Michael Jackson

Netanyahu lusts for war 

Since October 7th, Netanyahu has consistently stated that he will destroy Hamas. It was clear when he first stated it and it is startlingly clear today that this is impossible. See my post back on December 19 for TOI. Israel can degrade, decimate, and damage Hamas. Israel cannot destroy Hamas. Meanwhile, it has also become clear that Israel’s military actions cannot return the hostages. Only negotiations can do this. Meanwhile, there are continuing deaths of the surviving hostages.

Netanyahu’s unrealistic goal of eliminating Hamas foreshadows a forever war. As Thomas Friedman has written, Netanyahu wants to be “winning”; he knows he cannot “win”. He is fighting for the impossible. This hardly suits the hostages who have not been freed and may well die in Israel’s assault on their underground prison. It does not suit the hostages’ families. It does not suit all the Israeli soldiers who will die. Most of all, in terms of numbers, it does not suit the Gazan kids and civilians (currently 18,000 plus and counting daily) who will die in the assault on Rafah. Rafah has over 1.5 million people packed into 55 square kilometers, a population density of over 25,000 per square kilometer. This is about three times the density of Singapore with all its high-rises.

Netanyahu’s legal problems are delayed while he is Prime Minister, especially a Prime Minister of a country at war. Like Trump in the US, leadership is a “get out of jail” card. Perhaps, a “get out of trial” card would be more accurate.

While the war continues, Netanyahu knows that he will be difficult to remove.  Granted, Churchill replaced Chamberlain while Britain was fighting World War 2, but the political and military situations are quite different. The most probable method of removal is some form of rebellion in his own Likud party or desertion by members of his coalition. Likud members of parliament know that their party will be decimated in any coming election. The coalition’s religious partners and the parties of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich have received and currently get far too much out of the coalition to bring him down. Netanyahu’s other risk is that Biden may desert him and refuse to send more ammunition and weaponry. This is very unlikely since Biden became a senator when Israel was a small, little country surrounded by multitudes of hostile Arabs (or so the common Western image then expressed it).  Support for Israel is deeply embedded in Biden’s political psyche. He may criticize and condemn Israel, but he will not take drastic action.

Netanyahu made a devil’s bargain with Smotrich and Ben-Gvir who speak like fascistic racists and would happily kill or expel all Gazans. They both feed and control his lust for war. According to most international experts, Israel’s settlement policies in the West Bank violate the 4th Geneva Convention signed and ratified by Israel. The International Court of Justice’s preliminary finding on possible genocide, like the Geneva Conventions themselves, will have no effect on Israel’s policies and actions, although they might affect the actions of Israel’s diminishing number of allies.

Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians (Biden’s terminology) is fast transforming Israel into a pariah state. This position will be similar to the position of apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 80s. Even the US Congress imposed sanctions on South Africa that President Reagan vetoed, and Congress then overrode.

Netanyahu does not care about Israel’s imminent pariah status, nor about Israeli democracy, nor about the lives of thousands of Gazan civilians, nor about the lives of Israeli soldiers. He cares for his own survival. He does not want to go to prison as was the fate of  President Katsav and Prime Minister Olmert.

Netanyahu will not stop the war. The war will stop when Netanyahu is removed.

About the Author
Born in London in 1949. Studied Maths at Warwick University. Came to Israel (WUJS program at Arad) in 1971. I became a citizen and served in the army in 1973. Returned to the UK in 1974. Worked in Information Systems. Married an American Orthodox woman in 1977 and moved to America. For a few years I have led a retiree philosophy class.
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