OPN 191101  Netanyahu and Gantz-1572600995902
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance Image Credit: AFP

Seventy one years since the Nakba, Israel’s repressive policies towards the Palestinians in general (and the 1948 Palestinians in particular), remain the same, regardless of who heads the Israeli governments. It is a policy aimed towards more ‘Israelization’ as long as a strategic objective to expel them from their homeland.

Within this context, we note that three prominent figures in Israel are among those who will be seeking to achieve the ‘Israelisation’ goal. With their ambitions and racist positions, the three men: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz and Avigdor Lieberman have proved they are part of the Zionist strategy.

The first, Netanyahu, who has earned the title of ‘magician’ in many Israeli political literatures, sought in his attempts to win votes in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), to demonise the 1948 Palestinians. His Likud bloc election which he personally led was characterised by systematic racial incitement against them.

According to Haaretz newspaper: “Gantz did not receive the support deserved by the Joint List, but won thanks to the corrupt Netanyahu rule, which characterised the Arabs in Israel as an internal enemy, the fifth column, and dangerous accomplices with terrorism.”

The fact remains that Netanyahu’s incitement backfired and whetted the Palestinians’ appetite for voting. In a simple comparison: “The percentage of Arabs who voted in the elections last April was 49.2 per cent, while in September elections, it rose to 59.1 per cent, including 82.3 per cent voting for the joint list.”

Later, a Haaretz editorial noted, in a remarkable way, that “Netanyahu intentionally continues to match the struggle of the Arab minority in Israel for equality with terrorism, as if it were one thing. This incitement goes uncontrolled … Netanyahu is trying ….to form a purely Jewish government.”

Gantz did not receive the support deserved by the Joint List, but won thanks to the corrupt Netanyahu rule, which characterised the Arabs in Israel as an internal enemy, the fifth column, and dangerous accomplices with terrorism

- Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman

‘Criminal remains a criminal’

On his part, the Israeli political analyst Yossi Verter said: “We have never witnessed a violent, false, racist, and inflammatory election battle like the one Netanyahu personally conducted. In recent days, the man has carried out a crazy, almost sick attack, of lies and jumping at all virtual and material levels....., the criminal remains a criminal, and that seems to be in his blood.”

Next is Gantz, the (former) 20th chief of staff of the Israeli army, and the one who, under Netanyahu, led the 2014 massacre in Gaza Strip, and went about bragging. His Zionist ideology and right-wing positions are no different from those of the Likud.

During his election campaign, he declared that he “wants to establish a national unity government that includes various Jewish parties with the participation of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu”, i.e. a more right-wing government. Gantz himself, refused to declare commitment to meet demands by the Joint List, which he preferred to ignore. On top of these were “demands for improving the conditions of the Arabs, such as fighting crime among them, expanding construction in their cities, and halting the series of racist laws.”

Moreover, Gantz, who some contenders on his list hinted might cooperate with Arab parties, may have surpassed Netanyahu’s incitement by declaring that the Arab parties “are working against the state and do not serve the issues of Arab voters. He initiated his election campaign, boasting of bombing the Gaza Strip and returning it to the Stone Age.”

Gantz is also a supporter of the Nationalist Law, which grants Jews a racist superiority over all other groups and minorities and declares Israel a national home for Jews only.

Another candidate, Avigdor Lieberman, served as Israel’s foreign minister under the 2009 Netanyahu government, and the “defence” minister from 2016 until his resignation in 2018, also under the same government. Lieberman is the leader of the settler/coloniser “Yisrael Beiteinu” party who ran the election campaign by inciting against the 1948 Palestinians using the motto of “no citizenship without loyalty.” He soon warned Gantz against seeking support of the Joint List.

Let’s not forget that Lieberman once suggested that “resolving the Jewish state’s conflict with the Arab minority is more difficult than reconciliation with the Palestinians and the Arab world.” He said that “Tel Aviv cannot reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians that does not address the most complex conflict with the Arab citizens of Israel.”

As it is well known, a major additional key point in his racist positions is the question of redrawing the borders of Israel to remove the Arab population centres located on the Israeli side of the so-called Green Line by annexing them to the would-be Palestinian entity.

The Israeli writer Yitzhak Laor considers the trip as a part within a racist society. He wrote, “Arab citizens constituting 20 per cent, live on two per cent of residential land and one per cent of agricultural land. By Jewish concessions, they are surrounded by ‘settlements’ (colonies), water shares and budgets.

They have only the struggle as an opposition led by the Joint List with all its shortcomings, together with the remnants of the Israeli left. Racism is not a brand of the right, but of the state as well.”

— Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.