Imagine if someone destroyed your house while simultaneously trying to court your vote. That’s exactly what defense minister Bibi Netanyahu is doing right now. The crazy part is that despite this insane approach, they will still vote for him and he will win.
On December 26, Prime minister Bibi Netanyahu called a meeting with major ‘settler leaders’ to discuss the upcoming elections at his Jerusalem office. During the meeting, the prime minister told them “In the upcoming election campaign, we will see an attempt by the left to oust us from power”. “It’s a battle over our homes,” he continued. “The fate of the state and the settlement enterprise are not to be taken for granted… Because later on, under a leftist government, everything will be reversed immediately.”
Aside from the usual scare tactics, that meeting makes it obvious that Bibi is targeting the settlers in his current reelection campaign. And although the Likud base is largely comprised of traditional Israelis in the ‘periphery’, his constituency also extends to Judea and Samaria as well. So you’d think that at the very least during election season he would hold off on violating some of the most basic human rights of the very settlers he’s trying to court right?…Wrong.
On December 29, three Israeli minors studying in a yeshiva in the Samaria region were arrested by the Shin Bet (GSS). They are currently being held without formal charges and without the right to see an attorney. This type of arrest opens old wounds in the settler community. That’s because in 2015, several hilltop youth were arrested in connection with the infamous Duma arson attack and their detention was carried out in similar fashion. They were also minors who were unprecedentedly denied the right to see an attorney for a crime they were accused of committing. As it turns out, those same minors were tortured by the Shabak despite the fact that the Shabak initially denied allegations of torture. The trauma of those tortures is still seared into the psyche of every settler who has a teenage son. As defense minister, Netanyahu is the responsible party.
On January 3rd 2019, the police were sent to Amona to violently dismantle the newly revived village following its notorious 2016 destruction (under prime minister Netanyahu). The brutal evacuation also brought back bad memories of the 2016 destruction in the same village. Ironically, the illegal Arab village of Khan Al Achmar, located just a few hill tops away, is still standing despite an expired Supreme court order for its demolition.
None of these decisions seem logical for a politician trying to win over the settler vote. After all, can you imagine if during his 2020 campaign, Donald Trump sent the military to tear down random houses in the flyover states only?
Strangely enough, that is precisely what Bibi is doing. He is continuing to treat the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria like second class citizens. But here’s the saddest part – not only will he get away with it, those same settlers will re-elect him. That’s because they are so deathly afraid of the alternative. Many Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria will reward Bibi and Bennett for their crimes of aggression against their own children by voting for them again in April. All Bibi has to do is to continue convincing them that the left will be worse even if the evidence says otherwise. And as long as his base continues to believe it, King Bibi will once again reign supreme in April.