Sat 15 Jun 2024 7:16 pm - Jerusalem Time

Israeli journalist: This is how the war on Gaza caused a rift in the political scene

In Israel now, the left is not viable, and there is no party or coalition of real size that can be called center-left, and what there is is a coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, extending from the right to the far right, and a coalition led by Benny Gantz, extending from the center to the right, Which means that identifying the differences between Gantz and Netanyahu represents a major challenge.

With these clarifications, journalist Ezra Klein began an episode of the podcast (The Ezra Klein Show) - on the New York Times - in which he discussed with Israeli journalist Amit Segal the exit of Benny Gantz from the war government, and whether there is a new security theory emerging in Israeli politics.

Ezra Klein said that he was content to deepen his reporting on the Israeli right, in a lengthy conversation with Amit Segal, who many consider to be the political analyst with extreme right-wing roots, and the most influential on the right, and who has a book published in English entitled “The Story of Israeli Politics.”

The conversation began with the resignation of Benny Gantz, and Segal said in his readings of Israeli politics at this moment, that the coalition that leads Israel was formed a year and a half ago without Benny Gantz, and it can survive without him, and perhaps Gantz’s exit will strengthen the coalition, because he came from abroad with contradictory ideas about how to manage it. Conflict and war.

Bad message

Segal explained that the dismantling of this unity government sends a very bad message to Israel’s enemies and its allies alike, based on his deep belief that when Israelis unite, it is easier for them to defeat their enemies, indicating that the dispute between Netanyahu and Gantz is not what people imagine, regarding the establishment of the state. Palestinian or financial cohesion, because they do not differ on the essence, which is supporting Israeli institutions.

The right-wing journalist concluded that the Israeli left disappeared after the events of October 7, because the Israelis saw that the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza in 2005 did not lead to a new balance in which everyone could live happily and freely, but rather to more tense times. .

People in Israel are very upset because they have tried everything - says Segal - and this means that we will likely see more soldiers fighting in the north and south in the coming years, and there will be a number of deaths. It will not be a permanent war, but perhaps a permanent state of continuous operations. .

Segal claimed that Gaza was not besieged, citing that the city was beautiful and lacked nothing, but Ezra Klein rejected that idea, and described what had happened in Gaza since 2005 as an organized and very difficult containment policy, and he ended that point of the dialogue by stating lists of what was allowed to enter. To Gaza and what is rejected published on the Internet.

All Palestinians are the same

Returning to security theories, Segal said the issue had been politicized in Israel. “To be honest, I don’t think a different government would act differently under these circumstances,” Segal said. “Gantz and Netanyahu voted exactly the same way in 91 consecutive meetings of the war cabinet.” Which means that there is a consensus in Israel on administration, not ideology.”

When asked about cutting off tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority, Segal claimed that 7% of the Authority’s budget goes into the pockets of those he described as killers of Israelis. He said that the attempt to create a distinction between Hamas and Fatah ignores the dark basic facts that put them in a different position.

Segal explained that the reason why Fatah does not act against Israel or cooperate against Hamas is that they fear that, the moment Israel withdraws, Hamas will throw them from the roofs of Ramallah and Hebron, indicating that the time may come when they want to live with us, but he did not comes after.

Segal stated that Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon are three completely different cases, but there is one principle that most Israelis accept - according to his opinion - which is that the only guarantee for the lives of Israelis is to have an Israeli soldier everywhere, and that is from the perspective of security and not from the perspective of mutual cooperation.

The Hezbollah problem

When asked if the Israelis were more concerned about what Hezbollah represented, Segal said that this was a real problem, because Israel could cut off Hamas’ lifeline from Egypt, it could destroy every tunnel it saw, and it could kill the largest possible number of “terrorists” - according to his perception - but This is not the case with Lebanon, as it can never cut off the lifeline of Hezbollah, because Lebanon is linked to Syria and then to Iran, and therefore you cannot eliminate Hezbollah, especially since Lebanon is not like Gaza and the West Bank.

The far-right journalist acknowledged that Hezbollah, from a tactical point of view, wants to sympathize with Gaza, but the tragic lesson that emerged from the past decade is that periods of peace do not mean a peaceful future, and they spend them preparing for the final mission, which is to destroy Israel, indicating that there is an arena in Tehran has a clock counting down to the year 2040, when Israel will be eliminated.

When asked: How do you see the kind of tension between Israel’s international legitimacy and the support alliances it needs to confront this threat and the way this resource is now being depleted in Gaza and the West Bank? “I think the world values strong countries, and October 7 was a terrible display of weakness,” Segal said, “so Israel has to wrap up the Gaza issue, and then take a year off to build a new army with new personalities, and perhaps to go to elections, and build a coalition that reflects Consensus on the real threats to Israel.

Building this strong army will help Israel build cooperation - according to Segal - both with the United States with the possibility of the return of Donald Trump and with moderate Islamic countries, and the elections may stop the earthquake that is occurring in Israel these days.

The Israelis were confused

In Israel, there are two types of feelings, where “two tectonic plates” are colliding. The first is that Israel is moving from left to right, so that people no longer believe in the two-state solution and unilateral withdrawal. The second is that the Israelis, who are moving from right to left, and have voted for Netanyahu and his allies, They no longer want to see them because of failure.

These people are angry with Netanyahu because he failed to be as strict as they wanted, so they want change, and Netanyahu gives them the right but does not give them change, while Gantz gives them change, but does not give them the right because he is from the center movement or the center left.

So Israel is still waiting for a new party to come. Something between Netanyahu and Gantz that reflects these two values will gain significant ground politically, perhaps becoming the largest party in Israel.

But at the same time, when the Israelis are forced to choose between Netanyahu and international pressure, they choose Netanyahu, as US President Joe Biden wants to stop the war while Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar continues in Gaza, and most Israelis do not want that. Biden still believes in the two-state solution, and 70% of Israelis oppose it.

Segal pointed out that the essence of the matter lies in the sentence that Yair Lapid, the head of the opposition, usually says to Netanyahu, “Stop fighting with the Americans in public, do it behind closed doors.” But Netanyahu believes that dealing with a hostile American administration is a public appearance because the American public will always More supportive of Israel than the Democratic American administration.

Source: New York Times+Al Jazeera


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Israeli journalist: This is how the war on Gaza caused a rift in the political scene