All Eyes on Bibi Netanyahu

Image credits: An artist's impression of Bibi Netanyahu catapulting all prospects for peace. Cartoon by Joon W.

To no surprise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and his extreme-right allies ignored an alleged US-backed plan to end the war on Gaza. While his cabinet is slowly crumbling apart, Bibi seems obsessed with winning the war. Throwing in the towel now probably means jail time, either for corruption charges at home or war crimes in The Hague. It is ‘Bibi against the world’, preceding his political survival over the best interests of his country.

By 
Arthur Blok
“Now, after intensive diplomacy carried out by my team and my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal. It’s a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages.”

These anointing words of American President Joe Biden made most headlines on the last day of May. Bibi and his extremist friends in the war cabinet must have had a good laugh when he stumbled through his speech. In the days after, it soon became clear that there had never been a breakthrough or a comprehensive new proposal.

While the conflict put the world on fire, Biden merely gave lip service to critics at his party and his European allies. Surely, someone told him to do so because he needed help getting off the stage after his speech. His advanced age and the difficulties he has overcoming anything aren’t the only things putting the world at risk.

Benny Gantz
Bibi is using the Biden administrations' incompetence to play any role of significance in the world to his advantage. Despite this, his unity war-cabinet is slowly crumbling apart after Benny Gantz, a centrist member, stepped down last weekend.

Gantz cited the prime minister's mismanagement of the war, stating that his ‘political survival before anything else’ was the main reason. Gantz emphasised that the lack of a plan for post-war Gaza was a thorn in his eye. If a seasoned figure like Gantz gets conscientious objection, what does that say about the ongoing military operation?

What started with Jewish and Palestinian communities around the world taking to the streets after the brutal Hamas attacks on October 7 has now escalated into mayhem and disorder. Police worldwide increase their presence around schools, synagogues, mosques, and universities. Chaos is the common denominator.

People who have nothing to do with the conflict nor understand the roots are taking to the streets. Some of them are true caricatures of reality. Queers for Palestine, or LGBTQ supporting Hamas, are like cows taking it to the streets for Burger King or chickens supporting KFC.

As hilarious those protests may be, it does not mean they are not right. Enough blood has been shed; every self-respecting human should have drawn that conclusion long ago as if it were only from a humane perspective. It is devastating.

The catastrophe Gaza is happening under Biden’s watch with his unconditional financial aid. Biden, who has long been unable to see the world as it is, has made no effort since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 to arrange a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He somehow convinced his mediocre European leaders to do the same.

The same modus operandi is being applied in Israel’s wrath on the Palestinians.

If the Israeli war on Gaza has made something clear to the world, it is that Israel is above the law. Just like their big brother America. This can be said about almost everything Israel does.

Every nuclear power must abide by the rules and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but Israel does not. Every country can be held accountable if it breaches the Geneva Conventions; Israel does not. Every country in the world may be criticised for its actions, but Israel does not. The Jewish nation seems to be unable to absorb the slightest bit of criticism.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, but it is a reality. A harsh and painful truth, for that matter. Why is it so hard for the international community to make a fist and say, ‘The rules that apply to us apply to you as well’? No more status aparte.  

At the day of this publication almost 36,000 Palestinians have been killed, far over 80,000 have been injured since October 7 (including 100 Palestinian journalists, 2 Israeli and 3 Lebanese) and over 224 humanitarian aid workers, including 179 employees of UNRWA. The death toll in Israel from Hamas's attacks stands at 1,478, with many still held captive in Gaza. Not one hospital in Gaza can provide proper care and civilians are dying every day by the dozen.

Is anyone still counting?

Mahatma Gandhi once said: 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.’ After eight months of death and destruction, who can still see? How can the world not unanimously scream at the top of its lungs against what is happening and drag them all to the negotiation table? If one looks at human history, has the path of war ever led to any sustainable solution?

The International Criminal Court
In late May, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sought arrest warrants for leaders of both Israel and Hamas, which was quickly followed by an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel must halt any military offensive in Rafah that could harm civilians. Needless to say, the latter never happened.

The ICC arrest warrants sought against Bibi and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on charges of crimes against humanity are still pending approval by the court’s judges and are unlikely to end in their arrests. Israel is also facing a separate case on alleged genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which South Africa brought.

Again, beautiful words by corrupted international institutions that only illustrate that neither development would immediately stop the death and destruction. On both sides of course. The decline of international institutions is striking, and the unwillingness and incompetence of the Arab World to play a significant role is painful. To say the least.

All eyes on Bibi
One thing did become evident in the past 15 years. Netanyahu's long spell in office has ruined any prospect of peace with the Palestinians and a sustainable solution. Sooner or later, his political career will end, leaving behind a whole generation of Israelis disillusioned and robbed of dreams for a better future.

The incompetent Biden administration is grist to the mill of Bibi. As a veteran Israeli politician, he knows how the game is played and that (international) law applies to everyone but him and his extremist allies.

His mantra says it all:’ Israel has the right to defend itself against the monsters of Hamas’ at all costs. Using his rhetoric, the monsters became the prey, and everybody and everything around them is seen as inevitable.  The propaganda machine takes care of that.

With his extremist views and ad hoc coalitions, Bibi corrupted Israel’s identity, which is, at least still on paper, a liberal democracy that embraces coexistence. The only way to get out of this mess is to reach diplomatic solutions to bring peace to the Middle East. To that end, the Palestinians and Israelis need the support of the US, the entire Arab World and the international community.

In the meantime, all eyes are on Bibi. It is evident by now that he lacks a clear strategy for ending this war, which is resulting in escalating violence, death, destruction and further alienation from the global community. Besides buying some more time for his own political survival, Bibi brings Israel and the region nowhere but the abyss.

 

Arthur Blok

Veteran journalist, author, moderator and entrepreneur. The man with the unapologetic opinion who is always ready to help you understand and simplify the most complex (global) matters. Just ask.
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