Turmoil in Israel, trepidation in Palestine

Marwan Bishara

Soon after the fascists and fanatics took the reins of power in Israel and began transforming the Jewish state into an autocratic state bordering on a theocracy, secular and liberal forces took to the streets. It was a desperate attempt to stop the new government from fast-tracking legislation that curtails the powers of the judiciary and subordinates the country’s Supreme Court to the whims of the ruling coalition’s slim majority in parliament.

They soon were joined by segments of the Israeli military establishment, with former generals condemning the dangerous devolution towards authoritarianism. Likewise, segments of the powerful American Jewish community that long supported Israel as the “Jewish democracy”, warned against its descent into autocracy.Indeed, Israeli headlines read like guidelines for future autocracy, with the justice minister working to strip power away from the judiciary, the communications minister threatening to defund Israel’s public broadcaster to funnel money to a channel favourable to the government, and the minister of heritage accusing organisations representing Reform Jews of endangering Jewish identity.

Fearing a tailspin into turmoil, President Isaac Herzog stepped in, with tacit support from President Joe Biden, to facilitate a compromise between the government and the protesters. But what seems like a well-intentioned effort to build consensus, is, in fact, an ill-advised attempt at appeasing fascists and pandering to evil.

Any compromise offered by Herzog would be skewed towards the ruling majority, which holds the power to interpret its articles at will. A compromise will also whitewash and empower the ruling fascists, presenting them as responsible and pragmatic actors, as they pursue their extremist agenda, and as the street opposition loses momentum and disintegrates, slowly but surely.

As Haaretz put it succinctly under the headline, Herzog, No Plan and No Compromise, “The plans were born in sin to whitewash a government led by a criminal defendant, who is in a conflict of interest in everything regarding changes in the judicial system and certainly regarding such a radical ‘reform’.”But the more sinister and dangerous ramification of such compromise lies in it focusing on Israel’s liberal democracy for the Jews while ignoring its tyranny towards the Palestinians. In fact, reaching any sort of compromise on domestic affairs is sure to free the government’s hand to widen its oppression, deepen its occupation and multiply its illegal settlement.


Because neither the protesters nor the former generals and the current ranking military clamouring to lead them have shown any interest in reversing or curtailing the government’s expansionist and segregationist policies in Palestine. They don’t or won’t recognise the synergy between the expanding appeal of Jewish supremacy and the sprawling apartheid in Palestine they helped create.

That’s hypocritical and dangerous. As some among the earlier generation of security and intelligence chiefs recognised a dozen years ago, Israel has no security solutions in Palestine. And as highlighted by former Intelligence Service chief Ami Ayalon in his biography, Friendly Fire, because of its occupation, Israel’s democracy will devolve into tyranny.Enter Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s Minister of Chaos, who has been convicted of eight charges, including supporting a terrorist organisation and incitement to racism, and who, according to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, presents a more imminent danger to Israel than a nuclear-armed Iran.Today, Ben-Gvir serves as minister of security alongside his genocidal partner in crime, Bezalel Smotrich, the minister of finance. Both have risen to the highest echelons of power thanks to their racist campaigns and incitement against the Palestinians. Their fanatical religious movement has sprung out of the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, based on the apocalyptical messianic belief in the necessity to take full control of all of historic Palestine, or “The Land of Israel” as they call it, in order to redeem the Jewish people by any means necessary.

In other words, Israel’s fanatics have a divinely ordained vested interest in greater turmoil in Israel/Palestine that strengthens and expands their base, especially among the youth. After decades of military occupation, polls and surveys suggest that about 60 percent of Jewish Israelis favour segregation from the Palestinian Israelis, and 60 percent identify as right wing today, a number that rises to 70 percent for those aged 18-24.

That does not bode well for future peace or security.

Last week’s escalation of violence, as hundreds of Jewish settlers torched Palestinian houses and cars in four occupied Palestinian villages in what a senior Israeli military commander described as a “pogrom”, is a mere preview of what’s coming.

Many Israelis justify the pogrom as a legitimate response to the killing of two Jewish settlers in the West Bank, others equate Israel’s occupation and Palestinian resistance, or the occupation’s wholesale violence and isolated Palestinian attacks against soldiers and illegal settlers, who’ve made their life hell.Despite the Palestinian Authority’s coordination with Israel on security and intelligence matters, Israel persists in humiliating Palestinian leaders, undercutting their authority, and undermining their legitimacy as its forces and settlers rampage through Palestinian neighbourhoods and refugee camps.

Make no mistake, the engine of turmoil and violence is Israel’s decades-long military and civilian occupation; an occupation that has rapidly transformed into an entrenched system of apartheid governed by two separate sets of laws, rules, standards and structures, designed to favour the illegal settlers.

To maintain and expand Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, the ruling fascists plan to unleash greater state and settler violence against the Palestinians, and in the process, transform Israel into a fascist garrison state, and worsen regional turmoil.

They must be stopped.

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