Nightmares Await Netanyahu

Hebrew media source show skirmishes between the relatives of those held captives in Gaza and security guards outside the home of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The intensity of these altercations is revealing.

But the last protest is only one of many that has been held in the city which has experienced constant barrages of Hamas rockets over the past three months with sirens going off at all hours of the day.

Thousands of protesters in Tel Aviv have continued to call for the resignation of Netanyahu. This time they want the whole government to resign and for elections to be held as soon as possible because they are angry with the way the government has been handling the war in Gaza.

The protest movement is widening while more and more Israelis want Netanyahu to stop the war and get out of Gaza. More voices say there is no sense in again controlling millions of Palestinians as Israel left Gaza in 2005 and now there is much talk about its reoccupation and military buffer zones.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu, who is refusing to stop the war on Gaza, apparently with the encouragement of the United States which opposes a ceasefire in the hope it will end Hamas rule in the Strip, is having his own problems with members of the Israeli War Cabinet like Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

According to the Israeli Walla website Gallant attempted to storm Netanyahu’s office following a war cabinet meeting. The situation become so bad it nearly turned into a fist-fight! Netanyahu threatened that if it didn’t stop, he would call the Israeli army to control the situation. This dramatic situation shows the paranoia that is being experienced by the Israeli cabinet.

The underlaying feud between the two men started soon after 7 October and the war on Gaza when Netanyahu consistently refused to let Gallant meet Mossad Director David Barnea to assess the intelligence situation in Gaza.

Netanyahu denied this but privately he continues to ban meetings between the two men with reports later suggesting they could meet only in his presence which infuriated Gallant who thought that was stepping on his ministerial role and portfolio.

However, the problems between the two men continue to surface with many saying its more of personal rather than substantive issues that are at hand for both believe the war on Gaza will last for the immediate future but there is the additional issue of who controls the army and the tactical war measures in Gaza. In other words, the problem is about strategy and policy and daily conduct of the war on Gaza.

And then there is the problem of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Many are angry, including in the war cabinet that ministers and officials are so bogged down with the war that they are forgetting and/or underplaying the Israeli captives who hardly figure in the daily discussions of the war cabinet and many fear some of them could be dead by now.

As well, Netanyahu believes the longer the war lasts, the more likely he would stay out of prison since he is already facing mass corruption charges for his years in power; and hence the only way to avoid the start of the court hearing is to continue the war on Gaza regardless of the terrible costs for the Palestinians and Israelis who are also being whacked by the war.

However, this is something that is making the relatives of the hostages – dubbed at 130-or so – more furious and frustrated. They say the prime minister is playing with the lives of their loved ones and they are more likely to be killed through Israeli carpet-bombing of the strip rather than by Hamas who are holding them.

That’s why Netanyahu recently reached a deal through Qatar to send the hostages medicines through Barnea and the agreement of Hamas in the hope it would placate the relatives of the hostages and provide him with extra time to continue with the war on Gaza.

Marwan Asmar, who has a Phd from the UK’s Leeds University, has long worked in journalism in Jordan and the Gulf countries.

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