Netanyahu Bolstered Hamas While Rejecting Abbas

Hamas’ racism and messianism must be fought. An iron wall must be erected against them, and against all racism. But that can’t be done by a regime that is itself tainted with racism and messianism.

Sefi Rachlevsky
Sefi Rachlevsky
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A right-wing demonstration in central Jerusalem. July 1, 2014.
A right-wing demonstration in central Jerusalem. July 1, 2014.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Sefi Rachlevsky
Sefi Rachlevsky

The Golani Brigade commander Ghassan Alian, who was wounded in the fighting in the Gaza Strip, is Druze. Just before the incursion into the Gaza Strip, he told his men: “The entire nation of Israel stands behind us.” Next to him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Jewish state” program looks like the destruction of Israeli identity. Next to Alian, the order of the Givati Brigade commander to fight “the enemy who defames the God of the Jews” looks like the destruction of the Israel Defense Forces and its transformation into the Judea Strike Force. It would behoove Netanyahu and the Givati commander, once they are ousted, to visit the Golani commander in the hospital to apologize to him.

The alliance between Netanyahu and the Israel supremacists is deep and influential. In the course of the warfare, an editor in chief was appointed to the second newspaper that Sheldon Adelson has acquired for Netanyahu’s benefit, a convicted Jewish terrorist who served time for his part in a Jewish terror organization orchestrated by Rabbi Dov Lior.

The organization focused on murdering innocent Palestinians, with the aim of provoking a chain reaction from militant Palestinians that would cripple the reconciliation process which could lead to Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.

The racism, messianism and murderousness of Hamas must be fought. An iron wall must be erected against them. But an iron wall should be erected against all racism. The problem is that the last one that can do that is a regime that is itself tainted with racism and messianism.

Most Palestinians are neither Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, nor Hamas. Most Palestinians are asking for results. In that test, the consequences of Netanyahu’s choice were even worse than the failures of the Yom Kippur War. Before that war, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s peace proposal — similar to the one that was agreed after the war, with its thousands of victims — was scornfully rejected. The opportunity that has been created now is even greater. Abbas is the most moderate leader imaginable. The Arab initiative in general — and definitely over the past year, with Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi’s rise to power in Egypt and the powerful alliance of the region’s moderates — is much more substantial. And what has Netanyahu done with it?

The enormity of this failure is inconceivable. Netanyahu gave Hamas an intoxicating victory that proves that violence pays, and released 1,027 heavy-duty terrorists. He accepted the recommendations of the messianic and racist Naftali Bennett, his economy minister, and humiliated Abbas by reneging on the fourth phase of the prisoner release, in which 24 Fatah prisoners who had gone over to the path of peace were to be freed.

Consciously and cynically, Netanyahu has for years upheld the opposite of the iron wall. He bolsters extremists such as Hamas while deliberately humiliating the most moderate actors, such as Abbas, depicting them as worthless to their own people. Even expressions of moderation, such as the condemnation of terrorism and the identification with Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, are met with a contemptuous snort, with incitement and with the addition of humiliating settlements.

Netanyahu’s Israel repeated Israeli actions in the 1980s and the zenith of the settlements, when it portrayed the Palestinian “village associations” in the West Bank as collaborators and helped to strengthen Hamas, at a time when Israeli law prohibited contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to avoid the “threat” of compromise, withdrawal and division of the land.

Most of what is happening now is not coincidence: not the thugs who incite violence against the left, which “forgot what it means to be Jewish,” as Netanyahu once said famously, nor the Givati Brigade commander’s failed, religiously extreme manifesto — David Ben-Gurion dismissed officers from the army for much less than that — nor the humiliation of Abbas with the “Jewish state” project.

In light of the broad-based alliance of moderates against Hamas — Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and more — one can only be horrified when one understands in whose name Netanyahu dared to crush this opportunity; how he uses and stirs up Hamas’s violent racism only to adhere to the settlements’ doctrine of Jewish messianic racism.

When we contemplate further the sacrifice of Israeli civilians and soldiers, we can only be shocked by their daring to raise a hand against Israeli identity in the name of Jewish racism.

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