Israeli PM Netanyahu Inciting Violence to Evade Ouster

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GPO / Kobi Gideon (file photo)
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GPO / Kobi Gideon (file photo)

Netanyahu’s actions amount to war crimes for which he must be prosecuted by international courts.

By RMN News Service

Israeli Prime Minister (PM) Benjamin Netanyahu – who is facing a deep political crisis – seems to be responsible for escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel. 

As Netanyahu failed to form the government, earlier this month Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin had tasked the head of the opposition Yair Lapid – who leads Yesh Atid political group – to try and prove his majority in the 120-seat Knesset (Israel’s unicameral parliament).

Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party – which had won the most seats in March election – was given 28 days to prove majority and form the government. As Netanyahu failed, he is leaving no stone unturned to create hurdles in the political process to deny an opportunity to Lapid, who is trying to get support from the majority of members.

In order to defer the formation of the government by Lapid, Netanyahu is causing Israel-led bloodshed in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Lapid said on May 16 that  political considerations were behind Israel’s military operation in Gaza, adding that if Israel had a working government, security matters would not interfere with politics.

Meanwhile, Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, outlined the human cost of the deadly escalation between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. According to a UN report of May 16, preliminary figures show nearly 181 Palestinians and nine Israelis have been killed, while health authorities in Gaza report 1,200 people have been injured.

The UN envoy added that the humanitarian and security situation in the densely packed Gaza Strip grows increasingly dire by the day. The UN report adds that the embattled health system is already overwhelmed by chronic shortages of medicine and equipment. 

Additionally, over 34,000 people have been displaced, and more than 40 schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)  are now serving as shelters.

As a result of the military operations, seven factories, 40 schools and at least four hospitals sustained complete or partial damage. The UN reports that at least 18 buildings, including four high-rise towers, including one hosting international media outlets, have been destroyed and over 350 buildings damaged. According to the IDF, these buildings contained Hamas military installations.

PM Netanyahu could have avoided this violence but he allowed it to escalate for he is worried that if he is ousted in the upcoming show of strength in the Knesset, he may go behind bars.

Netanyahu is facing a court trial for serious corruption charges against him. If Netanyahu is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison for bribery and a maximum of three years for fraud and breach of trust. 

Therefore, it appears that in order to delay his trial and formation of a new government by the opposition, Netanyahu has created this security situation by getting civilians killed in the gory conflict. His actions, in fact, amount to war crimes for which he must be prosecuted by international courts.

Although massive protests have been happening against Netanyahu as Israelis are asking him to resign for his failure to contain coronavirus and amid charges of corruption against him, he has refused to step down. Netanyahu is facing bribery and fraud charges in three different cases and was formally indicted in November 2019.

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Rakesh Raman