسكرية الميدانية تبدو عاجزة عن شنّ حرب تحقق لها ما تشاء وتتحمل فيها الخسائر التي تنزلها بها قوات العدو. نعم «إسرائيل» تملك القوة العسكرية التدميرية الهامة لكنها لا تملك القدرة الكافية لتحقيق الإنجاز العسكري الذي حدّدته أيّ إنهاء الوجود الإيراني في سورية وتدمير سلاح حزب الله، كما أنها غير قادرة على احتواء ردة الفعل على جبهتها الداخلية التي فشلت في الارتقاء إلى مستوى «شعب يعمل تحت النار» رغم كلّ الجهود التي بذلت من أجل ذلك. ونشير أيضاً إلى انّ الوجود الإيراني في سورية ليس من الطبيعة التي يعالج بها بحرب من دون ان تصل إلى مستوى احتلال شامل، فهو وجود مستشارين موزعين هنا وهناك يصعب تحديدهم وإحصاؤهم.

وفي ظلّ استبعاد لجوء «إسرائيل» بمفردها إلى شنّ حرب على الجبهة الشمالية تبقى مناقشة فكرة حرب الثنائي الأميركي الإسرائيلي ضدّ محور المقاومة، وهنا أيضا نقول إنّ أميركا وقبل 6 أشهر من انتخاباتها وفي ظلّ الظروف الدولية المعقدة وبائياً ومالياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً بالنسبة لها ليست في وارد فتح جبهة في الشرق الأوسط وهي التي تتحضّر للمواجهة الأخطر في الشرق الأقصى الذي قد يفرض عليها حرباً مع الصين قبل ان تستكمل انزلاقها إلى بحرها.

وعليه نصل إلى استنتاج أول بن الحرب التي ترى فيها «إسرائيل» علاجاً للخطر الإيراني والصاروخي من حزب الله هي حرب ليست في متناول يدها ويبقى لديها أن تنفذ عمليات عسكرية استعراضية إعلامية في سورية ليست لها أي قيمة عملانية او استراتيجية لتؤكد جدية مواكبتها للخطر المزعوم، رغم انّ جلّ ما تدعيه كاذب ومنافٍ للحقيقة.

أما الأخطر في مواجهة المقاومة وسورية ولبنان فهو ممارسة أميركا وإسرائيل الضغوط في إطار الحرب الاقتصادية الإجرامية التي تشن عليهم، ولذلك تضع أميركا «قانون قيصر» الإجرامي موضع التنفيذ لخنق سورية اقتصادياً، وتثار مسألة الحدود بين لبنان وسورية لخنق لبنان والمقاومة. هنا على لبنان بشكل خاص أن يتوجه إلى الميدان الاقتصادي المشرقي عبر سورية، ويعتمد خطة التكامل الاقتصادي من نواة أربع دول (لبنان سورية والعراق وإيران) لتتسع إلى عمق اقتصادي دولي يصل إلى الصين، فتتعطل بذلك خطة الإجرام الاقتصادي او الإرهاب الاقتصادي التي تمارسها عليه لإخضاعه.

أما التحدي الآخر والذي فيه ضمّ مزيد من الأراضي الفلسطينية في الضفة الغربية وغور الأردن فإنّ هذا الأمر يبدو لـ «إسرائيل» سهلاً ومتاحاً رغم «إشارات القلق» التي يبديها حيناً الجانب الأميركي متهما «إسرائيل» بالتسرع او بيانات الاستنكار الخجولة من هنا وهناك، ونعتقد ان ترامب الذي أعطى «إسرائيل» في رؤيته فوق ما تطلب لن يمنعها من هضم ما قدّمه لها، ولن تأبه «إسرائيل» لمواقف الرفض والاستنكار الإعلامي العربية والدولية لتتوقف عن عمليتها الإجرامية بضمّ الأراضي، لكنها حتماً ستنظر إلى ردود الفعل الأردنية والفلسطينية التي تؤثر عليها جدياً فيما لو اتخذت.

وعليه نرى أنّ وقف خطة «حكومة الرأسين» الإسرائيلية بصدد ضمّ الأراضي يتطلب موقفاً أردنياً فلسطيناً حازماً يؤذي «إسرائيل» كلّ على صعيده وفي نطاقه، فبإمكان الأردن لعب ورقة التنسيق الأمني وورقة التعاون الاقتصادي والمناطق الصناعية وحركة البضائع وأنبوب الغاز وغيرها من مسائل التبادل التجاري والسياحي والأمني مع «إسرائيل» وصولاً إلى وضع مصير اتفاقية وادي عربة على الطاولة، هنا تجد «إسرائيل» ان توسّعها في الأرض يؤدي إلى انحسار في المصالح وبالمقارنة ستضطر لاختيار المصالح فتتوقف.

أما الموقف الفلسطيني فيكفي أن يتمثل بأمرين اثنين: وقف التنسيق الأمني كلياً، ووقف تدابير القمع التي تمنع الشعب من إطلاق انتفاضته المباركة المتنظرة التي تهز الأرض في الضفة تحت أقدام المحتلّ، عندها نستطيع القول بأنّ هناك موقفاً جدياً يواجه العدوان الإسرائيلي ويوقف تنفيذ صفقة القرن فلسطينياً.

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي.

Israeli MP Presents Bills to Annex Jordan Valley, Impose Death Penalty on Palestinians

By Middle East Eye

Global Research, March 20, 2020

Middle East Eye 18 March 2020

A right-wing Israeli parliamentarian submitted two bills to the Knesset on Wednesday seeking to permanently annex the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and the Hebron desert in the occupied West Bank to Israel, as well as impose the death penalty on Palestinian political prisoners.

Miki Zohar, the head of the Likud faction in the Knesset, said that the two bills he submitted would “embarrass” former army general Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party and Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beitenu.

Gantz is currently speaking with Israeli parties to form a coalition government after receiving a thin majority last week from Israeli Knesset members.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Likud party, is maintaining contact with Gantz in a bid to form a national unity government, though the chances are slim that the two rivals will find common ground.

Netanyahu is facing corruption charges and he could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison if convicted. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first court hearing for Netanyahu’s case was postponed this week to May.

Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage before He Exits?

Gantz is still examining the possibility to enter an alliance with Lieberman and the Arab Joint List, a political coalition of parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, in order to form a government.

Lieberman has long depicted the Palestinian community inside Israel as a “fifth column” and called them “enemies”. Nonetheless, he agreed with Gantz for the Joint List to provide parliamentary support to the coalition but not participate in the government.

The Joint List opposes the annexation of occupied Palestinian lands and the death penalty.

Newspaper Israel Hayom quoted Zohar as saying that his aim was to weaken Gantz’s bloc.

“Let’s see this wonderful cooperation between the Joint List, Yisrael Beiteinu and Blue and White. We will see how they will work together [with] those who work against the state,” Zohar said. “Shall we see [Gantz and Lieberman] oppose these legislations in order to please their new friends from the Joint List?”

In December 2017, Lieberman – who then served as defence minister – introduced a bill allowing the use of the death penalty against Palestinian prisoners. The bill did not go through the Knesset.

Israel has not carried out any executions since 1962, when Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was hanged.

Israel abolished the use of capital punishment for murder in civil courts in 1954, though it can still in theory be applied for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, treason and crimes against the Jewish people.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is Middle East EyeCopyright © Middle East EyeMiddle East Eye, 2020

جنرالات تل أبيب يتصدّرون المشهد و«أزعر الحارة» ‏يخرج من السباق

محمد صادق الحسيني

‏تفيد أخبار فلسطين المحتلة بأن قائمة أزرق أبيض بزعامة بني غانتس أي جنرالات تل أبيب قد تمكنوا من تجميع 61 صوتاً من اعضاء الكنيست الصهيوني لمصلحتهم ما سيمكنهم عملياً من نيل جائزة التكليف بتشكيل الحكومة الإسرائيلي.

‏وهذا يعني أن «أزعر الحارة» نتن ياهو فقد حظوظه في حكومة الوحدة الوطنية التي كان ينادي ويتشدّق بها بحجة مكافحة كورونا…!

‏من جهة أخرى صحيح أن محاكمته قد تأجلت لأيار المقبل إلا أن ذهابه الى السجن صار أقرب مع هذا المسار الجديد الذي أخذته لعبة شد الحبل بين تياري الشاباك الذي يكاد يمثله بني غانتس ويعلون واشكينازي، والموساد الذي ظل يشكل على مدى العقدين الماضيين بمثابة عصا أزعر الحارة نتن ياهو…!

المعلوم أن غانتس سيحصل على التكليف الرئاسي لتشكيل الحكومة بتوصية 61 نائباً، وهم 15 القائمة (العربية) المشتركة + 7 قائمة ليبرمان + 6 تحالف حزب العمل وميرتس = 61 نائبًا

فهل سينجح غانتس في تشكيل الحكومة؟

ثمّة من يقول بأن أمام مشهد عصابة تل أبيب 3 خيارات:

إقامة حكومة ضيقة. وهذا خيار شبه مستحيل لأن هناك اعضاء داخل تحالفه يعارضون اقامة حكومة بدعم خارجي (الأصوات العربية).

تشكيل حكومة وحدة مع الليكود يتناوب على زعامتها مع نتن ياهو. وهو أمر سقط من خلال اقتراح غانتس على نتن ياهو بمنح العرب في مثل هذه الحكومة 3 حقائب هي الصحة والسياحة والمعارف، المعارف التي لن يقبل الصهاينة المتطرفون «المتدينون» الا ان تكون من حصة حلفاء نتن ياهو أي حاخامات الكيان الصهيوني كما كانت دوماً. وهو الأمر الذي يعرفه غانتس تماماً كما يفترض إنما طرحه على نتن ياهو ليحرجه فيخرجه …!

انشقاقات في أحزاب اليمين والمتدينين قد تنضم لتحالف غانتس .

القانون سيمنح غانتس لتشكيل الحكومة مهلة 4 أسابيع في المرحلة الأولى ثم أسبوعين، وإن لم يفلح يتم تكليف نتن ياهو وهو أمر بات مستبعد مع قرار ليبرمان العلمانيّ التاريخيّ للانضمار الى تكتل غانتس – اليسار، وهو ما يبدو عليه بأنه جاء بضوء أخضر روسي وربما أميركي أيضاً، بهدف تجاوز مرحلة نتن ياهو البهلوانية الهوليودية الفاشلة …

أياً تكن احتمالات مسار الحكومة الإسرائيلية المقبلة إلا أن القدر المتيقن أنها أخرجت أزعر الحارة من السباق، وقربت احتمالات دخوله السجن بعد محاكمة أيار المقبلة، ما لم يطرأ تحوّل كبير في مسارات المعادلة الإقليمية الدولية التي تبدو أنها مرآة عاكسة لتشقق وانقسام الدويلة والمجتمع الإسرائيلي عمودياً وأفقياً بعد عقود من الادعاءات الزائفة بأنهم رمز الدولة النموذج للديمقراطية في عالمنا العربي والإسلامي، الرمز الذي يتمّ تهشيمه وتهميشه مع كل انتصار تسجله قوى التحرر والمقاومة العربية والإسلامية من غزة الى بيروت الى دمشق الى طهران فبغداد وصنعاء والقادم من الأيام يحمل الكثير من المفاجآت ..!

والله بالغ أمره، ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلمون,

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

قانون حرمان نتنياهو من الحكم بيد الفلسطينيين…؟

د. عصام نعمان

لكي يفوز في الانتخابات احتاج بنيامين نتنياهو إلى أصوات أكثرية الناخبين اليهود. لكن ليبقى رئيساً للحكومة يحتاج الى موافقة أقلية من النواب الفلسطينيين. في انتخابات الكنيست الأخيرة نال نتنياهو من أصوات اليهود أكثر من منافسيه، لكنه لم يفز وحلفاءه بالأكثرية النيابية اللازمة لتأليف الحكومة. يلزمه لتكوين الأكثرية المطلوبة انشقاق نائبين أو ثلاثة من أحزاب منافسيه وانضمامهم الى تكتله البرلماني اليميني.

هذا الاحتمال ممكن، لكنه صعب التحقيق. لضمان حرمان نتنياهو من تأليف أوّل حكومة بعد الانتخابات، يسعى منافسوه لتكوين أكثرية مضادة وقادرة على سنّ قانون في الكنيست يقضي بمنع النائب الموضوع قيد التحقيق بتهم جنائية من تولي رئاسة الحكومة. لا سبيل الى تكوين هذه الأكثرية إلاّ بمشاركة النواب الفلسطينيين الـ 15 من أعضاء القائمة (العربية) المشتركة، فهل يشاركون؟

الفلسطينيون، جمهوراً ونواباً، يكرهون نتنياهو لأنه صهيونيّ عنصريّ متعصّب ويمارس وحزبه اليميني أبشع صنوف التمييز ضدّهم. لكن فريقاً من منافسيه اليهود الصهاينة لا يقلّ عنه تعصّباً وسوءاً. أبرز هؤلاء بني غانتس، زعيم تحالف «أزرق أبيض» (33 مقعداً) وأفيغدور ليبرمان، زعيم حزب «إسرائيل بيتنا» (7 مقاعد).

غانتس يدعو الى اعتماد «صفقة القرن» كما لضمّ أجزاء من الضفة الغربية إلى «إسرائيل». ليبرمان يصف القائمة المشتركة بأنها طابور خامس. رئيس القائمة المشتركة أيمن عوده ردّ على غانتس داعياً إياه إلى التراجع عن تصريحات كان أعرب فيها عن دعمه لتأليف حكومة ذات أغلبية يهودية، ولضمّ أجزاء من الضفة الغربية الى «إسرائيل». كما ردّ على ليبرمان بموقفٍ صارم: معارضة أيّ حكومة ائتلافية توافقية إذا كانت تضمّ هذا العنصري الفاقع.

تحالف أحزاب العمل و «جيشر» و»ميرتس» (7 مقاعد) أعلن بالتفاهم مع تحالف «أزرق أبيض» (33 مقعداً) اعتزامهما اتخاذ جميع الإجراءات اللازمة لمنع نتنياهو من مواصلة تولي رئاسة الحكومة بينما هو ملاحق بتهم جنائية وبالفساد. مع موافقة حزب «إسرائيل بيتنا» (7 مقاعد) على دعم مشروع قانون يقضي بمنع نتنياهو من شغل منصب رئيس الحكومة، فإنّ مجموع المقاعد التي يشغلها هؤلاء (47 مقعداً) تبقى قاصرة عن تكوين الأكثرية المطلوبة (61 مقعداً من مجموع مقاعد الكنيست الـ 120) لإقرار قانون إبعاد نتنياهو عن رئاسة الحكومة. لضمان ذلك يقتضي إقناع نواب القائمة المشتركة بالانضمام الى مؤيدي القانون المطلوب.

نواب القائمة المشتركة مستعدّون، بطبيعة الحال، لدعم أيّ إجراء يؤدّي الى إقصاء نتنياهو اليميني العنصري. فقد خاضوا الانتخابات الأخيرة تحت هذا الشعار وعبّأوا الجمهور العربي معتمدين على عدائه الغريزيّ لكلّ عنصرية وعنصري في المشهد الإسرائيلي الداخلي. لكن تعاونهم مع سائر خصوم نتنياهو في هذا السبيل يتطلّب الوفاء ببعض الشروط، وربما ببعض الضمانات ايضاً. ذلك أنّ بعضاً من هؤلاء الخصوم لا يتوانى عن ممارسة سلوكية عنصرية فاقعة ضدّ الفلسطينيين.

مترسملاً على اتحاد غير مسبوق بين مختلف أطياف المجتمع السياسي العربي ضدّ الأحزاب والتكتلات الصهيونية العنصرية، ومعلناً باسم كتلة نيابية بـِ 15 مقعداً أضحت في الواقع ثالث أكبر حزب في الكنيست، أكّد أيمن عوده انّ القائمة المشتركة لن تتنازل عن دورها كمجموعة شرعية فاعلة في ميدان السياسة الإسرائيلية. معنى ذلك أنّ القائمة العربية ستستخدم حجمها الوازن في الكنيست للحصول على تنازلات سياسية واجتماعية مهمة من سائر الأحزاب والتكتلات، ولا سيما الوسطية واليسارية منها.

لعلّ التنازلات المطلوبة ستتركز في الميدان الاجتماعي لا سيما حيال قضايا المساواة أمام القانون، ووقف التمييز ضدّ العرب عند تطبيق قانون مخالفات البناء، والتوظيف، وممارسة الحقوق السياسية. الى ذلك، قد يوفّق قادة القائمة المشتركة في حمل بعض أحزاب الوسط واليسار على تقليص الالتزام بمضمون «صفقة القرن»، لا سيما حيال مشاريع الاستيطان والضمّ وفرض «سيادة إسرائيلية» إضافية على بعض الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة، وفي مقدّمها غور الأردن.

يبقى أنّ أهمّ ما يمكن أن ينتج عن تعاون القائمة المشتركة مع خصوم نتنياهو في الكنيست هو تمرير القانون الموضوع من أجل حرمانه من تولي منصب رئيس الحكومة طالما هو ملاحق بتهم جنائية. ذلك سيؤدي الى مفاعيل ثلاثة وازنة: إقالته فوراً من رئاسة الحكومة، وتعزيز مضابط الاتهام ضدّه لدى قضاة التحقيق ومن ثم لدى المحكمة، والدفع باتجاه إجراء انتخابات رابعة خلال سنة واحدة او ما يزيد عنها قليلاً. ولا شك في أنّ اجتماع هذه المفاعيل يتيح لمعارضي نتنياهو الفرصة والقدرة على إضعافه في أوساط الناخبين عموماً والحؤول، تالياً، دون سيطرة أحزاب اليمين العنصرية والمستوطنين على الكنيست أو على الحكومة. كما أنّ ذلك يُسهم في مشاغلة حكام الكيان الصهيوني، قليلاً أو كثيراً، عن شنّ حروبٍ صغيرة أو كبيرة على قطاع غزة وسورية ولبنان.

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Final Israeli Election Results Show Netanyahu Fails to Reach Parliamentary Majority

Sputnik

17:41 GMT 05.03.2020(updated 18:21 GMT 05.03.2020

The preliminary results in Monday’s elections showed that Likud won 35 seats in the Knesset, followed by the Blue and White coalition with 32. This is the third time in less than a year that neither party has managed to win a clear majority.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party appears to be the largest party, the country’s election results indicate, Haaretz reported.

However, the votes show that the Netanyahu-led bloc failed to secure a 61-seat majority to form a government and was closely followed by Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party, reports say.

The Likud party won 58 seats, followed by Benny Gantz’s Blue and White coalition with 55.

Monday’s election was the third in 11 months – the first two were in April and September 2019 – and was aimed at putting an end to the political deadlock that has been ongoing since the end of 2018. Likud pulled slightly ahead in both previous votes, but was each time unable to get enough coalition partners to secure the needed majority.

In the previous two rounds of voting, held last April and September, Netanyahu’s bloc similarly failed to secure a parliamentary majority and no coalition was formed.

Netanyahu Pushes Annexation Plan as New Elections Loom

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 December 8, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday touted his plan to annex a swathe of the occupied West Bank and Israeli settlements in a last-ditch effort to prevent another general election.

“It’s time to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and legalise all the Judea and Samaria settlements, those that are in settlement blocs and those outside of them,” he said, using the biblical term for the West Bank.

“They will be part of the ‘State of Israel’.”

Netanyahu announced in September, a week before general elections, that he planned to annex the Jordan Valley, which accounts for around a third of the West Bank, if re-elected.

His Sunday remarks, at a conference organized by rightwing newspaper Makor Rishon, came alongside an appeal to rival Benny Gantz to form a unity government and save the time and money involved in elections.

“I have offered to Benny Gantz to join a unity government and today too I’m telling him to join a unity government with me,” Netanyahu said.

“It’s not too late.”

Source: AFP

Presidential Pardon for Netanyahu?

Global Research, December 06, 2019

Is a deal in the works for Netanyahu to step down as prime minister in return for a presidential pardon — with the aim of avoiding a third election next year? More on this below.

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Netanyahu faces prosecution for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Israeli attorney general Avichai Mendelblit said he “damaged the image of the public service and public trust in it (by abusing his office), knowingly “taking a bribe as a public servant in exchange for actions related to (his) position.”

Charges against him are over arranging favorable news site coverage and accepting lavish gifts in return for political favors.

He remains prime minister because his Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party failed to cobble together a majority 61-seat ruling coalition after elections in April and September.

An unprecedented third one looms next year without deadlock resolution. Netanyahu vowed to stay in office despite charges against him. Israeli law only requires a sitting prime minister to step down if convicted.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin accused political leaders of preferring “to go crazy” rather than agree on coalition rule.

If impasse is unresolved by December 11, a third election will be called for next year, late February the earliest possible date, according to a Knesset legal official.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu’s latest meeting with challenger Benny Gantz failed to resolve differences, Gantz reportedly saying he distrusts the prime minister more than ever.

Israel’s Channel 13 said Netanyahu seeks a deal to let him remain prime minister for another three to six months in return for Gantz’s Blue and White party getting key ministries.

Gantz reportedly rejected the offer and earlier ones because Netanyahu can’t be trusted to fulfill promises made. Reportedly he said: “I believe him less today.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu said he’s “ready for (new) elections,” adding: “They’re not moving one millimeter. One nano-meter, they’re not moving.”

“We made all kinds of proposals, with all kinds of ways to make sure that this unity government will be stable, but they are simply refusing.”

Gantz responded saying: Netanyahu “has been digging in his heels and has not been offering anything new,” adding:

“That is not how you conduct negotiations. He needs to look me — and Israeli citizens — in the eye and say what he thinks and wants instead of shirking responsibility.”

According to the Jerusalem Post (JP), Israeli President Rivlin “will consider pardoning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in exchange for the PM retiring from political life and confessing to the crimes of which he is accused, Channel 12 reported Wednesday night.”

Earlier he rejected a plea bargain or pardon. So far, he hasn’t responded to the latest offer. According to the JP, his former lawyer Jacob Weinroth failed to convince him to take a similar deal earlier.

In June 2018, the JP said Mendelblit supports the above deal. No formal offers have been reported so far.

At the same time, Rivlin has been exerting heavy pressure on Netanyahu and Gantz to avoid a third election — the outcome likely to be similar to April and September results if held, leaving impasse unresolved.

As things now stand, the best chance, maybe the only one, to resolve things and be able to form a new government is for Netanyahu to resign.

It remains to be seen if he’ll accept Rivlin’s reported offer — stepping down, admitting guilt, and accepting public humiliation in return for avoiding prosecution, likely conviction and imprisonment.

Charges against him omit his highest of high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against long-suffering Palestinians.

For over a decade, Gazans have been harmed most of all under suffocating medieval siege, an entire population held hostage for political reasons.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

The Unfinished “Coup”: the End of the Netanyahu Era and the Political Earthquake Ahead

Image result for The Unfinished “Coup”: the End of the Netanyahu Era and the Political Earthquake Ahead

It seems that the end of the Netanyahu era is finally upon us, but it is likely to be longer and uglier than expected.

This time, nothing seems to work. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has tried every trick in the book to save his political career and to avoid possible prison time. But for Israel’s longest-serving leader, the honeymoon is certainly almost over.

It is an “attempted coup,” is how Netanyahu described his indictment on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust by Israeli Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, on November 21. Netanyahu’s loyalists agree. On November 26, a few thousand Likud party supporters gathered in Tel Aviv, under the title “Stop the coup,” to express their anger at what they see as a massive conspiracy involving Mandelblit, the media, various state institutions, and “disloyal” Likud party members.

Netanyahu’s main Likud party rival, Gideon Sa’ar, received much of the ramzverbal abuse. Sa’ar, who almost faded into oblivion after leaving the Knesset in 2014, emerged once more on Israel’s political scene following the April 2019 elections. Netanyahu’s failure to form a government then was compounded by a similar failure to cobble up a government coalition after the second general elections, held within a few months in September.

Since 2014, no one dared challenge Netanyahu’s reign over the Likud. “There was no need to do so,” wrote Yossi Verter in Haaretz on November 29. Netanyahu “brought them to power, time after time. But few things happened since then.”

It is because of these “few things” that Sa’ar dared to challenge Netanyahu once more. What is significant about Sa’ar’s leadership challenge is not the possibility of him unseating Netanyahu, but the fact that the “king of Israel” no longer commands the type of fear and respect that he has painstakingly espoused over a decade of nearly uncontested rule.

As soon as Sa’ar called for new Likud primaries, Netanyahu’s political minions, such as Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, and other heavyweight politicians – Nir Barkat, Miri Regev, among others – pounced on Sa’ar, describing him as “disloyal.” The Tel Aviv protesters had far more demeaning words for the rebel Likud member. However, despite the deafening screams and the name-calling, Netanyahu conceded, promising on November 23, that he would set up and face a party leadership challenge within weeks.

Embattled Netanyahu has no other options. Although he may still come out in the lead should the primaries be held on time, he cannot afford deepening existing doubts within his party. If he fails to ensure his legitimacy within his own Likud party, he could hardly make the case of being able to lead all of Israel following a possible third general election in March.

However, Sa’ar is not Netanyahu’s biggest problem.

The picture for Netanyahu – in fact, for all of Israel – is getting more complicated by the day. The Israeli leader has successfully managed to coalesce his own political and family interests within the collective interests of all Israelis. “I’m doing everything required to ensure the government’s and cabinet’s work is getting done in all the ways required to ensure the safety of Israel’s citizens,” he told a reporter on November 23, insisting that he is still carrying out his duties as a Prime Minister “in the best possible way, out of supreme devotion to Israel’s security.”

Desperate to hang on to power for as long as possible, Netanyahu still employs the same political discourse that helped him unify many sectors of Israeli society for over ten years. But that ploy is no longer reaping the intended result. For one, Netanyahu’s main rival in the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) Party, Benny Gantz, has neutralized the Prime Minister’s success in manipulating the term “security,” for he, too, is an advocate of war, whenever and wherever war is possible.

Netanyahu’s last war on Gaza on November 12, where the Israeli army killed 34 Palestinians, including women and children, is a case in point. During the short-lived destructive war, Gantz was busy trying to form a government, as Netanyahu had already failed that task. Resorting to war, Netanyahu tried to send three messages, all intended for Israeli audiences: one to Mandelblit, to postpone the indictment; the second to Gantz, to reconsider his decision to block him from taking part in a future government, and the final one to the Israeli public, to remind them of his own supposed ability to reign in “terror.”

But all has failed: Gantz announced his inability to form a government on November 20, preferring failure over extending a lifeline to Netanyahu, whose indictment was imminent. Indeed, the Attorney General’s decision arrived on November 21, making it the first time in the history of the country that a Prime Minister is indicted while in office. Worse, Blue and White widened its lead significantly over the Likud, according to a public opinion poll commissioned by Israel’s Channel 12 television, which was published on November 26.

But what other languages, aside from that of war – in the name of security – and haphazard accusations of political conspiracies, can Netanyahu possibly employ during this period? Such tactics often worked in the past. In fact, they worked so well that the entire Netanyahu political doctrine was designed around them. Now, the Israeli leader has run out of ideas, and is quickly running out of allies as well, not only from without, such as his former ally and the head of Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, but from within his own party as well.

The reason that Netanyahu is still in power after all the setbacks and outright failures is the fact that his rivals are yet to mobilize the necessary votes and public support to oust him for good. It will certainly take more than Gantz alone to dislodge stubborn Netanyahu from office, for the latter has consolidated and entrenched his rule through an intricate system of political patronage that runs deep through many facets of Israeli society.

With this in mind, it seems that the end of the Netanyahu era is finally upon us, but it is likely to be longer and uglier than expected. While it remains true that a fundamental change in Israel’s political system will neither deliver peace and justice to Palestinians – or stability to the region – it could potentially constitute the equivalent of a political earthquake within Israel itself, the consequences of which are yet to be seen.

Feature photo | Protesters stand near a banner showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during rally calling for his resignation, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Nov. 30, 2019. Oded Balilty | AP

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His last book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London) and his forthcoming book is These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is http://www.ramzybaroud.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

With No End in Sight, Israel’s Election Soap Opera Rages On

By Miko Peled

Source

The Israeli election process, like a bad soap opera, has been going on for many months now with no end in sight, and precisely like a poorly made soap opera, the squabbling, blaming, threatening, scare tactics and mudslinging have lead to nothing.

The Boss

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, assumed to be the “Boss” of Israeli politics, seems to have lost his touch. In two consecutive elections, he was unable to win a majority or form a coalition government.

The rise of a united opposition to run against him led by former IDF generals – who by the way at one point or another served him – is part of the reason for his failure. Additionally, although he pandered to them and made them promises, he was unable to convince the constituency of settler gangs to support him exclusively, rather than to vote for their own parties, and this cost him valuable votes. These ultra-right-wing parties that can only be described as a combination of religious fanaticism and neo-fascism include people like Transportation Minister Bezalel Smutrich, Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz and the newly appointed Minister of Defense, Naftali Bennet.

Repeat Elections

The most repeated mantra in Israeli politics today is, “no one wants elections.” In a press conference at the President’s residence, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein repeated this. In an emergency gathering of the “Right Block,” Netanyahu declared: “elections are bad!” Yet, still, as hard as they may try, none of these politicians sound convincing. Ignoring the famous Albert Einstein quote, or perhaps proving it right, that repeating the same actions and expecting different results is a sign of madness, it is clear that the main characters in this soap opera, namely, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, are hoping for another election cycle.

Their hope, delusional as it may be, is that the next round of elections will get them enough votes to become the next prime minister. While the cost of elections is enormous, the money does not come out of their pockets. Consistent with characters of bad soap operas, having large egos and a self-centered outlook, they believe they can make it if they just tweak their campaign. Maybe if they make another promise, get yet another statement by Donald Trump, or use a different slogan, they might make the cut. This, despite the fact that these tricks clearly failed them in the previous two elections.

The Israeli Electorate

The political division that is demonstrated by the result of the last two elections represents two main parts within Israeli society. The division has to do less with the issues than it does cosmetics. The first is who will sit at the head of the table, the cabinet table. While the two main parties, and most of the small ones, are quite happy to sit together in a coalition government, they want their guy to be at the head of the table.

The second touches somewhat on the issues but is in essence also cosmetic: Likud politicians and voters are proud of who they are and the ideology they espouse: violent, racist, and a settler-colonial ideology that flaunts its power and racism. It can be summed up as f*&% the Arabs, this is our land and that’s that.

The other part of the Israeli electorate, those who vote for Blue and White and parties that are considered “Liberal Zionist,” or “Zionist Left,” espouse the same ideology, but prefer to do it in the closet. It was the Zionist left that initiated the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestine in 1948. It was the same Zionist left that completed the conquest of Palestine in 1967 and built in the newly conquered lands for Jews only, and it is the Zionist left that brought about the disaster of the Oslo Agreements and contracted the Palestinian Authority to do its dirty work. However, it is all done under an enormous fig leaf called “Peace.” All they really ever wanted was peace.

So about half of the Israeli electorate is brutal and brutally honest and the other is brutal but shy about it.

The “Arabs”

In an emergency gathering of the “right,” Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the “Arab” political parties in the Knesset are supporters of terrorism. He said that a government that has to rely on their support will be an “existential threat” to the state of Israel. He called it a “Pigu’a Leumi” a terror attack of national proportions.

Responses were quick to appear from figures across the political spectrum, including President Rivlin. Netanyahu was reprimanded for labeling all of the “Arabs” of Israel as terrorists, even though he made it clear he was not referring to all of the “Arabs” because, according to him, “there are loyal, Zionist Arabs” out there too.

Another response came from the mayor of the Palestinian-Druze town of Daliyat El-Karmel, Rafik Halabi. It is a town within the 1948 boundaries so its residents are considered citizens of the state of Israel. Halabi himself was, for many years, a correspondent on Israeli television covering “Arab Issues.” In response to Netanyahu’s remarks, he tweeted:

Does the PM know how many Muslim Arabs serve in the IDF. Does he know how many Israeli Arabs serve in the Mossad, the Shabak (Israel’s secret police, MP), and other arms of the security forces…”

He ended the tweet with: “We are all Israelis.”

If Halabi’s tweet was an indication of anything, it is that collaborating with an oppressor does not pay off. His entire statement is an indictment of those among the Palestinian communities of 1948 who chose, for one reason or another, to work for the “security” regime of their occupier and colonizer, Israel.

The members of this community that decide to engage in this work get no great benefit for working against their own people. In fact, they are treated with the same contempt as are all other Palestinians, and if any evidence is needed for that, one only needs to look at the newest addition to Israel’s Basic Laws, The Nation State Law. More recently, the comments made by Netanyahu regarding their elected representatives is another good indication. Furthermore, the stain of being a collaborator will surely remain on their families for a long time to come.

This community, which today numbers close to two million people, was able to remain within the newly established state of Israel after the ethnic cleansing of 1948. The dubious title of “Israeli Arab” was imposed along with quasi, second class citizenship in an apartheid state that was forced upon them. A serious debate is, and always has, taken place by Palestinian citizens of Israel as to how to deal with the state, whether or not to participate in elections, and so forth. In the Knesset today, the Palestinian bloc, what is known as the Joint Arab List, makes up the third-largest bloc in the chamber, yet not a single party is willing to sit with them or even rely on their support in creating a coalition government.

Indictment

As these words are being typed, Prime Minister Netanyahu is being indicted on charges of corruption and breach of trust. There is still a very wide loophole, wide enough that he can jump through it and which will save him for at least another year. The Knesset committee that deals with members’ immunity is not in session right now and so cannot deal with the issue of his immunity.

It would be hard to imagine that an indictment will go forward without giving the prime minister, who is also a sitting member of Knesset, the opportunity to be heard on an issue of such vital importance. It is likely that Netanyahu will clear this loophole delaying the process until after a future election, which is likely to take place in the spring of 2020. This will ensure that the soap opera will continue for at least one more season.

There Are No Good Scenarios For Netanyahu’s Future

There Are No Good Scenarios For Netanyahu’s Future

Jihad Haidar 

For the first time in “Israel’s” history, a sitting prime minister has been indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. It is a resounding precedent that will surely have implications on Netanyahu’s personal and family life. In terms of his professional life, the indictment initiated the fading of his political star. 

Within the political class, it will reproduce groups vying for the leadership role, each considering itself to be the rightful successor to Netanyahu. Within the right-wing camp, there are serious doubts regarding the ability of any alternative leader to maintain Netanyahu’s bloc and family. As for the political arena, the overthrow of Netanyahu will lead to the redrawing of the map, paving the way for new party alliances in the “Israeli” entity. This is because his presence at the helm and the Likud presidency obstructed the weaving of many alliances.

The indictment comes following prolonged political, media and legal wrangling (the dissolution of the Knesset and disruptions to the formation of a government). It can generally be said that Netanyahu did not succeed in achieving what he hoped for, but he was able to delay the indictment against him. These games have had negative political, economic and social effects on the “Israeli” reality.

Netanyahu did not concede to the move by “Israel’s” Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, and he labeled the indictment as an attempted coup against him personally and the right-wing as a whole.

“I will not allow lies to prevail. I will continue to lead the country, according to the letter of the law, with responsibility, devotion and concern for all of our futures,” Netanyahu said. He even demanded to “investigate the investigators”. This indicates that he will throw everything into the fight to protect himself in the hope of avoiding prison.

It should be noted that according to media reports, Netanyahu will not be tried for a year and a half. There are still many subsequent steps which may have implications, such as the granting of immunity to Netanyahu by the Knesset. But this requires a Knesset House Committee that has not been appointed yet. It is usually appointed following the formation of the government through an agreement between the Knesset majority parties.

For Netanyahu, the biggest challenge at this stage is whether the attorney general’s decision will affect ‘s his ability to form the next government. The decision to indict will determine the course of the internal and governmental situation.

Legally, there is no legislation obligating Netanyahu to step down. As such, the Supreme Court has the final word on whether Netanyahu is competent to form the next government.

Netanyahu’s problem in this context lies in that the Supreme Court has already prevented many figures from taking high positions over suspicions and accusations. It prevented Major General Yoav Galant from assuming the post of army chief of staff, ten years ago, and canceled his appointment after he was selected by the government. Similarly, the court reversed the government’s decision to appoint officer Chico Edri as Police Inspector General, more than a year ago, and canceled his appointment.

These precedents reinforce arguments that the Supreme Court’s decision may be unfavorable to Netanyahu. And if this most pessimistic scenario happens, it will be the end of his political career. He will only be left with an attempt to request immunity as he is a Knesset member. This takes a different course. The decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all state institutions and cannot be appealed.

An additional indication of the tightening of the noose around Netanyahu’s neck is underscored by what many legal experts reported. The attorney general will not wait for petitions to the Supreme Court to submit his position on Netanyahu’s incompetence to form a government.

It is true that the charge is a criminal offense and the decision is judicial. However, it is being issued against a prime minister who is at the same time the leader of the right-wing camp. Hence, it is expected to have political implications and repercussions on the entire political system in “Israel”.

The first and most obvious of these consequences is that Netanyahu’s fate has been sealed in principle and that he will be ousted sooner or later. All the maneuvers, alliances, media and political campaigns no longer work. But he may be successful in delaying his downfall, or perhaps reaching a deal later. If the judiciary were in agreement, the deal would include him stepping down and confessing everything in exchange for avoiding prison.

However, things are only getting started. There is a range of possible scenarios, but they all end up with him being ousted from office. Even if he can get a favorable Supreme Court decision and push for a third election, it will have an impact on Likud, and perhaps also on his chances of being appointed by the head of state, especially since he was formally charged with serious corruption charges.

The other scenario involves the growing voices from within Likud calling for Netanyahu’s resignation to save the party and prevent a third election by pushing for a Likud primary, and hoping for Netanyahu to be replaced. This is what his arch-rival Gideon Sa’ar is demanding. He claims he is capable of forming a government and uniting the people.

Remarkably, Netanyahu’s trial began politically and in the sphere of public opinion as soon as the indictments were issued. “The [state] of ‘Israel’ against Netanyahu” dominated the headlines. It seems that one of the first indications of the effects of this political trial is the position from sources in the Likud explaining that Netanyahu “should understand that his era is over. It is time for change.”

What separates this indictment from the parameters of the judiciary is that it came after Netanyahu and Gantz exhausted all efforts to form a government. So, now the ball is in the Knesset’s court when it comes to the formation of the government. This may provide an opportunity to avoid the option of a third election if Netanyahu is ousted, either from the Likud leadership or by a judicial decision disqualifying him from forming a government. It would then be easy for 61 members of the Knesset [MKs] to agree on a replacement for the task of forming a government. The Likud chairman would likely be the one appointed to form the government.

Usually in such situations, predictions appear about the possibility of Netanyahu pushing for a regional war to stay in office or avoid prison. However, several clarifications must be made:

– The decision to wage war in “Israel” is not the prerogative of the prime minister alone but the kitchen cabinet. The chief of staff, the intelligence apparatus and other security services usually take part in the consultations.

– The problem for Netanyahu at this point, specifically after his indictment, is that he is under a microscope more so than ever before. This will raise question marks over any move he supports.

– Any decision about launching a war, in general, requires the blessing from the military establishment, even if the law allows the political leadership to make a decision contrary to the recommendation of the military and intelligence. But as a result of the enormous losses expected from any particular regional confrontation along the northern front, this blessing becomes more than necessary.

– If a decision was taken in this direction with the approval and support of the military establishment, then there would be a synchronization between Netanyahu’s alleged interests and the launching of this war. In this case, Netanyahu could use it for political and personal interests. This type of investment is legitimate and approved in “Israel”.

However, any military confrontation of any scope and in any location is unlikely to have a serious impact in rescuing Netanyahu. The most that can happen is that some proceedings are postponed until after the battle is over. And then things take their course.

The aforementioned does not mean that the new situation will not have an impact on Netanyahu’s decisions. But it can be said that his margin for pushing towards a military option is narrowing. Netanyahu could have initiated this step in the period before the decision of the attorney general. The results may have been more useful to him.

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Who Is Benny Gantz? Israel’s Butcher of Gaza — Rebel Voice

Benny Gantz is the leader of the Blue and White political party in the rogue state of Israel. At this time, he leads the largest single party group in the Knesset, (Israeli parliament). It appears to be a toss-up between Gantz and Netanyhau for who will lead the next government. Netanyahu is a war criminal, […]

via Who Is Benny Gantz? Israel’s Butcher of Gaza — Rebel Voice

Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage before He Exits?

Global Research, September 20, 2019

For most Israelis, the general election on Tuesday was about one thing and one thing only. Not the economy, nor the occupation, nor even corruption scandals. It was about Benjamin Netanyahu. Should he head yet another far-right government, or should his 10-year divisive rule come to an end?

Barring a last-minute upset as the final ballot papers are counted, Israelis have made their verdict clear: Netanyahu’s time is up.

In April’s inconclusive election, which led to this re-run, Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with its main opponent in the Blue and White party, led by retired general Benny Gantz. This time Gantz appears to have nudged ahead, with 33 seats to Netanyahu’s 31 in the 120-member parliament. Both parties fared worse than they did in April, when they each secured 35 seats.

But much more significantly, Netanyahu appears to have fallen short of the 61-seat majority he needs to form yet another far-right government comprising settler and religious parties.

His failure is all the more glaring, given that he conducted by far the ugliest – and most reckless – campaign in Israeli history. That was because the stakes were sky-high.

Only a government of the far-right – one entirely beholden to Netanyahu – could be relied on to pass legislation guaranteeing him immunity from a legal process due to begin next month. Without it, he is likely to be indicted on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust.

So desperate was Netanyahu to avoid that fate, according to reports published in the Israeli media on election day, that he was only a hair’s breadth away from launching a war on Gaza last week as a way to postpone the election.

Israel’s chief law officer, attorney general Avichai Mendelblit, stepped in to halt the attack when he discovered the security cabinet had approved it only after Netanyahu concealed the army command’s major reservations.

Netanyahu also tried to bribe right-wing voters by promising last week that he would annex much of the West Bank immediately after the election – a stunt that blatantly violated campaigning laws, according to Mendelblit.

Facebook was forced to shut down Netanyahu’s page on two occasions for hate speech – in one case after it sent out a message that “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men”. That sentiment appeared to include the 20 per cent of the Israeli population who are Palestinian citizens.

Netanyahu incited against the country’s Palestinian minority in other ways, not least by constantly suggesting that their votes constituted fraud and that they were trying to “steal the election”.

He even tried to force through a law allowing his Likud party activists to film in Arab polling stations – as they covertly did in April’s election – in an unconcealed attempt at voter intimidation.

The move appeared to have backfired, with Palestinian citizens turning out in larger numbers than they did in April.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, intervened on Netanyahu’s behalf by announcing the possibility of a defence pact requiring the US to come to Israel’s aid in the event of a regional confrontation.

None of it helped.

Netanayhu’s only hope of political survival – and possible avoidance of jail time – depends on his working the political magic he is famed for.

That may prove a tall order. To pass the 61-seat threshold, he must persuade Avigdor Lieberman and his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party to support him.

Netanyahu and Lieberman, who is a settler, are normally ideological allies. But these are not normal times. Netanyahu had to restage the election this week after Lieberman, sensing the prime minister’s weakness, refused in April to sit alongside religious parties in a Netanyahu-led government.

Netanyahu might try to lure the fickle Lieberman back with an irresistible offer, such as the two of them rotating the prime ministership.

But Lieberman risks huge public opprobrium if, after putting the country through a deeply unpopular re-run election, he now does what he refused on principle to do five months ago.

Lieberman increased his party’s number of seats to eight by insisting that he is the champion of the secular Israeli public.

Most importantly for Lieberman, he finds himself once again in the role of kingmaker. It is almost certain he will shape the character of the next government. And whoever he anoints as prime minister will be indebted to him.

The deadlock that blocked the formation of a government in April still stands. Israel faces the likelihood of weeks of frantic horse-trading and even the possibility of a third election.

Nonetheless, from the perspective of Palestinians – whether those under occupation or those living in Israel as third-class citizens – the next Israeli government is going to be a hardline right one.

On paper, Gantz is best placed to form a government of what is preposterously labelled the “centre-left”. But given that its backbone will comprise Blue and White, led by a bevy of hawkish generals, and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, it would, in practice, be nearly as right wing as Netanyahu’s.

Gantz even accused Netanyahu of stealing his idea in announcing last week that he would annex large parts of the West Bank.

The difficulty is that such a coalition would depend on the support of the 13 Joint List legislators representing Israel’s large Palestinian minority. That is something Lieberman has rejected out of hand, calling the idea “absurd” early on Wednesday as results were filtering in. Gantz appears only a little more accommodating.

The solution could be a national unity government comprising much of the right: Gantz’s Blue and White teamed up with Likud and Lieberman. Both Gantz and Lieberman indicated that was their preferred choice on Wednesday.

The question then would be whether Netanyahu can worm his way into such a government, or whether Gantz demands his ousting as a price for Likud’s inclusion.

Netanyahu’s hand in such circumstances would not be strong, especially if he is immersed in a protracted legal battle on corruption charges. There are already rumblings of an uprising in Likud to depose him.

One interesting outcome of a unity government is that it could provoke a constitutional crisis by making the Joint List, the third-largest party, the official opposition. That is the same Joint List described by Netanyahu as a “dangerous anti-Zionist” party.

Ayman Odeh would become the first leader of the Palestinian minority to attend regular briefings by the prime minister and security chiefs.

Netanyahu will continue as caretaker prime minister for several more weeks – until a new government is formed. If he stays true to form, there is plenty of mischief he can instigate in the meantime.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Gantz’s Electoral Campaign Is Focused on Gaza’s Vulnerability

Image result for Gantz’s Electoral Campaign Is Focused on Gaza’s Vulnerability
Ramona Wadi
August 14, 2019

Five years after the colonial massacre unleashed by Israel on Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, Israeli politicians are still eyeing the enclave for ultimate destruction. Former IDF Chief and leader of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, is promoting the same violent tactics that formed part of his earlier electoral campaign: invade Gaza and assassinate Hamas leaders if the conditions Israel demands are not accepted.

“We will aim for the toppling of Hamas, take action to assassinate all Hamas leaders and go in with ground forces for however long we want,” Gantz remarked during a press conference in Sderot.

As the IDF Chief of Staff during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Gantz oversaw the scale of bombardment and massacres against Palestinians civilians. The deliberate violence, which also targeted Gaza’s infrastructure, left thousands of Palestinians displaced. Over 2,000 Palestinians were killed and 11,231 injured, according to UN reports.

Netanyahu has so far refrained from another large-scale aggression against Gaza. While his strategic, intermittent bombing has earned him widespread criticism in within Israel’s settler-society, Netanyahu has merely changed tactics but not ideology. Without any overt declarations of targeting Gaza, Netanyahu is normalising the Israeli agenda and deflect criticism from the international community. The latter was put to the test a few months ago last May, when Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza elicited rhetoric from the international community justifying Israel’s purported right to “defend itself” while blaming Hamas.

While attempting to portray himself as different from Netanyahu, Gantz is merely offering another trajectory of implementing Zionist colonial violence. Israeli media is already running reports of a possible coalition government between Likud and the Blue and White party, thus signalling that despite alleged differences, Netanyahu and Gantz are still in accordance over political issues, notably Gaza, settlement expansion and the prevention of any form of a Palestinian state.

Gantz’s party is proposing the elimination of the Hamas leadership and destruction of its “headquarters, warehouses, operatives,” after which it would “fix the humanitarian situation in Gaza.” This plan of action was outlined by Gabi Ashkenazi, under whose direction as IDF Chief of Staff Operation Cast Lead unfolded in 2008.

Such exploitative comments illustrate Gaza’s vulnerability. In recent years, Palestinians in Gaza have suffered increasing deprivation as a result of endeavours by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community to render humanitarian aid conditional. UN officials have even stated their preference for a return to PA rule in Gaza to facilitate their humanitarian operations. Again, depriving Gaza of basic necessities is also blamed upon Hamas.

Gantz’s solution is to eliminate a political leadership and resistance movement in a large scale, drawn out aggression that will affect Palestinians in Gaza who are still suffering the consequences of the previous Israeli bombardments. Humanitarian aid, according to Gantz, is conditional upon Hamas’s elimination. As Gaza is rendered fragile to Israeli threats and their implementation, the manipulation of humanitarian aid for Palestinians, already a plan in action, will be consolidated.

Furthermore, Gantz is proposing is the re-establishment of Israeli presence in the enclave – a notion which is prevalentamong other Israeli candidates, albeit with different interpretations.  The ground invasion, therefore, must not be thought of merely as a military action tied to a specific operation, but as a possible prelude envisaged by the former IDF chiefs to contain Gaza from within – along with the illegal blockade that continues to threaten the wellbeing of Palestinians.

Once again, the Israeli electorate is facing propaganda that pits Netanyahu’s refined and brutal strategy against the violent “deterrence” promoted by Gantz. Yet, talk of a possible coalition only highlights how close both agendas are in terms of destroying Gaza.  Netanyahu has prepared the groundwork in terms of influencing the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s assaults on Gaza. A prospective Israeli government with Netanyahu and Gantz at the helm will build upon what Israel has so far accomplished in generating oblivion when it comes to Palestinians in Gaza.

Netanyahu Rival Speaks of Possible West Bank Withdrawal

Benny Gantz

 February 6, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism.

Benny Gantz, the former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of IsraelI pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, in his first interview since launching his election campaign last week.

The Gaza withdrawal had been “approved by the Israeli government and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way”, he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places,” he said.

Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining the conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.

The 59-year-old launched his campaign on January 29 in a speech promising to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and east Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Although he did not say so in the interview, Gantz could support a withdrawal from wildcat outposts that are not approved by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Gantz’s comments drew criticism from right-wing parties.

“We told you Benny Gantz would form a leftist government with the help of” MPs of the Arab-led Joint List who hold 13 seats in parliament, said a spokesman for Likud.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favors the partial annexation of the West Bank.

“Gantz has thrown off the mask and overtaken Avi Gabbay (of the centre-left Labour party)… and wants to expel Jews from their homes through a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Bennett said.

Since founding his party, Gantz has emerged as the most serious challenger to Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009 as well as between 1996-1999.

Source: AFP

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