Monday, 30 October 2023 09:16

Ultra-right wing Israeli government has 'lost it'

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Ultra-right wing Israeli government has 'lost it' AFP/GIL COHEN-MAGEN

OCTOBER 7, could have been just any other day in Israel. After all, the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, also known as the Ramadan War by the Arabs, had just come and gone.

Yet, due to more than 20 months of internal demonstrations of the people of Israel against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the internal unity of Israel had become splintered and frayed.

What makes Netanyahu more unpalatable to the people of Israel was not merely his association with the extremist Jewish National Front, to form a government, but the corruption that Netanyahu is accused to have committed.

Instead of backing down, granted that Netanyahu had indeed served as a prime minister on three previous terms, totalling almost 13 years in all, Bibi as he is known thought it proper to consider the prime minister's office of Israel as his personal right.

Beyond the three counts of corruption with which he had been charged, Netanyahu, in line with his minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Jewish National Front, decided to amend the laws pertaining to the Israeli Supreme Court too.

Israel, not unlike the United Kingdom, is ruled by Common Laws, but does not operate on checks and balances. Therein the elected representatives try to counter check the influence of the judicial and legislative arm.

What happens in Israel clearly cannot stay in Israel: it was not merely the Israeli citizens that rose in uproar against the government of Israel but the whole world of Jewry too.

Even United States President Joe Biden, who seems to be extremely supportive of the current Israel, actually met with Benny Grantz, the opposition leader of Israel thrice in the White House over the last two years.

As for Netanyahu, his own appointment was delayed and kept open until the end of 2023.

The 27 European Union (EU) member states were no less upset by Israel's "most right wing government ever".

Leader after leader did not see the importance of working with Netanyahu. Under the likes of the Likud Party, of which Netanyahu is the head, the number of Jewish settlers had topped more than 750,000 people. This is against international laws as no country is allowed to seize the land of any country.

The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu has been trying to subvert the legal system of Israel; as if the lawfare and the hundreds of rules and regulations that were put in place over the last 75 years were not enough to render the Palestinians as one of the most persecuted groups in the world.

The Israeli prime minister and the Jewish Ultra Front were both complicit in creating an Israeli Supreme Court where lawyers and judges would be decided by the executive arm of the Israeli government.

While Israel likes to see itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, the depth to which the Likud Party and the extremist Jewish National Front, established by the ultra radical preacher the late Meir Kahane, amply showed that Israel was very adept at many diabolical schemes.

Whether it is the flagrant use of its military power or its sharp powers to intervene in the affairs of another country, Israel has done it. Unit 8200, for example, allows young teenagers to work under the purview of the Israeli government.

These kids would be given 3 hours or less to hack into the political system of any country to test their hacking abilities.

Obviously, this has helped a whole generation of Israelis believe in their own invincibility. Many members of Unit 8200 did become multi millionaires and billionaires and help the perception along.

This mentality of self entitlement has contaminated its thinking before or after the events of Oct 7.

Instead of investigating the breaches in Israel's security, Netanyahu's first reaction was to impose a complete blockade of Gaza to prevent food, fuel and water from reaching the besieged area completely.

To make matters worse, Israel began bombing Gaza in more than 700 areas or targets within a day of Oct 7.

Collective punishment is a war crime, but Netanyahu and the Jewish National Front did not pay heed to a severe global recrimination.

When United Nations secretary general Antonio Guiterres said in a speech that what ever that had happened in and to Israel did not occur "in a vacuum", Israel's UN Representative Danny Ayalon, immediately asked for the resignation of the UN chief.

Netanyahu's administration has basically compromised the security of the people in Israel.

The latest polls show that up to 56 per cent of Israelis want Netanyahu to be removed from office, perhaps charged for corruption and any dereliction of duties too, the moment the military operation against Gaza is stopped.

Even when the UN Security Council, as presided by Brazil, sought to have a "humanitarian pause" for a few days to allow more aid to reach hospitals and critical infrastructure in Gaza, Israel enlisted the help of the United States to veto it on Oct 22.

By so doing, the soft power of the US as a country that believes in the importance of human rights is now in tatters.

Even the option of negotiations to release hostages is taken away from those member states in the UN that are pro peace and anti violence.

The only conclusion that one can reach about Israel and its far right movement is that it is gone completely unhinged. This psychological, invariably, pathological behaviour is now being understood by some of members of the UN Security Council, not least the UK, France, China, Russia, indeed, Japan and Malta too.

As this is written, the number of bombs with which it has used on the 2.2 million residents of Gaza, half of whom are under the age of 14, have exceeded the munitions dropped on Afghanistan in the first year of the war on terror by Oct 7, 2002.

Indeed, even President George W. Bush, took three weeks to go over all sources of intelligence and information before starting his military campaign against Al-Qaeda.

Israel sees the events of Oct 7 as its own 9/11. But within a week after Oct 7, it had massed 187,000 troops in a menacing manner against the population of Gaza, now awaiting an order to invade.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the daily murder of Palestinians by Israeli settlers — averaging at 3 to 1 a day — had gone up by 300 per cent and still on the uptick.

Yet, Israel has done nothing to stop all these heinous practices — only to insist that it has every right to self defence, when this right, as enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter, does not allow war crimes.

Israel is dragging the whole world into total ignominy. Indeed, Israel has violated every clause of the UN Charter.

The writer is chief executive officer of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.

Published in: The New Straits Times (online), Saturday 28 October 2023