Thursday 7 December 2023 - 22:12

With Netanyahu Struggling in Gaza Quagmire, Gaps inside his Cabinet Deepen

Story Code : 1101178
With Netanyahu Struggling in Gaza Quagmire, Gaps inside his Cabinet Deepen
In the third month of war, Arabi 21 news in a report pointed to emerging gap between Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, suggesting that the difference between the two is increasingly rising to the surface. According to the outlet, Gallant skipped the press conference with Netanyahu that followed a meeting to discuss the latest developments of war on Gaza, and both held separate press conferences. The earlier press conferences between Tel Aviv officials showed that coordination is a missing thing between them and this is deepening day by day.

According to Israeli observers, the war cabinet believes that Netanyahu is leading the Gaza war to save his political future, and for this reason, there is a state of distrust among the members of the cabinet. 

Netanyahu on the brink of collapse 

Since its formation in last December, Netanyahu’s cabinet has been unstable as since the first weeks protests began to brew against it and now it is in its decline. 

As Gaza war unfolds, there are many doubts surrounding Netanyahu’s political future post-war, amid rising voices calling for him to step down. These calls gain further momentum as he refuses to take the responsibility for failure to predict and prevent Hamas’s Operation Al-Aqsa Storm of October 7. 

Netanyahu knows very well that the political foundations of his government are shaky and if the conflicts stop, his political rivals will force him out of power. Therefore, he wants to stay in power for some time under the pretext of ensuring the security of the settlers and the continuation of the war with Hamas. Israeli Walla news website recently wrote in this regard that Minister of National Security Itmar Ben-Gvir strongly opposes ceasefire in Gaza because he believes that stopping the war means dissolving the government. 

On the other hand, polls show that Netanyahu’s popularity has been plummeting, especially after the defeat Israel sustained from the Palestinian resistance, and instead the votes of his opponents have increased. A poll published by Channel 13 on Tuesday showed that 64 percent of participants wanted elections to be held after the end of the war, while only 26 percent said the current cabinet should remain in power. The ongoing protests of the prisoners’ families have added to the complexity of the situation and increased the pressure on the government. Therefore, the opposition parties and security authorities no longer want to bet on the wrong horse as they are not optimistic about Netanyahu government holding long. 

Netanyahu is facing backlash not only from the opposition and settlers, but also he finds his position shaky among his fellow party members. Last week, Yediot Aharonot newspaper wrote that in recent days, secret consultations have been held within the ruling Likud party regarding Netanyahu’s political future and his removal, and quoted a Likud official as saying that the PM is afraid of a political coup against him within his party. This perhaps explains why he visited Likud MPs in the Knesset to ensure that they would not work towards a replacement for him. 

Israel Hayom newspaper reported that Netanyahu trial is active despite war and was resumed on Monday, something showing that he is caught in security and political tight spots and has lost the initiative in management of Gaza war and in politics. 

Gaza war, Netanyahu’s Achilles heel

Messing up all the political and security levels in the occupied territories, Gaza war has become Achilles heel on Netanyahu. Now in the occupied territories, there are serious differences among the military commanders and politicians on how to manage the war against the resistance groups in Gaza. Although Netanyahu and other hardliners claim that they will continue this war until the obliteration of Hamas and pay whatever it takes as a cost, former commanders and officials have a different view. The defeat of the army from Hamas, despite having advanced weapons and hundreds of thousands of ground troops, has unleashed a heavy wave of criticism against Netanyahu’s government. 

This war is occurring in totally different conditions Israel has never seen, especially in terms of gaps in community, the severe differences between the military and the government, and considerable drop in citizen trust in the government. The security apparatus has repeatedly warned the prime minister about the consequences of the political divisions and, considering the lack of readiness of the army for any ground battle, they expressed concern about personnel disobedience, but Netanyahu turned a deaf ear to these warnings and waged war to pursue his political goals. As a result, the gaps have began to impact the management of war and its political and economic ramifications. 

Although Netanyahu’s political opponents have previously said that they stand by the government in its confrontation of resistance groups, the inability to defeat Hamas and the growing casualties have heightened the criticism against performance of the army and cabinet. 

Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Tuesday said that someone who fails like this cannot continue, Netanyahu’s name is engraved on this disaster and he has lost the trust of the security apparatus and the people, and he should do the only decent thing possible and step down. 

Recently, the Israeli media outlets reported that more than 2,000 army officers have fled the battlefields and are disobeying the government’s orders. The Haaretz newspaper also confirmed in a report that the army forces do not have the strength to return to the battlefield after the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, and for this reason some commanders are trying to put pressure on the government to continue the ceasefire and ultimately end the conflict. 

The gap between the army and the government will have its effect on the battlefields and with the weakening of the morale of the soldiers, the losses of this regime against the resistance groups will also increase. According to Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, more than 100 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the past three days, which is unprecedented in the history of wars of Israel. 

Many analysts agree that Tel Aviv has lost control of the war and it is Hamas now that manages the battleground equations. The fact that the Israeli occupation army has not yet obtained any information about the whereabouts of Israeli prisoners and the tunnels of Hamas shows the weakness of Tel Aviv which for a long time has been bragging about intelligence power of the Mossad and Shin Bet. 

Israeli officials critical of the government believe that Hamas cannot be destroyed and that its ideology and thoughts have taken root among all Palestinians and that continuing the war to achieve this goal is useless. The Israeli government thought that it could destroy Hamas in a short period of time and get rid of this group forever, and the Israeli opposition leaders agreed to back the war with this vision, but after 62 days, there is still no news of military achievements and hundreds of army soldiers have been killed and thousands of others have been injured, and the government, by its own admission, still does not have a written strategy for the future of Gaza. 

Despite Tel Aviv officials efforts to sell false achievements in Gaza war to theirpeople, the Israelis do not believe them and even regarded the ceasefire as a Hamas success as Netanyahu failed to fulfill his promises of destroying Hamas. The Israeli author and journalist Nahum Narnia in a piece published by Yedioth Ahronoth addresses Netanyahu, saying “wars cannot be won with false promises.” 

With the war growing longer and carrying possibility of expansion and more casualties, political and security crises in the occupied territories grow deeper too, and once Gaza war ends, Netanyahu’s political life will end, too, and with the resumption of the corruption trial, he will pass what remains of his life behind the bars.