Mon, Jul

Netanyahu Is Unfit To Serve; He Must Resign Now


ISRAELI POLITICS - Netanyahu is writing and directing Israel’s darkest chapter.  Each day he remains in power, he is preventing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dangerously eroding its moral standing while making the country a pariah state that lives by the sword

Since Hamas’ savagery of 1,200 innocent Israelis on October 7, one thing became abundantly clear. Netanyahu, and no one else, indirectly precipitated Hamas’ attack that led to the unfolding horror in Gaza, which could have been avoided. His preoccupation with his travails, his dereliction of duty, his voracious thirst to cling to power to save his skin, and his dismal failure to articulate an endgame to the war against Hamas have all come back to haunt him. The widespread demonstrations in Israel demanding his resignation amid the war establish the extent of public disgust with his leadership. He must now resign not only because of his negligence of duty and tragic misreading of Hamas’ intentions before the war, but for the dreadful damage he may inflict on the country if he continues to govern.

The facts on the ground, his actions, how he conducts the war, and his public statements affirm ten reasons why Netanyahu must resign now.

1- Hamas’ October 7 attack took place under his watch. As Prime Minister, he not only refused to take any responsibility but tried to blame others for his disastrous failure. He dismissed reports that Hamas was planning a massive attack on Israel, claiming that Hamas is simply incapable of carrying an attack of such magnitude. For one who claims to be “Mr. Security,” Netanyahu, as the prime minister, must be held accountable. The attack and his response demonstrated his self-conceit and cowardice to take responsibility. Any other prime minister with an ounce of integrity would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

2- While he was busy trying to ‘reform the judiciary,” which would have destroyed Israel's democracy, he paid no heed to Hamas’ planning and training for the attack for more than a year. For sixteen years under his watch, Hamas was building a massive network of tunnels, nearly 400 miles long, approximately two-thirds the length of the entire New York City subway. If he knew about this colossal infrastructure and did nothing about it, he should have resigned. If he was unaware of Hamas’s incredible design to put up such resistance to fight from underground, which he should have been as the prime minister, he should have resigned. Any leader in his position with a morsel of accountability would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

3- For years, Netanyahu allowed billions of dollars from Qatar to flow into Hamas’ coffers. In 2019 and subsequent years, he repeatedly stated that “whoever is against a Palestinian state should be for [Qatar’s funding of Hamas],” knowing full well that Hamas was using more than 50 percent of the funds to build tunnels, procure and manufacture weapons, and train tens of thousands of its fighters for the next war. Still, until October, he continued the practice of greasing Hamas's war machine, which Israeli civilians paid for at a horrific price. Anyone in Netanyahu’s place would have resigned for empowering Hamas to undertake such an unprecedented attack, but not Netanyahu.

4- The Israel-Hamas war continues to rage, and more than six months later, Netanyahu still has no exit strategy and no clear path how to achieve his elusive goal of eradicating Hamas. He knows that once the war ends, his political career will also come to an end. Thus, he has every incentive to prolong the war, hoping that a decisive victory against Hamas will exonerate him. Meanwhile, hundreds of Israeli soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians are dying because of his abysmal mishandling of the war. The blood of Israelis and Palestinians who are dying in vain is on his hands.  Any responsible head of state would have resigned for his deadly mismanagement of the war, but not Netanyahu.

5- Netanyahu maintained all along that Hamas was under control, describing it as a ragtag organization with firecrackers. Hamas’ attack and its fighting abilities and skills have starkly demonstrated how these extremist Palestinians have evolved and become an arduous fighting force that even the mighty Israeli military cannot defeat at will. This has been the second-longest war in Israel's history, and no one but Netanyahu is to blame for his catastrophic miscalculations of Hamas’ prowess and resistance. Any prime minister with minimal self-respect who made such a momentous mistake would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

6- Since he returned to power in 2008, Netanyahu has maintained a strict blockade over Gaza. It is hard to describe the despair and hopelessness that has swept the population of nearly 2.1 million living in what amounts to a concentration camp. More than 70 percent of the population is under the age of 25, existing without hope, deprived of ever realizing their dreams. Netanyahu used Hamas’ threats against Israel as an excuse to justify his brutal blockade, knowing that he was sowing poisonous seeds infecting every Palestinian youth who grew up aspiring for nothing but revenge against Israel. Netanyahu had created a tinderbox in Gaza that was bound to explode, and it did. Any conscientious prime minister would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

7- Although Israel has every right to defend itself, and the war against Hamas can be justified on moral and national security grounds with the goal of not allowing Hamas to reconstitute itself, there was simply no justification for the massive bombardments, which were in part indiscriminate and laced with a crude desire for revenge. How can one explain the death of nearly 33,000 Palestinians, 70 percent of whom were women and children? Has Netanyahu ever thought of the Palestinian people as human beings with hopes and dreams, just like any Israeli? Has it ever occurred to him that for every Palestinian child who was killed in this war, four or five are born to avenge their death? The cycle of retribution will continue to grind, courtesy of Netanyahu, who has lost his way. The trail of death and devastation has wholly overshadowed the butchering of 1,200 Israelis. Netanyahu has rendered Israel morally bankrupt—a stigma that stained Jewish values while diminishing the world’s sympathy and admiration for the Jewish state and giving rise to antisemitism. Any prime minister with even a touch of compassion and concern would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

8- Throughout his sixteen-year tenure as Prime Minister, Netanyahu was proud of violating the Palestinians’ human rights and prouder to squash their aspiration for statehood. In January 2024, he stated, “I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area in the west of Jordan – and this is contrary to a Palestinian state.” He deliberately and consistently misled the Israelis to believe that the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza were central to their security. Nothing but the occupation was more ominous to the security of the state. The never-ending violence in the West Bank, which is entwined with the Palestinians in Gaza's despairing discontent and vice versa, attests to his dismal failure. Today’s Israeli-Palestinian relations, under Netanyahu’s watch, has reached its nadir, worse than it has ever been since 1948. Any prime minister imbued in the history and the inescapable reality of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

9- No Israeli prime minister has so successfully polarized the public more than Netanyahu by forming the most extremist government in Israel’s history. The Gaza war has further deepened the division between hard-core right-wing Israelis who want to reoccupy Gaza and push the Palestinians to the sea, and those Israelis who want to see an end to the occupation and the blockade and seek peace. But the polarization, hatred, and malice among the Israeli public are of no concern to Netanyahu, who is solely focused on his political survival and to hell with the country. Adding to that is the rupture that he created between Israel and the world’s Jewry, who are becoming ever more alienated from the country that they cherished and loved. They were proud of its miraculous achievements, only to see it marred in endless violent conflict. This alone would have compelled any prime minister to resign, but not Netanyahu.

10- No prime minister in Israel’s history has alienated the US—the country’s closest and irreplaceable ally—than Netanyahu. US military support, political cover, and financial aid to Israel since its inception have surpassed any other country. Successive American administrations have stood by Israel through thick and thin and never wavered in their commitment to its national security. And while Israel at present needs the US more than ever before, Netanyahu has once again shown how shameless he is. Whereas he went down on his knees begging for more bombs and explosives and political cover, he defied the Biden administration at every turn.

Indeed, no Israeli prime minister has shown more chutzpah (shameless audacity) than Netanyahu. Last March, he stated that “Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.” Netanyahu's constant rebuffing of President Biden regarding the desperate need for food and medicine for the starving and sick Palestinians in Gaza illustrates how dispassionate and cruel, and how ungrateful and foolish he is. For that alone, anyone else in his stead would have resigned, but not Netanyahu.

Israel’s founders must now be turning in their graves as Netanyahu is now writing and directing Israel’s darkest chapter. Under his watch, today's Israel is facing a fateful crossroad: how the Gaza war ends and what follows will determine Israel’s future. The country will become either what was destined to be a “light onto other nations” or an apartheid state, a pariah, and an occupying power that lives by the sword.

The Israeli public must continue to pour into the streets by the hundreds of thousands, demanding new elections within a few weeks.  They must spare no legitimate means, including civil disobedience and continuing labor strikes, to force Netanyahu out of power and save the country.

Each day Netanyahu remains in power, he poses a greater danger to Israel than its worst enemy.

(Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a retired professor of international relations, most recently at the Center for
Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.). [email protected]     Web: www.alonben-meir.com