02.02.2024 Author: Bakhtiar Urusov

Netanyahu is losing power

Netanyahu is losing power

Recently, international and regional media outlets have been increasingly circulating reports and news articles with condemnatory and even accusatory rhetoric against Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been heading Israel’s interim crisis cabinet since the events of 7 October 2023.

This is not about the traditional Arab attacks on the Israeli prime minister, which have become a “classic” column in all Middle Eastern publications. At the moment, Israel’s allies from the Western bloc of states are recording losses from supporting Netanyahu’s line. For example, the UN training centre URNWA, as well as Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals were damaged by the IDF in Khan Yunis. The centre housed 800 people, and a total of 12 dead and 75 wounded were reported. However, the IDF leadership denied involvement in the incident.

Recall that the training centre is part of a network of humanitarian aid distribution points in Palestine and operates within the framework of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The international programme is funded by honest taxpayers, primarily from EU countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also faces accusations within Israel that he is dragging the country into artificial regional crises by confronting mediators who were providing dialogue between Tel Aviv and Hamas even before the current escalation, not to mention the crisis in negotiations over a prisoner swap deal.

While the far-right Netanyahu government’s relations with Egypt and Qatar have had underlying tensions before, it is in the recent period that these tensions first came to light. It should be noted that their disputes are somewhat reminiscent of Netanyahu’s clashes with the US administration, which is also working with Cairo and Doha to organise mediation talks between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli media have focused on Netanyahu, who they believe has led the country into a regional crisis, noting that the disagreements have reached the point where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has refused to respond to calls from the Israeli prime minister, while Qatar has publicly attacked him in response to statements made by Netanyahu against the emirate. The Middle East press is predicting that a third crisis may arise with Jordan after it was revealed that Israel’s energy ministry is studying the possibility of “not renewing the water agreement with Jordan.”

In this context, analysts’ attention is also drawn to the Republic of South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel in the International Court of Justice, which at the conclusion of hearings upheld almost all of the urgent measures that South Africa had requested with the exception of directly halting the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip. Specifically, the judges ruled that the Israeli government must guarantee that its armed forces will not commit genocide against the people of Gaza, take steps to prevent and punish calls for such action, and ensure that all evidence of the alleged genocide is preserved.

For his part, Netanyahu called the UN court’s ruling a “vile attempt to deny Israel’s fundamental right” to defend its territory and population. According to the prime minister, “the accusations of genocide against Israel are not only false, but outrageous, and decent people around the world should reject them,” The Times of Israel quoted the Israeli leader as saying.

Meanwhile, US media reported that Israeli soldiers have been working since November to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip. The Wall Street Journal quoted soldiers as saying that they were ordered to clear a one kilometre wide area along the border as part of Israel’s plan to create a security buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip. Analysts believe that in this way Tel Aviv expects to regain control of Gaza territory.

At the same time, popular publications do not cease to torment Netanyahu for the colossal losses of the IDF (which are not disclosed), as well as for the involvement of foreign mercenaries from various parts of the world, including those fighting in the Ukrainian conflict zone, in the military operations against Hamas as a replacement for the Israeli military.

It is no secret that the Israeli prime minister has a direct interest in prolonging the conflict, thereby extending his term in office, which for now gives him the right to avoid prosecution and imprisonment. At the same time, Netanyahu’s prospects in the current environment are dim, as few of Israel’s Western allies share the prime minister’s view of the future of the Palestinian people. The latter, according to Netanyahu, should be evicted to the territories of Egypt and Jordan, and a two-state solution to the conflict should be completely removed from the international agenda. This approach runs counter to the position of Westerners, primarily the White House, on the Palestinian issue and is considered unrealistic in Washington.


Bakhtiar URUSOV, political observer, especially for online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

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