Sunday, May 16, 2021

In The Nick Of Time

Neri Zelber in Foreign Policy writes "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been waging two wars recently—a shooting one in the Gaza Strip and a political battle at home against opponents from across the spectrum.."

But of course Netanyahu has been waging an additional war, the latter a smaller, local one his right-wing policies and pronouncements have instigated. Earlier this month six Arabic families were evicted from the East Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrrah in favor of six Jewish families. Hundreds of East Jerusalem residents gathered nightly in the neighborhood and numerous clashes with police followed. (The dispute is pending in the Israeli Supreme Court.) Hamas took the opportunity to fire missiles into Israel, whose military has responded disproportionately.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under indictment (video below from 11/19) for breach of trust, accepting bribes, and fraud. (Some democracies believe even a head of state is subject to the rule of law. Then there is the USA.)


 The timing may not be coincidential:

Zelber explains

Naftali Bennett, a right-wing lawmaker and a key figure in the negotiations between the opposition factions, told party members in a closed-door meeting Thursday that the option was “off the table,” according to Israel’s Channel 12. The report, later widely confirmed, said he doubted such a government could deploy the necessary force to quell the clashes between Arab and Jewish citizens that have flared since fighting in Gaza began this week.

The anti-Netanyahu coalition would have spanned the political gamut from left to right—with Bennett serving as prime minister—and included an Islamist party representing Arab Israelis. The motley group was united mainly by the goal of toppling Netanyahu, who has led Israel for 12 straight years and is standing trial on multiple corruption charges.

The report indicated that Bennett, head of the pro-settler Yamina party, was resuming negotiations with Netanyahu’s Likud party.

So the war may be saving Netanyahu's political skin while he invokes a tactic- diversion- of one of his close political allies, President Donald J. Trump.  The status of Jerusalem is far more important than conflict with one terrorist group, while the latter dominates the airwaves. Moreover, it may be no coincidence that shortly before the Hamas-Israel hostilities broke out in violence, the issue dominating news in the USA involved- you guessed it- the government in Russia:


What will be the response, Kasparov asks. We may have seen the response, nearly 6,000 miles from Washington, D.C., and not from a President but from a Prime Minister.


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