This May Be the Beginning of the End for Netanyahu, But Not for Israel’s Assault on Gaza

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This May Be the Beginning of the End for Netanyahu, But Not for Israel’s Assault on Gaza

Last week, internal disagreements within the Israeli government burst into the open, as Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a press conference that he would not agree to establish military rule in Gaza, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed was Gallant making “excuses” for not eliminating Hamas. Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth obtained an Israeli government document that stated military control of the Gaza strip would cost $5.4 billion annually, and the document concluded that “Controlling Gaza means an unprecedented budget crisis.”

Today, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Hamas’s leader Yahya Sinwar along with other Israeli and Hamas leaders. This comes on the heels of opposition leader and widely assumed Netanyahu replacement Benny Gantz saying on Saturday night that if Netanyahu does not come up with a plan to bring back the hostages and end Hamas rule by June 8th, he will leave the government.

Netanyahu dismissed Gantz’s threat, saying in a statement, “The conditions set by Benny Gantz are washed-up words whose meaning is clear: the end of war and defeat for Israel, abandoning most of the hostages, leaving Hamas intact and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

This means that of Israel’s three-man war cabinet, Gantz, Gallant and Netanyahu, two have essentially issued a public vote of no confidence in Israel’s criminal leader. These next two-plus weeks will be interesting to observe, as Netanyahu’s rule has never felt more precarious than it does right now.

Joe Biden blasted the ICC’s decision, but it is interesting that he did not defend Netanyahu by name, simply stating that “The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous. And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence – none – between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

This is yet another low moment in an administration full of them, as Biden slandered the ICC by mischaracterizing their job. He claimed they equated Hamas and Israel, when the ICC is judging them both based off of international law. If both Hamas and Israel have violated international law (and they both very clearly have), then it is absolutely within the ICC’s jurisdiction to sanction both of them. Liberals like Joe Biden have proven time and time again that they do not really believe in the post-WWII order that so many used to justify their opposition to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s just imperialist logic all the way down.

Still, it is instructive that Israel’s leader had an arrest warrant issued for him today, and the President of the United States did not directly defend him. Gantz and Gallant have been in regular contact with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and it is difficult to envision a world where they make those kinds of public rebukes of Netanyahu without the United States giving them the green light or indicating they will back them up. It is clear that Biden is looking for an escape route out of this mess, and throwing Netanyahu under the bus is the easiest way to make it look like he is doing something, even if it’s clear that ending this genocide will take a lot more effort than getting rid of just one politician.

Should Benjamin Netanyahu get pushed out, it would not end the assault on Palestine. After the ICC issued its arrest warrant, Gallant promised to expand the Rafah offensive that has been Biden’s latest red line he’s unwilling to enforce. The disagreement roiling the Israeli war cabinet is about post-war Gaza and Netanyahu’s lack of any plan for it, and the fact that a military occupation of Gaza would surely bankrupt Israel. At least out in the open, there does not seem to be any real disagreement over how Israel is waging this relentless bombing campaign on a civilian population.

There is a litany of polling indicating that a significant majority of Israelis support the immiseration of Palestine. Gantz has even pushed back against the notion of creating a Palestinian state. It’s entirely possible that Netanyahu gets pushed out in the coming months while nothing fundamentally changes in Gaza. Assuming this all begins and ends with him is a basic misreading of this situation.

It’s also important to note that this crisis did not begin with Netanyahu. The occupation existed long before he staged his coup to take over the Israeli government. This has been the open wound placing stress on the entire world for nearly a century, and the American government’s unabashed support for Israel’s illegal occupation was a main source of inspiration for the 9/11 attacks according to Osama bin Laden.

But Netanyahu has certainly made it worse and taken the occupation to its most depraved ends. After overseeing the largest intelligence failure in Israel’s history, he has spearheaded the most barbaric assault on civilians in recent memory. In addition to being one of the most evil humans alive, Netanyahu has proven himself to be wholly incompetent at running the government. His only proven skill is dismantling it to help consolidate his own power.

By any objective measure, Benjamin Netanyahu has made Israel less safe and more isolated, all while making Jews around the world targets for retribution. This entire assault has been waged to save his criminal presidency, and all the antisemites in American power and media running cover for Bibi these last seven months own part of this massive failure of western global leadership.

I would be willing to bet that we see a shift in tone from power’s favored stenographers in the coming weeks as the Overton Window continues to move in a direction that does not need Netanyahu. Between the ICC arrest warrant and the abandonment of his war cabinet with a June 8th ultimatum, Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming more expendable by the day. His policies may be in line with what most members of the Israeli government want, but there is a growing incentive to oust him in order to divert attention away from the horrific reality on the ground in Gaza without Bibi’s baggage dragging Israel down.

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